It may have plummeted to Earth over prehistoric Namibia, but the Gibeon meteorite has had quite a bit of interaction with modern humans. In the years since it was found in 1836, fragments of the giant space rock have been formed into just about everything: from jewelry, to knives, to works of art. Now, a luxury firearms company in Pennsylvania plans to build a mirror-image pair of pistols from a 35-kilogram (77-lb) piece.
Tentatively called the “Big Bang Pistol Set,” the builds will be a first for Cabot Guns, a company that specializes in 1911-style firearms. “We wanted to raise the bar again,” says founder and President Rob Bianchin. “The pistol set will be a modern work of functional art.” Cabot rolled out pistol grips constructed from meteorite several years ago (pictured below), but the new set will be formed completely from the interstellar metal – something that has (according to the team) never been done before.
We estimate that the original, uncut fragment, which Cabot acquired from a private meteorite collector, would fetch around $110,294 at auction. Once completed, the company hopes to get anywhere from $500,000-$1,000,000 for the pair of pistols. “Meteorite is hardly an optimum material for firearms, so numerous technical matters have been overcome to construct the pistols using advanced aerospace techniques to make the pistols fully functional,” explains Bianchin. “The construction of each component has been a science experiment but we are confident they will be fully completed.”
In order to minimize waste, each cut will be planned from 3D-scans of the space rock, a process often used to cut rare diamonds. Contrary to some reports, some 25 tons of Gibeon meteorite have been recovered to date, making it one of the most commonly available meteorites on the market. The metal is famous for its “Widmanstatten pattern,” a stunning grid that forms when the iron, nickel, and cobalt within the meteorite cool over millions of years in the vacuum of space.
“It’s both romantic and fascinating to imagine that this meteor traveled across the heavens for four billion years before landing on Earth and is now being transformed,” says Bianchin. The set will be displayed in a case made by famed taxidermist George “Michelangelo” Dante, which promises to be a work of art in itself.
We’ll be updating you as the build continues, so watch this space! Find more photos in the gallery below.