Sunday, April 8, 2012

Shapes & Forms of Petrified Wood

Petrified wood is alluring to many fossil collectors. Stone appearing in a wood pattern is unusual and beautiful.  The petrified wood itself is made from the replacement of organic materials with natural sediments and crystals such as quartz and onyx. Much of the appeal of petrified wood lies in its age and in the beautiful patterns the crystals often make in tandem with the wood patterns. There are different types of petrified wood for sale, each one appealing to collectors in its own way.

A very impressive form of petrified wood is the slab or slice. Some particularly nice petrified wood specimens are so well preserved that they can be cut into individual slices perfect for display on a mantle or wall. Larger slabs can also be used to make tabletops, countertops, and other such flat surfaces. Arizona slices and slabs in particular are known for their beautiful variety of swirling rainbow colors and look great when made into a desk or a table.
Petrified wood is also sold as polished logs or stumps. The appeal of this method of displaying petrified wood is in the three-dimensional nature of the pieces. This form allows people to truly appreciate the fossil-like nature of petrified wood as the piece was obviously once a tree. These are often left rough on the outside but are polished on top to best bring out the beautiful quartz impurities created by various elements and oxides. They can rest on a mantle if they are small enough, but they can also be displayed on pedestals or tables.
Others prefer to collect petrified wood as chunks. These have the virtue of being more affordable than larger specimens and of being small enough to comfortably hold in the hand. Collectors can observe the swirls and whorls of green, black, blue, yellow, and red up close and can feel the texture of the petrified wood in the palm of the hand. For those who want a piece of petrified wood but who do not want to pay a lot for it, this is a good choice.
Petrified wood is also sold in various types of jewelry. The most popular method of making petrified wood jewelry is to tumble and smooth small pieces of petrified wood and mount them in necklaces, brooches, rings, and earrings. Petrified wood can also be used to make bookends, sculptures, and other items which creative and gifted people conceive.
Much of the commercially available petrified wood comes from Arizona, but there are petrified forests in many geographical locations. Some black and brown petrified wood comes from Vietnam, and Europe, Asia, Australia. While wood can take as little as a hundred years to petrify, many of the most valued petrified wood specimens--including those from Arizona--are hundreds of millions of years old.
Touchstone Gallery of Arizona and New Mexico has a variety of chunks, polished logs, and slices of petrified wood. Most specimens come from privately owned areas of Arizona and are beautifully polished and shaped to show the natural contours of the wood design. Those interested in purchasing petrified wood from the Touchstone Gallery can visit one of the store locations in Sedona, Scottsdale, Taos, or Santa Fe or contact the Touchstone Gallery at

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