This relatively uncommon Madagascar fossil is a beautiful and truly flawless example of a rare Woodworthia, an ancient conifer that lived around 200 million years ago! The color in this specimen is among the finest I've ever seen with a subtle mint green hue in the lighter regions and some soft pinks nestled in amongst the browns and whites as well. This piece comes from the Jim Leicht collection and is the only slab I know of from the log. The rays are thick and numerous and the growth rings easily visible with the naked eye. Although I've cut hundreds of Madagascar petrified wood logs, I've only seen two Woodworthia logs in all that time and neither was as glorious as this one. And at over 11" wide, this is a large Woodworthia by any standard. While you may have seen the bland, lifeless specimens from this remote island nation with low grade import polishing work, you haven't really seen what the other side of the world can produce until you've seen one of the specimens we've prepared in our shop with a mirror finish unmatched by any petrified wood you've ever held! Color like this is hard to find and when finished properly provides one of the most beautiful natural displays you've ever laid eyes on!! This is a one time chance as a truly fantastic collector piece that should not be overlooked!
NOTE: My locality identification conflicts with that of the original collector. This is not a terribly uncommon occurence as the simple reality is that petrified wood is more often collected for beauty than science, even though it is uniquely situated to feed both pursuits. I'm pretty confident in my ID for original location based on extensive familiarity that involved cutting tons of stone from hundreds of logs from both Zimbabwe and Madagascar. The color, silicification and rind features are all in the sweet spot for Madagascar and would be unprecedented for Zimbabwe. The original collector's tags and labels are left on the back for posterity and provenance. Jim was a visual collector that valued aesthetics, preparation and completeness above species diversity and he relied on the identification skills of vendors (which we all know varies considerably).
This is a truly amazing, beautifully prepared petrified wood specimen that has been cut and prepared with skill. This slab was part of the Jim Leicht estate collection. Jim lived in the foothills of Mt. Hood in Oregon. During his long collecting career he amassed not one but two world class petrified wood collections. His first collection he sold and donated in the late 20th century to focus his passion on spheres. But even his sphere collection filled with petrified wood and his tastes and interests shifted again to the pursuit of world class petrified wood collector pieces. This piece comes from that second collecting effort which itself spanned more than 30 years. I had the good privilege of knowing Jim and we'd trade from time to time for pieces neither of us could live without. This slab is one of the few pieces from that collection to finally make it back into circulation for a new collector to cherish. Jim collected petrified wood from all over the world but, like many, was particularly fond of the gem grade wood found in the Pacific Northwest. I visited Jim's collection a few times over the years and always admired the breadth of his incredible specimens. He was "old school" and much preferred to keep track of other collectors and collections with frequent phone calls, which proved to be an invaluable source of tips and leads not just for him, but for everyone fortunate enough to be on his call list! Those of us who knew him will miss his friendly, passionate view of both the hobby and those who participate in it. The bulk of his collection remains in the hands of another private collector who has asked me to assist with offering a few duplicates to balance the collection.