Kem Kem, Pre NWA Saharan Meteorite, Micromount

Kem Kem, Pre NWA Saharan Meteorite, Micromount


In the late 1990's meteorites were still "off the radar" and they were not nearly as popular and well-known as they are now. Only a handful of dealers existed to serve a small niche market of collectors. Long before the "NWA" catalog designation came into use, a flood of meteorites started coming out of the Kem Kem region of Morocco. The finders were Berbers, Tuaregs, and other local nomads. A small group of Western mineral/fossil dealers took notice and took over the recovery of meteorites to control the flow of specimens to the collector market. They began a practice of concealing the exact location of finds to prevent other dealers from recovering the meteorites - it was strictly a financial move and it had nothing to do with science. These dealers wanted to corner the market. Unfortunately, many of these dealers engaged in "self-pairing" of specimens - "well, this meteorite looks like this other one, so they must be the same."

The scientists in charge of classifying and cataloging these meteorites for academia and science grew tired of the games being played by these dealers, so they devised a method to catalog these meteorites of dubious provenance - from that point forward, all meteorites from that area without firm documentation (coordinates) of the find location would be given the generic label of "NWA xxxx". In a very real way, the Kem Kem meteorites started the NWA system that all collectors are familiar with now.

Many meteorites were offered as Kem Kem in the late 1990's and early 2000's. I acquired a sample of Kem Kem from a reliable dealer. There is very little information about this particular meteorite. It was reportedly found in 1998, it is an ordinary chondrite, and it comes from the Kem Kem area of Morocco. Once common on the market, Kem Kem meteorites are now rarely seen.

Every NWA collector should have a Kem Kem meteorite in their collection - they are a piece of history from the earliest days of the Saharan Gold Rush.

Refer to the photo. The black centimeter cube is shown for scale and is not included. You are purchasing a small specimen like the one shown. Your purchase will include a labeled gemjar for safe storage.