Agatized Dinosaur Bone



dinosaur bone mineral on display in a museum cabinet



About the Mineral Dinosaur Bone

Agatized dinosaur bone also known as dinosaur gembone is the fossil remains of dinosaur bones in which the original cellular structure has been replaced by the minerals agate, quartz and sometimes pyrite through a process known as petrifaction.  In order for this to take place groundwater must be present because it carries the natural minerals which slowly replace the decaying cellular structure.  Almost all fossils are bone or skeletal remains which have been swiftly buried beneath sediment which preserves them intact until the process of petrifaction begins.  The variety of colours which can be seen in agatized dinosaur bone are the result of different minerals that were present in the surrounding sediment.

When an organism is starved of oxygen soon after it has died the normal process of decaying cannot take place therefore it will usually remain in tact for a considerable length of time.  Being preserved in this way allows the process of petrifaction to take place.  A perfect example would be an organism which has been covered with ash following a volcanic eruption.  Volcanic ash is made up of tiny particles of rock, minerals and volcanic glass.

As well as quartz, agate and iron pyrite other minerals known to replace the cellular structure in agatized dinosaur bone include common opal and calcite.  Used primarily as a lapidary material it tends to be polished as a cabochon when used as a gemstone.  Whilst some may consider agatized dinosaur bone to be an unusual choice for a gemstone, coprolite which is fossilized dinosaur excrement is even more bizarre.

Agatized dinosaur bone grades 6 to 7 on Mohs scale of mineral hardness.

Our photograph features petrified dinosaur bone alongside petrified wood.  These exhibits are on display in the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C.  Photograph by Stone Mania ¬©



Agatized Dinosaur Bone Pendants


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Further Reading

Organic gemstones on