By Evan Ackerman
Aerogel is some damn cool stuff. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s the least dense solid material ever, made up of 99.98% air. The remaining 0.02% is made from silica, but there’s so little physical material in there that aerogel is practically invisible. It’s also hard to produce and mildly expensive, with all the large pieces going straight to NASA… In other words, it’s a poor geek’s diamond. It makes sense, then, that aerogel is being turned into premium jewelry. Here is the part that does NOT make sense:
“FusionX aerogel pendants consist of a 3mm pure Aerogel core that is fused inside a hand wound helix silver casing. The Aerogel-filled helix casing is sealed inside the precision cut, strong borosilicate clear glass casing, then the complete Aerogel assembly is hermetically sealed inside silver-over-titanium end caps for added strength and long lasting, waterproof durability.”
Yep, your totally cool sample of aerogel is fused inside the pendant. And then sealed. And then hermetically sealed. You can’t take it out and play with it, and you’ll be hard pressed to impress anyone with something that they can neither touch nor see. $38, available in 8 different colors.
If you want some aerogel of your own to actually play with, it’s available in a few places for a reasonable price. Small vials of fingernail sized aerogel chunks cost $25 from United Nuclear, and it’s absolutely worth buying yourself a sample.