Matter Subscription Box February 2019 Haul Flatlay Scatter
Review Unboxing

Box of Matter | February 2019 | Unboxing & Honest Review

This is a review and unboxing of the February 2019 edition of the Box of Matter subscription.

Box of Matter is a monthly subscription box that delivers “a monthly collection of some of the most interesting pieces of the universe.” Each box contains an assortment of 4-6 materials, objects, specimens, or artifacts, like a museum or science lab experiment delivered right to your doorstep, with a value of around $50 per box.

Matter Subscription Box February 2019 Box Side View

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The Haul

The February 2019 edition of Box of Matter contained 6 items, along with a set of informational cards explaining each of the items in the boxes.

Matter Subscription Box February 2019 Haul with Cards Flatlay Line

Without further ado, here are the items that I received in my February 2019 edition of Box of Matter:

  • Bristlecone Pine (The Longest Life Starts With A Seed)
  • Dolerite Bluestone (From the Stonehenge Quarry)
  • Gallium (A Metal That Melts In Your Hand)
  • Humidity Indicator (Color-Shifting Chemistry)
  • Owl Pellet (It’s Puke)
  • Petrified Wood (When Trees Fossilize)

The items and their informational cards are exclusive to this box and to Box of Matter. The only way to get items like this is to sign up for a subscription or purchase one of the past boxes from the Box of Matter shop. You can also curate your own collection if you are more ambitious, but we can’t promise it will be easy!

Matter Subscription Box February 2019 Haul with Cards Slanted Scatter

Bristlecone Pine Seeds (The Longest Life Starts With A Seed)

The first item in the February 2019 edition of Box of Matter was a vial containing seven bristlecone pine seeds.

Matter Subscription Box February 2019 Bristlecone Pine Seeds with Card

Matter Subscription Box February 2019 Bristlecone Pine Seeds

About

The bristlecone pine tree is one of the oldest known living organisms on the planet, with the oldest tree standing at over 5,000 years old in a secret location in California. They are so old, in fact, that the rings in their trunks provide the oldest known climate record on the globe. Their wood is both rot- and insect-resistant, which is why you see them standing with their iconic gnarls long after they have died.

My Thoughts

Bristlecone pine trees are breathtakingly beautiful, and it’s fabulous to have a little piece of them in this box. My kids enjoyed learning about their historical record-keeping and the special qualities of the wood, and the info card was packed with factoids. I can’t wait to find a home for these seeds somewhere in high-altitude Colorado.

Retail Value

Box of Matter does not provide retail values for the items in the boxes. We estimate the MSRP of these seeds to be about $2.

Stock Up

If you’d like to get some of these seeds for yourself, you can them directly from the STEMcell Science Shop.

Dolerite Bluestone (From the Stonehenge Quarry)

The next item in the February 2019 edition of Box of Matter was a vial containing a specimen of Dolerite Bluestone.

Matter Subscription Box February 2019 Dolerite Bluestone with Card

Matter Subscription Box February 2019 Dolerite Bluestone

About

This sample of Preseli Spotted Dolerite is bluestone from the quarry that served as the source for the monoliths at Stonehenge. The quarry is fully 150 miles (250 kilometers) from Stonehenge itself, and it was believed to have healing properties at the time of the building.

My Thoughts

I love that Matter includes items that are meant to build science collections, in this case, a geology collection. My children are fascinated by rocks and elements, and it’s fun to get a little piece of Stonehenge without having to hop on a plane.

Retail Value

Box of Matter does not provide retail values for the items in the boxes. We estimate the MSRP of this mineral specimen to be about $2.

Gallium (A Metal That Melts In Your Hand)

The next item in the February 2019 edition of Box of Matter was a vial containing a sample of gallium.

Matter Subscription Box February 2019 Gallium with Card

Matter Subscription Box February 2019 Gallium

About

Gallium (Ga) is an element that is used in electronics. As an elemental metal, it has a low melting point, so it will melt in your hands and behave like mercury. It is also non-toxic, so children can handle it safely.

My Thoughts

For whatever reason, my son is a big fan of the periodic table, and I can’t wait to build out his element collection (with the safe ones, of course). This was a great item to receive in the first box, and my kids really loved experimenting with the metal.

Retail Value

Box of Matter does not provide retail values for the items in the boxes. We estimate the MSRP of this gallium sample to be about $12.

Stock Up

If you’d like to get one of these gallium samples for yourself, you can grab one directly from the STEMcell Science Shop.

Humidity Indicator (Color-Shifting Chemistry)

The next item in the February 2019 edition of Box of Matter was a humidity indicator card.

Matter Subscription Box February 2019 Humidity Indicator with Card

Matter Subscription Box February 2019 Humidity Indicator

About

This card is meant to gauge the level of humidity in a container or room. It uses cobalt dichloride, which changes from blue to pink when exposed to moisture. The card provides relative humidity readings by using various concentrations of the chemical so that you can find the approximate humidity percentage by searching for the circle that looks lavender.

My Thoughts

What a fun and useful tool for someone who lives in a steamy country like Japan! The card can be re-used, so it is both scientifically interesting and handy for protecting your moisture-sensitive possessions.

Retail Value

Box of Matter does not provide retail values for the items in the boxes. We estimate the MSRP of this humidity indicator to be about $2.

Stock Up

If you’d like to get one of these humidity indicators for yourself, you can grab one directly from the STEMcell Science Shop.

Owl Pellet (It’s Puke)

The next item in the February 2019 edition of Box of Matter was an owl pellet with a pair of tweezers for dissection.

Matter Subscription Box February 2019 Owl Pellet with Card

Matter Subscription Box February 2019 Owl Pellet

About

Owls eat small animals such as mice and birds, but they cannot digest the bones. Instead, they form a pellet of fur, hair, and bone in their stomach, and they cough it up and spit it out.

My Thoughts

I remember dissecting an owl pellet in elementary school, and because I live abroad, I was wondering if my children would get to replicate that fun experience. So I was delighted to see this kit in the box. My kids were eager to dig into the pellet, and we found a few different skulls, which really excited them.

Retail Value

Box of Matter does not provide retail values for the items in the boxes. We estimate the MSRP of this owl pellet to be about $3.

Petrified Wood (When Trees Fossilize)

The last item in the February 2019 edition of Box of Matter was a chunk of petrified wood.

Matter Subscription Box February 2019 Petrified Wood with Card

Matter Subscription Box February 2019 Petrified Wood

About

Petrified wood is wood that has been fossilized, not by imprint but by replacement of the organic material with mineral deposits. The specimen in this box was likely from an ash, sequoia, or sycamore tree.

My Thoughts

Another cool item to add to the mineral and fossil collection!

Retail Value

Box of Matter does not provide retail values for the items in the boxes. We estimate the MSRP of this petrified wood to be about $2.

Delivery Time

My February 2019 Box of Matter shipped on February 4, 2019, and it was delivered to me in Tokyo, Japan, on February 16, 2019.

  • Delivery time: 12 days
  • Average delivery time (as of February 2019): 12 days

Value & Verdict

My total monthly cost for the Box of Matter subscription is $54.99.

The total retail value of the items in the box was as follows:

  • Bristlecone Pine (The Longest Life Starts With A Seed): $2
  • Dolerite Bluestone (From the Stonehenge Quarry): $2
  • Gallium (A Metal That Melts In Your Hand): $12
  • Humidity Indicator (Color-Shifting Chemistry): $2
  • Owl Pellet (It’s Puke): $3
  • Petrified Wood (When Trees Fossilize): $2

In sum, here’s how the February 2019 edition of Box of Matter measures up:

  • Total retail value: $23
  • Total premium over retail ($): $31.99
  • Total premium over retail (%): 139%
  • Average price per item: $9.17

Matter Subscription Box February 2019 Haul with Cards in Box

Verdict: The $$$

Overall, the monetary value for this box is on the low end for subscriptions that offer international shipping. But you already knew that the retail discount was never going to be the main draw of this box!

Box of Matter promises that boxes will include a value of around $50 per box, but our box did not seem to hit this mark. Some of the items were hard to estimate, so it is possible that our estimates were off. But in any event, because the box costs more than $50 with international shipping to Japan, we were never expecting that the box would allow us to make any substantial savings on these items.

Matter Subscription Box February 2019 Haul Flatlay Scatter

Verdict: The ★★★

Instead of retail savings, this box excels at curating the most fascinating bits of the universe, stimulating curiosity about science, and providing an opportunity for families to connect through a hands-on STEM activity or two. My kids adored opening this box, and they were super curious about its contents. This would be a fantastic supplement to a home-school science curriculum, and it would also be great for parents trying to foster a curious, academic environment at home.

But this box is not just for children; teens and adults will also learn a lot through this box. So it would make a great gift for a science fan or bookish friend!

General Information

For general information about Box of Matter, including subscription options, cost, shipping, tracking, packaging, charitable giving, and customer experience, see the Box of Matter Overview post.

Also, don’t forget to check out the rest of our monthly Box of Matter reviews.

And if you are in the market for a fabulous subscription or gift box for women that offers global shipping, check out our round-up of the top 10 subscriptions for women who live abroad!

Give a Shout!

Let us know what you think of the February 2019 edition of Box of Matter in the comments below. As always, we love hearing from you.

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