Carefully chosen petrified wood slice from South Africa. This curious mineral is polished on one side only and exhibits a wonderful blend of natural colours. Due to the angle at which our photographs were taken, it's not possible to fully appreciate the stone's vitreous lustre.
Petrified wood is a fascinating mineral that we love having as part of our collection. Its formation began millions of years ago when prehistoric trees fell and were quickly covered with sediment or volcanic ash. Although initially preserved due to being starved of oxygen, some of the organic matter then began to decay and was replaced with minerals being carried in ground water. As the water dried up the minerals crystallised and hardened.
The process which is known as petrifaction takes place over millions of years but is sometimes misunderstood. The crystallised minerals have turned to stone, not the original organic matter. The reason why so much detail is often preserved in petrified wood is because the original cell structure remained largely in tact.
No two pieces of petrified wood are ever the same and these wonderful curiosities make unique gifts for anyone with an interest in the natural world.