Petrified wood

Different types of petrified wood

this is where you will find special pieces of petrified wood from different locations from all over the world. Do you want to know more or are you curious about our exclusive collection of petrified wood? Read below for more information.

How does wood petrify?

Around the world there are a few forests of petrified trees.

The largest and most famous forest of petrified wood in the world is the "Petrified Forest" in Arizona.  In addition, there are forests of petrified wood found in Madagascar, on Java, Indonesia,  in Brazil, Greece and Turky.

The geological explanation is slightly different in all these localities but what they all have in common is that something happened that stopped the trees from decading and made them fossilize. The most important reason is the lack of oxygen. 

In Indonesia the fact that trees petrified so massively  and perfect is explained by a huge volcano outburst that very quickly buried the trees under a layer of ashes that shut off the oxygen supply.  In Arzona it is explained by either a huge mud slide or by an impact of a large meteorite.

What follows is a process  in which Silicon-rich water slowly seeps through the wood tissue. The Silicon bonds with the oxygen of the ground water forms SiO2 or quartz. The quartz crystal then take the place of the wood fibers and thus the tree gradually changes from wood to quartz without losing its structure. Sometimes quartz crystals in small cavities to can be seen with the eye.

Some petrified wood is so perfectly preserved that the original wood structure is fully visible,  even showing the year rings. The various shades are caused by all sorts of very small natural impurities of the crystal lattice with metal oxides. Especially the petrified wood from Arizona has brilliant colours and is therefore called "rainbow wood" (Rainbow wood).

How to work petrified wood?

Cutting, polishing and carving petrified wood is not easy.  First of all, the raw material must be well selected because not all pieces are solid enough to saw. Most trunks contain larger or smaller cracks so they fall apart when cutting. Not only the extreme hardness of the material but also its tenacity makes cutting very labour intensive and technical. Only when perfectly  sawn a slab can later be perfectly polished. It costs about 100 hours to cut a slab of 50 cm diameter. The polishing that follows requires lots of patience and knowledge of polishing tools. Just a handful of craftsmen are left that master this work.

The precious slabs as seen on our site are popular in museum collections but also very sought after as wall decoration or as table top.  The slabs are very suitable as a table top indeed since it can hardly be scratched because of the extreme hardness.

In recent years, there are also those who see petrified wood as an investment object. Especially when it comes to big pieces from "Petrified Forest" in Arizona. This is a National Park from which nothing can be taken away. The wood what is now still on the market, comes from old stocks or from sporadic finds just outside the park boundaries.

You can learn more about our collection of petrified wood.

Come see us at st1 gallery 

We have a large collection of large pieces of petrified wood. You can visit by appointment. On Saturday there is no appointment necessary and st1 gallery is open from 12:00 to 17:00. On this page you will find a number of pieces of petrified wood from our stock.