Moldavite (or in Czech “vltavín”) – green translucent tektite (rock formed by extraterrestrial impact) is essentially natural quartz glass with other impurities that is by 99% found only in southern Bohemia (here then most in the area between Písek and Nové Hrady) but it is known worldwide. Its origin is associated with meteorite that landed approximately 14.5 mil. years ago in Bavaria and which transformed local rock and hurled it into the atmosphere – the transformed rock landed already in the form of moldavites in southern Bohemia, where soil and water further changed their appearance. Moldavite in a shape of a drop (= aerodynamic shape) indicating congealing while passing through atmosphere is therefore very appreciated; another interesting fact indicating their origin in the upper atmosphere is 19x – 25x lower pressure in the air bubbles inside moldavites than what pressure at sea level is. The previous shows that moldavites exist only in limited numbers; total amount including undiscovered moldavites is estimated to 275 tons. Moldavites were rarely found also in southern Moravia, near Cheb or Dresden. Their shape, surface and size vary widely, the biggest findings are up to 12 cm in length and weight of 150 g (average weight is below 7 g). Moldavites‘ surface has typically fissured structure with notches, grooves and holes caused by water influence in the original deposit; however, if the moldavite is washed away from the original site (usually max. 10 km far), it is polished and matt (sites in topsoil). Moldavites are not found directly in the river but they are deposited in soil layers.
The name “moldavite” has been used since 1836 according to the German translation of Tyn nad Vltavou (Moldauthein), around which the first described pieces were found; Czech name “vltavín” is about 100 years younger. Scientists have described it already in 1787 originally as a “chryzolit”. Sherds of moldavites were used as a tool by people of the Stone Age but then until the 18th century, we have no other evidence of their use. In South Bohemia there was a custom that each man gave his bride moldavite as evidence of his deepest feelings. It was popular for jewelry making at times of Art Nouveau. Winston Churchill always wore moldavite in his pocket to bring him luck. Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II. received from the Swiss government collection of luxury jewelry collection made of platinum, with (among others) natural moldavite. Moldavites are used in jewelery unworked (natural) or ground.