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 www.touchstone-gallery.net.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Trilobites

Trilobite fossils are desirable collector's items due to their age, diversity, and prehistoric appearance. They can be traced all the way back to the Cambrian Period over 500 million years ago and lasted in their various forms until the end of the Permian Period roughly 250 million years ago. There are ten different trilobite orders, each one producing fascinating fossils fit for any collection and each one boasting a unique and distinctive feature such as antennae or eyes.
Xenasaphus devexus Lower Ordovician
Wolchow River, Northwest Russia
The trilobites themselves were remarkable, hard-shelled predators of the Earth's ancient seas. They went extinct before dinosaurs even came into existence.  Trilobites were among the earliest complex life forms that helped establish the foundation of life as it is today. Although dinosaurs are the most well-known fossil animals, trilobites are also a favorite among those familiar with the development of life on Earth.

One of the general allures of fossils is their age; people often get a thrill from owning something that was once alive hundreds of millions of years ago. Trilobites are old, well-known fossils and are found on all continents due to their longevity. The United Kingdom, Russia, the United States, Germany, China, and other nations all have trilobite deposits somewhere within their borders. The widespread nature of trilobite fossils leads to larger availability of fossils for sale than may be found with fossils that can only be found in one or two locations.
An upside of trilobites is the immense diversity represented by these fossils. There were ten orders of trilobite that branched out into 20,000 different species, each one present for hundreds of millions of years. More diversity means more types of trilobite fossils for sale and different types of trilobites for people to collect. Given the potential for feature variety even within a trilobite species, the collecting possibilities are nearly endless. Trilobites also vary in appearance, ranging from small and relatively smooth to half a foot long with antennae and complex eyes.

The simple yet often complex appearance of trilobites makes them desirable collector's objects in various forms. One of the most popular forms of trilobite collecting is to obtain a trilobite partially embedded in rock and to have an expert carefully remove excess rock and dirt with air-abrasion techniques. Many trilobite fossils are available for sale displayed in rock blocks or as part of a sculpture. Fully-removed trilobites are also sold, although most of these are the simpler kind as extracting a more complex trilobite with antennae could lead to specimen damage. Some trilobites can also be sawed in slices or polished smooth and worn as a necklace or brooch. The trilobite shape is so intriguing that some people even make trilobite molds and pour silver, gold, bronze, or another metal inside the mold to make talismans.
Touchstone Gallery of Arizona and New Mexico has a great variety of trilobite fossils for sale. Many of these are high quality fossils unearthed in Russia, the Western United States and Morocco. These excellent trilobite specimens are ensconced in handsome display rocks meant to showcase these fascinating fossils. Touchstone's trilobites exemplify the company purpose of offering amazing merchandise at fair prices in a unique and fun atmosphere. Anyone interested in purchasing trilobite fossils from the Touchstone Gallery should visit one of the physical locations in Sedona, Scottsdale, Taos and Santa Fe or contact the Touchstone Gallery via www.touchstone-gallery.net for more information.