What Is Petrified Wood?

Striking red and brown petrified wood board

What is petrified wood?

To answer this question we need to travel back in time millions of years when the earth was populated with roaming dinosaurs, volcanic mountains and lush green forests. When a tree fell in those forests most decomposed but some, due to a miraculous natural phenomenon known as permineralization, are still here today. These pieces of preserved prehistoric tree are known as petrified wood.

How is petrified wood made? How does it form?

Permineralization occurred when the original prehistoric tree fell into mineral laden water, mud or volcanic ash. Due to being blanketed with the water, mud or volcanic ash, the wood would be starved of oxygen which is the driving force of decomposition. With the wood decaying at a far slower process than usual, it would slowly become infused with minerals which would eventually crystallise, replacing its original fibres. The end result is petrified wood, a fossil of the original piece of tree in the shape and format of a rock. 

How long does it take petrified wood to form?

The entire permineralization process takes, at the very least, thousands of years. All the petrified wood we source is millions of years old.

What are the benefits of petrified wood?

Petrified wood is an extraordinary gift from nature, a relic that has been present on earth for millions of years. As each original tree and minerals infusion are entirely unique, each piece of petrified wood is completely one of a kind - if you purchase a piece of petrified wood it will not be the same as any other. The piece that strikes your eye is completely unique.

Petrified wood is exceptionally rare - only a small proportion can be cut and polished into specimens. As a result, it becomes prized by collectors who truly appreciate its magnificence. Others are just captivated by this curious and beautiful expression of nature.

The natural beauty of petrified wood, combined with expert polishing, is a sculpture carved by nature. As a result, cutting-edge interior designers utilize it as a fascinating focal point of the finest homes.

Petrified wood is also easy to take care of. It has a hard, durable surface which can easily be cleaned with glass cleaner. It is impervious to stain.

How do you turn petrified wood into furniture?

Our polished specimens can be mounted on a base as a table or as a spectacular wall mounting. We can furnish a table base for you or you can source one yourself if you prefer. We can also advise pieces to compliment your home’s aesthetic. We have the capability to fabricate various bases and display mounts for homes, businesses and museums.

Is petrified wood rare?

Quality petrified wood is extremely rare and impossible to find in bulk. Each of the pieces in our collection have been selectively sourced from Arizona, Oregon and Washington, which is the home of the finest wood in the world. Our inventory has been carefully selected for one thing: beauty.

What does petrified mean?

The word petrified is derived from the Latin word “petro” which means “rock” or “stone.” It references the wood transforming to rock.

How old is petrified wood?

Depending on where the petrified wood has been sourced, age can range from 20 million years to 300 million years. Specimens from Arizona are approximately 230 million years old and those from Washington and Oregon are 38 million years old. 

Where can petrified wood be found?

Small quantities of petrified wood can be found worldwide but the best quality is found in Western USA. This is where all our petrified wood is sourced from.

What are the most common petrified trees?

Pine, oak and sequoia.

What is petrified wood worth?

Each piece of petrified wood has a different value based on size, rarity and natural beauty.

What is the difference between a $20 piece of petrified wood and a $1000 piece of petrified wood?

The difference is striking. Lower priced petrified wood has been mass produced and polished without expertise. We have over 50 years experience sourcing and polishing petrified wood. Our specimens are from Arizona, Oregon and Washington, home to the highest quality petrified wood in the world. 

What minerals make up petrified wood?

The most common minerals found in petrified wood include iron oxides, manganese oxides, carbon, chromium, copper, cobalt and silicon dioxide. However, there are many more possibilities. The unique combination of minerals included in the petrified wood are dependent on the minerals present in the water/mud/volcanic ash that coated the wood for millions of years.

Why does petrified wood have different colors?

The elements that infuse petrified wood produce the different colors - for example carbon produces black, iron produces red, etc. Find out more about petrified wood colors.

Is petrified wood a stone?

Petrified wood is quartz which is a natural stone. It is much harder than granite or marble - even a sharp knife will not damage the surface.

Is petrified wood heavy?

Yes, petrified wood is much heavier than regular wood. In comparison, one cubic foot of petrified wood weighs 97lbs while a cubic foot of water weighs 62lbs.

Is petrified wood a fossil?

Yes, petrified wood is the preserved remains of a prehistoric organism (a tree) so it is a fossil. The original organic material has been replaced by quartz. A dinosaur fossil in a museum has undergone the same process - the original bone has been replaced by quartz.

Unlike other types of fossils which are usually impressions or compressions, petrified wood is a three dimensional representation of the original organic material.

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