Monday, September 30, 2013

Petrified Wood: From Tree to Stone


Décor Factors and Suggestions – Beauty with a rich history is the perfect way to describe petrified wood. The different tones of colors make petrified wood one of nature’s most amazing creations. The variation in color is due to the different elements that are found in petrified wood. Smaller pieces of petrified wood look wonderful on a bookshelf, while larger pieces would make delightful tables or look stunning as a natural sculpture. Some pieces would also lend themselves well to wall hangings.


 
 
Petrified wood can be displayed in many different ways. Touchstone Gallery offers bookends, slices, slabs, tables, and stumps. The variety of styles makes incorporating petrified wood into your décor easy. Petrified wood will be sure to draw the attention of all those who view it, a gorgeous addition to your home or office.
Home Décor Featuring a Fascinating Story
Legend and Lore – The word petrified comes from the Greek word, petros, meaning stone. In the Stone Age, early civilizations used petrified wood to make tools and weapons. In medieval times, amulets made of petrified wood were thought to impart longevity on who ever wore it. Arizona petrified wood has an interesting story behind its formation. Trees that grew in Colorado and New Mexico would be knocked over by flooding rains and would float down river. The tree would then be covered in mud and preserved in a different location then where they originated.
The Science of Petrified Wood Creation – Petrified wood transforms from a plant to stone. This process is called permineralization. All organic materials in the tree are replaced with minerals, while retaining the original structure of the plant.  It takes as little as 100 years for wood to petrify. Carbon, manganese, cooper, cobalt, and iron oxide give petrified wood the powerful play of colors. Much of Touchstone Gallery’s petrified wood comes from Arizona, where petrified wood is the state fossil. Sometimes the petrified wood from Arizona is called “rainbow wood” due to the wide variety of colors.
Revealed by Man – Petrified wood has been found all over the world, from Greece all the way to Arizona, in and near the Petrified Forest National Park. The petrification of the wood occurs underground, the wood becomes buried under layers of sediment. It is initially preserved because of the lack of oxygen underground. Petrified wood is dug up, sliced with a diamond saw, and then polished to reveal its beauty.
Touchstone Gallery Offers a Wide Variety of Nature’s Art Etched in Stone
We invite you to view our current offerings of petrified wood and many other fascinating natural art pieces in our Touchstone Galleries in Santa Fe (127 W. San Francisco St.), Scottsdale (4168 N. Marshall Way), Sedona (320 N. State Route 89A) and Taos (110 S. Plaza), or online at www.touchstonegalleries.com. 


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Mioplosus: The Predator of the Green River Formation


Decors Factors and Suggestions – These fish fossils are not only very interesting, but are wonderful pieces of art, hand-crafted by Mother Nature, herself.  The interesting history and beautiful preservation of Mioplosus fossils make them perfect additions to your home or office. The deep, rich colors present in these fossils add depth to the colors that are surrounding these pieces.




 
Touchstone galleries offers framed small and medium Mioplosus fossils, mioplosus fossils with plants or other fish fossils, and fossil slabs with easels. Mioplosus fossils look very striking hung on a wall, as a focal point, for you and all of the people that view it to enjoy. These fossils would truly shine no matter where you place them, they are just that extraordinary!

Home Décor Featuring a Fascinating Story

Legend and Lore – Mioplosus is fascinating, extinct fish that has a double dorsal fin, elongated body, and canine-like teeth. Very similar to today's perch, it is thought to have been an unsocial predator, often attacking fish twice its own size along the shores of the lakes. It is believed that this fish was a solitary hunter because the mass mortality rate in the fossil record is low. Occasionally, Mioplosus are fossilized with smaller fish in their mouth, showing that they were not to be messed with. Mioplosus range from 2 to 20 inches, but are most commonly less than 10 inches.

The Science of Mioplosus Fossil Formation – Mioplosus are found in the Green River Formation of Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming. The deeps colors found in these fossils are attributed to the great conditions for preservation found in one of the many lakes that is a part of the Green River Formation, Fossil Lake.  The fish fossils found in this lake are preserved wonderfully, very defined and distinct. The fossil distribution in the Green River Formation varies with depth of sediment. The deepest layer of the sediment in the Green River Formation that has been studied does not have any fish fossils, but layers that are closer to the surface are littered with these mesmerizing finds.

Revealed by Man – Touchstone Gallery’s mioplosus fossils are found in the center of the formation, attributing to the deep colors. The fossils from the Green River Formation are found during commercial fishing expeditions. Once the fossils are removed they are then cleaned using tools similar to those used by dentists. Then, the fossils are stabilized so that they will not chip as easily. Finally, the fossils are ready for display.  

Touchstone Gallery Offers a Wide Variety of Nature’s Art Etched in Stone
We invite you to view our current offerings of Mioplosus fish fossils and many other fascinating natural art pieces in our Touchstone Galleries in Santa Fe (127 W. San Francisco St.), Scottsdale (4168 N. Marshall Way), Sedona (320 N. State Route 89A) and Taos (11 S. Plaza), or online at www.touchstonegalleries.com.  

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Chrysocolla: A Hint of the Southwest

Decors Factors and Suggestions – This is one magnificent gemstone! From the dark browns and lights grays, to the vibrant blues and greens of the stone’s matrix, chrysocolla specimens are truly outstanding. The bright colors and different patterns make this piece visually stimulating. The variations in color make this piece stand out; placing chrysocolla specimens as center pieces allows the gemstone to get the attention it deserves. Chrysocolla would lend itself well to a southwestern style room, the colors similar to the colors of the southwest.
               


The rich and lively blue and green colors of chrysocolla specimens are reminiscent of looking down upon the earth's from space. The small blue and green lines look like rivers and lakes, while the deep and stunning browns represent the land. This gemstone is so visually perplexing, causing anyone who views it to want to take a closer look.

Home Décor Featuring a Fascinating Story

Legend and Lore – This gemstone was first called chrysocolla by the Greek philosopher and botanist Theophrastus. The name chrysocolla was derived from the Greek words for gold and glue, hinting to the fact that it was used as an ingredient in solder. Solder was used to weld gold pieces together. In ancient Egypt, chrysocolla was called “wise stone” because it was thought to encourage someone’s mind during negotiations. Cleopatra, the last pharaoh of Egypt, wore chrysocolla jewelry quite often. She believed that the stone made her more tolerant and sensitive.

The Science of Chrysocolla Creation – Chrysocolla is formed when copper ore bodies become oxidized, the copper ore combining with oxygen. It forms around the edges of the copper deposits. Most often, chrysocolla is mixed with other minerals like quartz, turquoise, malachite, and azurite. The combination of the different stones creates a beautiful appearance and texture. 

Revealed by Man – Chrysocolla can be found wherever there are copper deposits, most notably in Africa, Mexico, Czech Republic, Israel, England, and in certain states in the US including Utah, Arizona, Pennsylvania and New Mexico. The chrysocolla at Touchstone Galleries comes from Arizona. It is usually found near other minerals, including quartz, azurite, limonite, cuprite and copper. After chrysocolla is mined, it is carefully cut, polished, and packed and shipped for costumers in the United States to enjoy.

Touchstone Gallery Offers a Wide Variety of Nature’s Art Etched in Stone
We invite you to view our current offerings of chrysocolla and many other fascinating natural art pieces in our Touchstone Galleries in Santa Fe (127 W. San Francisco St.), Scottsdale (4168 N. Marshall Way), Sedona (320 N. State Route 89A) and Taos (110 S. Plaza), or online at www.touchstonegalleries.com.  

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Palm Leaf Fossils: A Visit to the Early Beaches


Décor Factors and Suggestions –Palm leaf fossils make a brilliant addition to your home or office. The historical value of palm leaf fossil is priceless, making it an enthralling piece of décor. The gentle earth tones of the fossil will look wonderful, no matter where you place it. Whether this piece is set upright on your book shelf or hung on your wall, it will be sure capture the minds of all those who view it.




In the deposit these fossil are found in, it is common to see the palm leaf preserved along side a small fish. This makes the fossils that much more interesting to look at and talk about. Take a trip in time to the beaches of the past with a palm leaf fossil in your home or office.

Home Décor Featuring a Fascinating Story

Legend and Lore – When most people think of fossils, they think of animal fossils. Although animal fossils are very interesting, plant fossils are considered rarer than animal fossils. Palms first appeared in the fossil record during the late Cretaceous period around 80 million years ago.  Around 69 million years ago, the first modern forms of the palm tree started to be seen. 60 million years ago, at the beginning of the Eocene period, palms were widespread and abundant. Palm trees grew where you would never expect to see them today, across the United States, China, Canada, India, and Europe.

Science of Palm Fossil Formation – Many palm leaf fossils are found in the Green River Formation. The Green River Formation is geological site located in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming, dating back to the Eocene period. The Green River Formation consisted of intermountain lakes. The base of these lakes consisted of lagerstätten deposits, sedimentary rock deposits that are known for persevering fossils extraordinarily well. Much like the fish fossils found in the Green River Formation, the palm leaves were covered in calcium carbonate. The covered palm leaves would sink to the bottom of the lake and be fossilized in limestone. Palm leaf fossils provide a look into the climate of the past. The presence of palms in the fossil record is testimony to the former existence of a warm climate, since palms do not tolerate freezing temperatures.

Revealed by Man – Palm leaves were covered in a layer of sediment and wonderfully preserved. These fossils are found at the bottom of lakes in the Green River Formation. To get to these fossils, workers have to bull doze through many layers of rock to get to the layer that contains the fossil. The fossils hunters spilt the rock layers with hand tools then workers cut the fossil out of the rock and then prepare it for display.

Touchstone Gallery Offers a Wide Variety of Nature’s Art Etched in Stone

We invite you to view our current offerings of palm leaf fossils and many other fascinating natural art pieces in our Touchstone Galleries in Santa Fe (127 W. San Francisco St.), Scottsdale (4168 N. Marshall Way), Sedona (320 N. State Route 89A) and Taos (11 S. Plaza), or online at www.touchstonegalleries.com. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Orthoclase: Simple but Exquisite


Decors Factors and Suggestions – Orthoclase is a simple but sophisticated mineral. Orthoclase comes in many different colors, including off-white, yellow, orange, red, and brown. All of these colors would lend themselves well to a rustic style room, as a center piece on your coffee table, adding a bright, but also humble splash to your welcoming décor. The orthoclase pictured below is accented by mica, adding contrast in color and shape. The pearly luster of orthoclase only adds to the elegance of this mineral and its décor possibilities, making this mineral a stylish addition to your home or office.

                               
 


This mineral looks really wonderful and truly shines in daylight. Placing it in window sills and well lighted areas will reveal the deep colors and the true beauty of the mineral. Orthoclase is often found in granite countertops, but also is very appealing by itself. The small color variations in orthoclase cause people to want to look at closer and take in all of the striking qualities it possess. 

Home Décor Featuring a Fascinating Story

Legend and Lore – Orthoclase has a defined hardness level of six in the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. The Mohs scale compares relative hardness of minerals by seeing which mineral can scratch others. The scale is from one to ten, with diamonds at ten, talc at one and orthoclase at six.

The Science of Orthoclase Creation – Orthoclase is a high quality member of the feldspar family which also includes moonstone, amazonite, and labradorite. Orthoclase is made up of aluminum and potassium and other sub minerals. Orthoclase forms when magma cools relatively quickly either above or below ground.  Orthoclase forms in metamorphic and ingenious rock, and sometimes sedimentary rock. The origin of the name Orthoclase is from the Greek name for "right cleave.” Orthoclase has two cleavage planes, meaning that the mineral is split along two definite crystal planes. The two cleavage planes are perpendicular to one another, creating a right angle.

Revealed by Man – Orthoclase is collected in Brazil, Mexico, Russia, England, and the United States. Orthoclase is usually mined from deposits of granite and pegmatite, then carefully packaged and shipped to the United States for costumers to enjoy.

Touchstone Gallery Offers a Wide Variety of Nature’s Art Etched in Stone

We invite you to view our current offerings of orthoclase and many other fascinating natural art pieces in our Touchstone Galleries in Santa Fe (127 W. San Francisco St.), Scottsdale (4168 N. Marshall Way), Sedona (320 N. State Route 89A) and Taos (110 S. Plaza), or online at www.touchstonegalleries.com.  

Friday, September 13, 2013

Woolly Mammoth Tusks: A Prehistoric Gem


Decor Factors and Suggestions – Wooly mammoth tusks are not only interesting artifacts; they are works of art, perfect for your home or office. Fossil tusks have a rich and deep range of colors, from orange to ivory, light and dark browns and gold are all present in these truly amazing pieces. Their unique shape will add variety to your décor and draw in all those who see it. These large pieces are sure to make an impact on who ever may see it. Woolly mammoth tusks are one of the most popular large display fossils. These fossils are sure to make a statement, where ever you place them. 



Home Décor Featuring a Fascinating Story

Legend and Lore – The woolly mammoth, the furry and extinct cousin to the elephant, has captured the mind and imagination of people for years. Its popularity, possibly due to the movie Ice Age and its multiple sequels, does not come unwarranted. These ancient mammals are quite fascinating. Woolly mammoths were roughly the same size as today’s African elephant. These animals were prey to the early humans. Humans hunting for woolly mammoths are well documented in cave paintings, showing stick figure men holding spears, chasing after the wild beasts. Woolly mammoths grazed on grasses and low lying shrubs, surviving off of plants. Wooly mammoths needed a varied diet in order to sustain growth, like modern day elephants. Although there are many interesting facts about the woolly mammoth, these creatures from the past have one defining quality; their humungous tusks.

The Science of Woolly Mammoth Tusks– Wooly mammoths used their curved tusk to manipulate objects, for fighting, and for foraging. Not only did the woolly mammoth provide a great food source for the early humans, but the tusks were useful too. Homo sapiens used the tusks for art, in their homes, and as tools. Male woolly mammoths had larger tusks than females. An average male woolly mammoth tusks weigh around 100 pounds, while female tusks, on average, weigh about 20 pounds. The age of a woolly mammoth can be determined by counting the growth rings inside the tusk, similar to how the age of a tree is determined. Each major line represents a year of that woolly mammoth’s life, and sometimes you can even see day and week lines in between the major year lines.

Revealed by Man – Woolly mammoth tusks have been found all over the world. The tusks are usually found frozen in permafrost. They are then removed from the ice and carefully prepared, packed and shipped to where they are put on display.

Touchstone Gallery Offers a Wide Variety of Nature’s Art Etched in Stone

We invite you to view our current offerings of woolly mammoth tusks and many other fascinating natural art pieces in our Touchstone Galleries in Santa Fe (127 W. San Francisco St.), Scottsdale (4168 N. Marshall Way), Sedona (320 N. State Route 89A) and Taos (11 S. Plaza), or online at www.touchstonegalleries.com. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Fluorite: The Most Colorful Mineral in the World


Decors Factors and Suggestions – Fluorite is known for its smooth luster and wide variety of colors. The range of colors stretches from the royal color purple, to vibrant blue, cool green, sunset yellow, chocolaty brown, coral pink, fierce black and reddish orange. Fluorite also comes in clear, colorless varieties. The huge array of colors allows for endless décor options.  Whether you use fluorite as a center piece or as a complimentary piece, the wide variety of colors allows it to fit into your personal style.  These colors will radiate beauty wherever you place them.

        
 

 

Fluorite is not only incredibly colorful, it is also very interesting. The sample pictured above is wonderfully complimented by barite. Barite forms in flakes, while fluorite forms cubically. The two different shapes compliment each other wonderfully. When you view fluorite underneath a black light, it glows beautifully. This stunning glow just makes this mineral more intriguing.

Home Décor Featuring a Fascinating Story

Legend and Lore – Fluorite has a very mystical history. The origin of the word fluorite comes from the Latin verb to flow. In Roman times, people thought if you drank alcoholic beverages from a vessel craved from fluorite, it would prevent drunkenness. This mindset was continued through the eighteenth century, when it was ground into powder and mixed into water, making a concoction that was given to people who suffered from kidney disease.

The Science of Fluorite Creation – Fluorite is formed by hydrothermal solutions rapidly rising. Hydrothermal solutions are watery fluids containing calcium & fluorine. As the solution rises, it created crystals in the hydrothermal veins of the Earth. Fluorite is also found in cavities of sedimentary rocks, as a cementing material in sandstones, and in hot springs deposits.

Revealed by Man – Deposits of fluorite have been found in Argentina, Austria, Canada, China, England, France, Germany, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Russia, Spain, Switzerland and the United States. Fluorite is chipped away from the rock that is formed on, then carefully packaged and shipped for sale to customers in the United States.

Touchstone Gallery Offers a Wide Variety of Nature’s Art Etched in Stone

We invite you to view our current offerings of fluorite and many other fascinating natural art pieces in our Touchstone Galleries in Santa Fe (127 W. San Francisco St.), Scottsdale (4168 N. Marshall Way), Sedona (320 N. State Route 89A) and Taos (110 S. Plaza), or online at www.touchstonegalleries.com. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Phareodus: A Fish With a Mouth Full


Decors Factors and Suggestions – Phareodus fish fossils are very captivating, visually and historically. Having your very own Phareodus fossil is like having a piece of history in your home or office. This unique fossil piece would look stunning hung up on a wall as a focal point of a room, complimenting your décor with its remarkable history. This fossil was found at the center of a lake, making the color of the fossil deep brown. This deep brown color with the tan backdrop makes a dramatic statement in the tame color scheme
 
 
Home Décor Featuring a Fascinating Story

Legend and Lore –These fish were very high on the food chain, a strong and very hungry creature. Phareodus have two defining qualities, a long pectoral fin and many incredibly sharp teeth. Their sharp teeth are a testament to their carnivorous and predatory lifestyle. Interestingly enough, the genus name of this fish means “to have a tooth” and boy, do they have one. There are two species of Phareodus, Phareodus testis and Phareodus encaustus. Phareodus testis is rarer and lesser known, being around 15 inches in length. The Phareodus encaustus is recognized as the larger of the two species.

The Science of Phareodus Fossil Formation – This fish can be found in the Green River Formation. The sediments in the Green River Formation show a continuous record of six million years! The fossils found here even cover the transition from the early Eocene climate, which was very moist, to the slightly drier mid-Eocene climate. Approximately 60 different creatures have been found at Green River, including fish, reptiles, birds and mammals.

These fossils were found in one particular lake in the Green River Formation, called Fossil Lake. The conditions in Fossil Lake were perfect for preserving these fish. This lake had a very high concentration of calcium carbonate. Deceased fish would be caked in calcium carbonate and preserved in limestone.

Revealed by Man – The fossil bed of the Green River Formation was discovered by early missionaries and explores who documented the findings in their journals. The first fish fossil was collected from the Green River Formation in 1856 by geologist, Dr. John Evans. Millions of fascinating fish fossils have been collected from this formation, making it one of the most famous and important fossil sites.

Touchstone Gallery Offers a Wide Variety of Nature’s Art Etched in Stone

We invite you to view our current offerings of Phareodus fish fossils and many other fascinating natural art pieces in our Touchstone Galleries in Santa Fe (127 W. San Francisco St.), Scottsdale (4168 N. Marshall Way), Sedona (320 N. State Route 89A) and Taos (11 S. Plaza), or online at www.touchstonegalleries.com.