PAgent’s Progress

Words Are My Favorite Toys

August 2nd, 2006

Star Wars Bloopers


Man, I love this stuff.

August 2nd, 2006

Might as well have it tattooed on my forehead

With the exception of a groovy silver chain necklace circa 1979, I’ve never worn jewelry. In fact, it took me a very long time to get used to wearing a wedding band. Which makes it all the more odd that I’ve been looking at men’s rings lately.

I’ve been looking, but not finding anything I liked. Men’s rings are generally big, clunky things, with huge flashy stones. I am by nature a drab person, and having one of those huge rings on my finger would look ridiculous. I imagined nervous-looking men coming up to kiss my ring. “Don PAgent, I have come to ask a favor of you on this, the day of your daughter’s wedding.” Not really my style.

And I also wanted a ring with some personal relevance. Like a birthstone (my ORIGINAL birthstone - bloodstone), or something else that tied into who I was.

Yesterday, I found what I wanted — a ring made from a nickel-iron meteorite. The Gibeon meteorite blew up in the atmosphere over Africa in prehistoric times, leaving chunks of nickel-iron scattered across a wide area. The crystal structure of the nickel-iron is unique, due to it’s slow cooling in zero gravity. If you polish and acid-etch the metal, the details of the crystal structure become more visible (referred to as the Widmanst├Ątten pattern).

Once the ring has been etched, it’s plated with a more durable metal to protect it. In my case, the ring has been plated with rhodium metal:

As a science fiction fan, a space science fan, and a chemist that used to work with rhodium compounds, this seemed like an ideal ring for me. And it’s not flashy, particularly as the ring that I actually got is narrower and thinner than the ones in the picture above. I get an odd feeling, a mixture of pride and awe, when I consider that I have something on my finger that was formed in the depths of outer space.

I was showing my new ring to a female coworker yesterday afternoon. I explained the meteorite’s origin, and the source of the unique crystal structure of the metal. She looked at me for a moment, then said “You realize that you are a dork, right?”

Well, yes. I realize that. And at my age, I’ve come to a grudging peace with it. And if you needed proof of it, you need only know that I really like this ring, and I’m going to wear it proudly.