A strange crystal with a molecular structure that should be impossible can be found only on a remote Russian mountain where a 4.5-billion-year-old meteorite housing it fell to Earth. In short, if you are a rich eccentric looking for a rare substance to hoard, this is it. Via New Scientist:
Evidence is mounting that the only known natural form of a bizarre type of crystal known as a quasicrystal originated in space.
Like standard crystals, the atoms of a quasicrystal are ordered, but their arrangement lacks translational symmetry: a shifted copy won’t ever quite match its original. Such a pattern on the atomic scale was long thought impossible, until the Nobel-prizewinning work of Daniel Shechtman of the Technion Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, who was the first to spot an example in an alloy.
Since then, the strange arrangement has also been discovered in a rock dug up in the Koryak mountains in eastern Russia in 1979, which is now part of the collection of the Museum of Natural History in Florence, Italy.