Libyan Desert Glass
Libyan Desert Glass
News flash! A possible source crater for Libyan Desert Glass has been discovered (March, 2006 announcement). The Kebira Crater is more than 20 times the diameter of Meteor Crater, Arizona. It was discovered by Farouk El-Baz, director of the Boston University Center for Remote Sensing. You can see it by going to Google Earth and flying to the following coordinates: 24°40'23.66"N, 24°57'32.03"E. The crater is located about 100 km from the center of the Libyan Desert Glass strewn field, and was blasted into Nubian Sandstone, long considered an excellent compositional match for LDG. There is still some controversy about this discovery, and the lack of flight-related morphology in any LDG is a worry. On this basis, I have to join the skeptics----
|Since Libyan Desert Glass is found in Egypt (albeit an exceedingly remote part!),
we have often been asked whether any has been found in Egyptian tombs. We finally have an answer: YES! In King
Tut's tomb no less! The image of King Tut's breastplate at left shows a carved straw- yellow scarab as its centerpiece.
Long assumed to be chalcedony, this has now been confirmed to be Libyan Desert Glass!
I have not been able to determine the whereabouts of this artifact. After multiple trips to the Egyptian National Museum, I am quite sure it is not on display there, nor is there any indication where it may be on loan (as is clearly marked for lots of other King Tut material on temporary loan).
|Before we leave the subject of cultural history, I should also mention that the Libyan Desert Glass strewn field quite frequently yields LDG artifacts. They are virtually always simple blades struck from cores by percussion. I have only seen one showing secondary pressure flaking. Such blades make effective cutting instruments, and the earliest agriculturalists sometimes lined up a row of blades in a piece of curved, slotted wood to form scythes for grain harvest. We have just acquired a small lot of fine Libyan Desert Glass blades. The small image at the left can also be clicked for a blowup (close that window when you're done to return to this page) and a bunch of these are offered for sale near the bottom of this page.|
UPDATED 2/28/2012) to eliminate sold items and add heaps of new inventory (I try to update sold items as they go---).
A comment regarding color: Libyan Desert Glass appearance varies greatly with lighting conditions. In the sunlight of its homeland, there is a slightly different wavelength mix than at higher or lower latitudes. In its native setting, LDG has hints of neon apple green whereas in my area (Spokane, Washington, USA), it is more of a straw yellow. Whiter colors are due to abundant bubble inclusions (exactly like pulled taffy candy that goes from clear sugar syrup to opaque as bubbles are worked into it). The brown to gray streaks are said to be of a composition suggesting included stony meteorite dust. Some pieces have tiny white spherules of cristobalite that result from devitrification. Due to artifical lighting employed in many of the photos below, there is a darker amber yellow tint than you will see in natural light. Think of pale straw yellow as a base color, with white and brown variants due to bubbles and meteoritic dust inclusions.
A comment regarding pricing and quality: We scour the world for the very best quality pieces available. With few exceptions, the pieces we offer are unusually gemmy and free of recent chips or damage. We refuse to deal with suppliers that have not taken good care of their specimens. (Some Ebay sellers have big stuff at very low prices. It is often photographed wet so you won't see the glassy chips from a 1000 km ride in a bucket in the back of a 4WD. This is a mortal sin, not worthy of your support). We pick the best of the best, piece by piece, and pay whatever it takes to get the real winners. I average my purchase costs all out when determining price, and I can honestly tell you that some of these pieces are priced cheaper than what I paid for them individually wholesale. If you want to get an idea of my quality assessment, work out the asking price per gram. Under $3/gm is material that I am reluctant to sell at all, as it does not meet our quality standards (we only get an occasional piece of this grade by mistake----). Most top-end material falls in the $3 to $6/gm range, and a few super special pieces may push $10/gm.
In our price structure, assume that $1.50 to $2.00/gm is average "run of mine" material. If you spent a few thousand dollars to go into the Libyan desert and picked up every piece you saw, this would be the grade for maybe 80% of it. $3/gm is above average, but mostly not offered here. At $4/gm, these will be very gemmy and/or otherwise special pieces, probably in the top 5% quality range. At $4.50 to $6/gm, you are looking at specimens that I don't much care whether they sell or not. I'd be perfectly happy to keep them myself. Above $6/gm, you can bet you are looking at museum pieces. I do attach a premium to bigger pieces, so small specimens at $3/gm may represent very nice quality. It is obviously easier to preserve a small gemmy chip than a big lunker of the same quality.
Since the supply side on this material has dwindled to a trickle and recent reports indicate that expeditions into the source area are either not permitted at all or, at minimum, require that you pay for an Egyptian military escort, AND since the supply is obviously limited and finite and increasingly picked over in ANY case, really good pieces can go nowhere but up. Listed below, you will find the largest selection of QUALITY pieces available in the world today. Prices may change at any time. Those posted at the date of your firm order will be respected. Since we have such a superb array of specimens on hand, we now only buy 20 or 30 new pieces per year. These are carefully selected as the very best available from assortments of many hundreds to thousands of pieces. If you see "2013" in the item number, this is an item that was cherry-picked that year, the best of the best. We're always very selective and picky, but these represent extreme selection. We simply don't buy it if we don't love it. If we buy and offer it to you, you can count on this being some of the finest material to be had anywhere!.
Other terminology:chatoyance, devitrification, chondrite dust, ventifact, debitage (definitions to be added soon)
On most items I will be glad to send you additional images on request.
Below is our current inventory. Click on the images to open an enlarged and more detailed version in a new window. Close that new image window when done to return to this page.
New Inventory for 2013, posted February 18, 2013
We found some really fine quality LDG at Tucson this year and focused our buying on smaller material
that will help you obtain some super pieces without breaking the bank. In the interests of quickly getting this
new 2013 inventory on the website for you to see, we decided to go with this group shot. Email us if you would
like detailed individual photos of any of these piece.
These are all very carefully cherry-picked specimens of top quality. Any special features are noted in the table to the right.
Click image to open a larger version in a new window. Close that window to return here.
#2013_30.6 gms. Selected for its nice inclusions of chondrite dust, this is a beautiful piece all around.
$175SOLD #2013_21.9 gms. A fabulous AAA melted ice-cube, exceedingly transparent with scattered cristobalite spherules.
145SOLD #2013_21.2 gms. Nicely sculpted gemmy piece with a patch of chondrite dust. $140
#2013_19.8 gms. Extremely pure and transparent with superb sculptural shaping and fine wind-polish. Sweet.
$125Sold #2013_19.6 gms. A very deeply and ornately sculpted piece with chondrite dust whisps. $
130SOLD #2013_16.2 gms. Another selected for chondrite dust laminations, but a fine sculptural piece as well.
$100SOLD #2013_16.0 gms. Deeply cupped and sculpted with chondritic dust patches. One inconspicuous glassy chip.
$80SOLD #2013_13.3 gms. High purity transparent specimen with longitudinal fluting. $70SOLD
#2013_11.3 gms. Wonderfully sculptural very high transparency gem. $70Sold
#2013_10.6 gms (a) Perhaps the most pleasing combination of great geometry and AAA transparency of the whole
80SOLD #2013_10.6 gms (b) High purity and transparency melted ice. $60
#2013_9.3 gms. Very transparent and glossy with planar chondrite dust whisps.
$55Sold #2013_9.2 gms. High purity and transparency melted ice. $
55SOLD #2013_7.9 gms (a) High purity and transparency melted ice. Exceptionally nice sculpture. $55
#2013_7.9 gms (b) High purity and transparency melted ice. Classic, deep sculpture. $55
#2013_7.9 gms (c) Exceptional transparency with scattered beads of white cristobalite. $
60SOLD #2013_7.7 gms. High purity and transparency melted ice with deeply sculpted somewhat cubic form. $50
#2013_7.3 gms. A darker piece, chondrite dust tinted with cristobalite spherules and small-scale pitting.
#2013_6.7 gms. A very gemmy, wind-faceted jewel. $
45SOLD #2013_6.3 gms (a) Another very clear, pure nicely sculpted ventifact. $
40SOLD #2013_6.3 gms (b) And another. Extreme purity and transparency with superb sculptural form.
$40SOLD #2013_6.3 gms (c) A darker piece, tinted with chondrite dust and a nice scatter of cristobalite beads. $38SOLD
#2013_6.3 gms (d) A very sweet little extreme purity and clarity melted ice-cube!
$35SOLD #2013_6.2 gms. A very clear, pure wind-sculpted ventifact.
$30SOLD #2013_6.1 gms. A very clear, pure wind-sculpted ventifact with unusual clusters of cristobalite spheres.
30SOLD #2013_5.5 gms. Everything pure LDG should be in miniature! $
25SOLD #2013_5.4 gms. Very glossy with faceting-grade clarity. $25
#2013_4.4 gms. A final classic form LDG miniature. $20
You will find a new 2013 selection of LDG culturally-modified artifacts and debitage near
the bottom of this page, and heaps of fine specimens in between. I don't know of anyone with a wider selection
for you to consider!
Additional inventory added 28 February 2012. New cultural artifact pieces have been added at the bottom of this page.
Click on images for larger view. Close resulting new window to return to this page.
|168.0 gms of sculpted iceberg glory. My all time favorite!||I may refuse to sell this one. The only circumstance I can imagine in which I would sell is if it were to a very,
very loving home! If you're the one, price doesn't matter. If you're not the one, no worries.
|96.4 gms||Subtle interlayering of clear and bubble-inclusion rich layers. Beautiful piece, displays well. $385|
68.8 gms; half highly transparent, half milky with planar bands of tiny bubbles.
|Another flawless beaut. Nicely sculpted by the wind-blown sands of the desert.$300 (#LDG688)|
|64.6 gms. Side View of a very neat display piece!||A very nice 64.6 gm chunk that stands like an iceberg! Cheaply priced at $175. (#LDG646)|
|58.4 gms||A very pleasing piece with beautiful sculpted form and high polish. $240|
|58.3 gms||Delicate curtains of oriented flattened bubbles give this ventifact a silky chatoyance. $225|
|57.5 gms. Deep fluting!||This one has unusually sharp and deep parallel fluting. Very ornate. $225|
|53.2 gms. Glorious sculpture!||Interesting moderately milky interior due to finely dispersed bubbles. Some dark chondritic dust inclusions visible.
The crowning glory of this piece is its wonderful all-over pitting, ventifacting, and polish, like melted ice!
|51.3 gms. Much nicer than the picture shows----||Great overall sculpture with planar internal bubble-rich layering and deep external fluting. Good polish on all surfaces. $185 (#LDG513)Sold|
A big one at 49.9 gms with excellent transparency, full of cristobalite spherules!
|An exceptionally beautiful specimen with abundant small hemispheric pits. The value is compounded by the special combination of lots of obvious white cristobalite devitrification spherulites and the highly transparent matrix that allows them to be seen. A real winner! $320SOLD (#LDG499)|
|48.1 gms. Milky, resembling paraffin wax.||I mostly select for gemmy clarity, but this one is such an unusual semi-opaque and quite uniform milky color that we had to have it. $170|
|45.4 gms. Gemmy with deeply sculpted concavities||An unusually deeply 3-dimensional piece, hard to adequatedly capture in a 2-D photo. (#LDG2012_0454) $175|
|44.5 gms. Excellent chatoyance!||Viewed from some directions, this piece is typical straw yellow and quite transparent. But rotate it, and it becomes silky white and semi-opaque. (Think of fiber optics spheres. It's similar to that). $175|
|44.4 gms. Very ornate sculpture||This has a flat base and a very convoluted top, with deep pits and grooves. Nice. $180|
|44.0 gms. Ventifact||Interesting wind facets. Quite clear with curtains of white bubbles. $150|
|39.5 gms. Very gemmy with a large internal chamber open to one end.||Spectacular skin ornamentation. Glossy all over. A natural bottle! The creamy colored internal area visible in the photo is the cavity, still filted with desert dust. This could be cleaned out and literally used as a bottle to contain something special. I am guessing that the capacity might be in the range of 5 to 10 drops. (#LDG2012_0395) $300|
|38.8 gms. Flawless ventifact, a very comforting worry-stone!||A totally gorgeous piece covered with smooth thumb-print facets. If you know how pleasing some LDG is to hold and
feel, this one is amazing in that way. Shaped and polished by the desert winds, this is a superb example of its
type. (#LDG2012_0388) $
|37.5 gms Relatively flat||Greasy-luster, dimpled surface, lots of bubble inclusions. $110|
|37.1 gms. Chatoyant|| This one has a nice silky chatoyant flash and nice deep fluting. The bottom side that was buried in the sand
|36.9 gms. gemmy with nice chondrite dust streaks||Nice form, finely dimpled skin with a swarm of whispy planar dark dust streaks. (#LDG2012_0369)
|35.6 gms. Another gorgeous gemmy ventifact||Wonderfully covered with dished facets. Slightly chatoyant whispy curtains of planar bubbles. (#LDG2012_0356) $220|
|33.1 gms.||Cloudy with relatively large bubbles, some of which are breached at the surface giving this specimen a somewhat porous skin look. $75|
|30.8 gms Gemmy transparent display piece.||This has all that I look for when selecting new pieces. A beauty. (#LDG2012_0308)
30.6 gms. Thin, transparent, and packed with cristobalite!
|A fantastic 30.6 gm specimen selected for it's fine display of white cristobalite devitrification spherulites. The front surface is a smoothly curved, wind-polished conchoidal fracture face that provides a great window into the interior. Great display piece. $195 (#LDG306)|
|30.5 gms.||Nice complex pitting, slightly milky translucence. $90|
|30.4 gms A multi-threat piece. Some of everything.||Wild geometric form, intricately ornamented skin, whisps of dark chondrite dust and scattered cristobalite spherules!
|30.1 gms. Super-glossy, high purity gem||Beautiful both to see and hold-- A few whispy curtains of silvery micro-bubbles. (#LDG2012_0301) $205|
|29.9 gms (#LDG0299B) Chondrite wisps!||Very transparent and polished providing a nice view of two arcuate layers with brown meteoritic dust. $150|
|29.3 gms. A Tri-color! Quite unusual.||Excellent geometry with bands of creamy white, dark chondrite dust, and trnslucent amber. (#LDG2012_0293) $220|
|29.2 gms.||Nice smooth form. Faint small wisp of chondrite dust and a projecting white knob milky with bubbles. It looks like the milky layer was more prone to wind erosion. $75|
|28.7 gms||Nice clarity with thin bubble curtains. $80|
|27.3 gms Chondrite wisps||Another high transparency molar-tooth-shaped specimen with irregular spots and wisps of meteoritic dust. $80SOLD|
|26.7gms. Somewhat laminated appearance with strong chondrite dust band||Interesting piece. Erosion has picked out subtle softer laminations not particularly apparent to the eye. (#LDG2012_0267)
|26.0 gms. Glossy, pure ventifact.||Very glossy, gemmy piece, like pale straw-colored jelly. (#LDG2012_0260) $175|
|25.1 gms||Chondrite streaks. $100|
|24.4 gms. Ornate fine pitting.||Sharp morphology and a finely dimpled skin make this an unusual specimen. $85 (#LDG244)|
|23.9 gms. Fine geometry||Abundant dark chondritic dust whisps create a greenish tint. Tiny cristobalite spherules are apparent. (#LDG2012_0239)
|21.0 gms Fantastic sculpture! Tricolor||This has white, brown, and straw-yellow layers and is deeply eroded to yield very unusual projections. A very, very cool piece! $170|
|20.1 gms (C)||$75|
|20.0 gms (A)||$75|
|20.0 gms (B)|| $
|20.0 gms (c)||High transparency molar-tooth shape with clouds of silvery micro-bubbles. (#LDG2012_0200c)
|19.5 gms. Natural hole! Perfect Pendant--||Here is a fabulous jewelry piece. Great scultural shape, glossy skin, smoothly wind-faceted, a drilled by nature.
|19.4 gms. Stunning.||Excellent gemmy purity with satin gloss. (#LDG2012_0194) $
|19.2 gms Another gemmy ventifact||Pleasing shape, exceptional purity. (#LDG2012_0192)
|18.9 gms (A)||$70|
|18.9 gms (B) Chondrite streaks||$95|
|18.9 gms (C)||$80|
|17.9 gms. Essentially faceting-grade, but already too beautiful to facet---||Gorgeous, super-glossy, super clean and pure. Very rare quality. Possibly the most water-clear example we've seen.
|17.8 gms||Wispy thin chondrite veils as delicate laminations enhanced by erosion. Nice form $125|
|17.7 gms Shark-head geometry! Maybe a snapping turtle---||Very interesting shape with a nice dark chondritic dust band. (#LDG2012_0177) $105|
|16.4 gms (B)||$65|
|14.6 gms Probably cultural percussion flake||Wind-polished conchoidal flake revealing planar swarms of flattened micro-bubbles $35|
|13.2 gms. It's got it all---Sold||Gemmy ventifact with chondritic dust streaks and cristobalite spherules. A beautiful display of LDG features (#LDG2012_0132) $Sold|
|12.7 gms (A)||$35|
|12.7 gms (b). Jelly-like clarity with cristobalite beads||A pleasingly-shaped ventifact with high transparency and lots of white cristobalite spherules. An excellent piece to display cristobalite. (#LDG2012_0127b) $90|
|12.7gms (c). Extreme cristobalite!||Another high-clarity piece but packed with more and larger cristobalite devitrification spherules. (#LDG2012_0127c) $95|
|11.8 gms Melted amber ice.||Very pleasing little straw-yellow gem. (#LDG2012_0118) $65|
|10.7 gms. Fantastic sculpture!||Highly transparent, satin finish, and amazing shape. (#LDG2012_0107) $80|
|10.3 gms (A)||$35|
|10.1 gms. Deep fluting.||Exceptionally deep ornamentation. One small inconspicuous glassy chip. (#LDG2012_0101) $55|
|9.5 gms (A). Low-profile triangular ventifact.||Fine whisps of chondrite dust give this one a darker tint. small glassy chip on one lower corner. (#LDG2012_0095a) $45|
|9.5 gms (B)||$25SOLD|
|9.3 gms (B)||$30|
|9.1 gms (B) chondritic dust band||Nice shape with diagonal dark inclusion band. (#LDG2012_0091b)
|8.6 gms (A)||$30|
|8.5 gms. Glossy.||Glossy, gemmy, and water clear with finely dimpled surface. Could be good jewelry piece. (#LDG2012_0085) $40|
|8.4 gms. Very cute miniature!||Sweet little gemmy ventifact cube. (#LDG2012_0084) $45SOLD|
|8.2 gms (B)||$35|
|7.9 gms (B)||$
|7.7 gms (A) Cristobalite!||Pretty little high-transparency sculpture full of little cristobalite spherules. (#LDG2012_0077a) $46|
|7.7 gms (B)|
|7.5 gms (A)||Another super cristobalite/clear glass combo. Interesting form. $65|
|7.5 gms (B)|| Chatoyant.
|7.3 gms||Some chatoyance. $25|
|7.1 gms Very cute form with rounded edges. Jewelry?||Half a dozen diagonal chondrite dust layers cutting gemmy amber. Reminiscent of Montana moss
|7.0 gms (B)||Remnant of quick eroding white bubble-rich layer on ledge of purer material. $28|
|6.9 gms (A)||$26|
|6.5 gms. Miniature gem ventifact.||High clarity, satin finish. Exquisite form. A perfect miniature LDG. (#LDG2012_0065) $
|6.2 gms (A)||cultural debitage. $20SOLD|
|5.6 gms. Big cristobalite!||If you need a little specimen to show LDG cristobalite spherulues, here it is. Very nice small specimen. (#LDG2012_0056) $30SOLD|
|1.7 gms. Jewelry piece. Probably cultural debitage.||Low profile, flat-backed flake. Could be sweet on silver backing plate. (#LDG2012_0017) $8|
|To order, email us at email@example.com|
Libyan Desert Glass Artifacts and Debitage
2/15/2014:Eight new 2014 blades to be posted soon
|New 2013 Inventory.
2.6, 6.8, and 5.2 all have nice laminations of chondritic dust which are particularly easy to see in these thin flakes.
Your choice, $35 each. Please specify the Inventory year as well as the weight.
Click image for a larger version in a new window. Close that window to return here.
sold: 2.6, 3.0, 5.0, 7.0
|New 2012 Inventory
The earliest agricultural scythes involved a row of stone blades set in a curved stick. Many of the most recognizable Libyan Desert Glass artifacts are simple blades struck from a core. These date to the dawn of Egyptian agriculture. Here is a fine assortment of classic blades. Your choice, $35.00 each.
Sold: #1, #3, #5, #6, #8
|For reference when order, please specify "2011 inventory" for the following specimens:|
|3.6 gms (C)||
|Four little chips with abundant chondritic meteorite dust (?) layers. If you want something suitable for destructive analyses, these would be the best I have. Two left.||ALL SOLD|
|35.1 gms. An unusually huge blade!||$150|
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