13+ lb. Chinle CRYSTAL FOREST Petrified Wood Bookends - Arizona Fossil Gemstone!

Regular price $189.00

This is a really striking set of petrified wood bookends loaded with beautifully contrasting veins of quartz crystal. The high contrast black with mineral veins is attractive and the shape is very nice, as well. It comes from an exposure in the vast southwestern US petrified wood deposits from the Chinle Formation dubbed the Crystal Forest. The name source is somewhat obvious! This is actually the second log I have cut from this site (and only the second set of bookends) and the distinguishing features in this one are even more pronounced in this set. My humble little rockshop takes pride in knowing this specimen is presented in it's full glory to tell its story to you and all who study it in the future. The mirror finish coaxed from this slightly less silicified wood extends even to the characteristic mineral veins found in most Chinle specimens. It's a fascinating and beautiful specimen sure to be a prized member of any collection!

While I am an educated scientist, I never pretend to be anything more than an amateur collector that loves working with these fascinating stones and I certainly would never try to pass myself off as a paleobotanist! But I do enjoy a taste of the scientific side of a hobby that I'm primarily drawn to for the aesthetics. I love the art at least as much as I do the ancient genetic story that each piece represents. But sometimes the scientific story becomes sordid enough to overshadow the art, and this is one of those times! In 1889 Frank Knowlton published a paper describing some black fossil logs recovered from Arizona. He called the species Araucarioxylon arizonicum. Two of the three pieces he used were housed in The Smithsonian while a third was lost to time. Scandalously, when the research and specimens were examined more closely (presumably with better microscopes) the three pieces turned out to be different species. As none was ever labeled to be the holotype (single reference specimen) for the new species Knowlton was describing, the pieces became syntypes of equal weight which means you can't really have A. arizonicum hanging around in the hallowed halls of academia because, well, the syntypes aren't actually the same thing! The most comprehensive recent paper that tries to address and clean up the confusion was published by Rodney Savidge in 2007. His paper attempts to explain and re-organize what is known of the now many species that have been identified in this vast forest of giant fossil trunks in the Arizona petrified forest. One of the original three pieces was a Black Forest log that, in an apparent attempt to leave some naming credit with Knowlton, was called P. arizonicum. While it is admittedly dangerous to try to identify a conifer based on cross section detail alone, the fact that it comes from the Black Forest combined with the intercellular spaces you see in the most zoomed in microphoto makes it uniquely match this conifer in Savidges summary paper.
The paper's title is something only a real paleobotanist could come up with:

"Wood anatomy of Late Triassic trees in Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona, USA, in relation to Araucarioxylon arizonicum Knowlton, 1889".

And you thought Sticks in Stones descriptions were wordy!!

If you're new to our shop the one thing you should expect is to see an unexpectedly glossy finish on each stone we prepare. This set of bookends is a wonderful example of our work. They have been cut with a diamond saw and flat lapped on equipment I built myself to produce a mirror perfect polish unmatched by any of our many would-be imitators. The detail captured and revealed through the highly polished surface is just immaculate in most wood, slightly less dramatic in this variety. The cut edges (shelf and book touching surfaces) are covered in felt to protect desks and books alike. It's easily some of the most interesting wood to be found anywhere and we've prepared it to be all that it can be! It's a truly special find and we won't likely have a lot more so get a piece for your collection while it's available!

This choice set of bookends measures about 10 1/4" x 5 1/4" across the polished face of each stone and is cut about 1 3/4" thick. Weight is 13.26 lbs for the pair.

A nice, unique natural wonder collectible exclusively from Sticks-in-Stones Lapidary!