about Tucson and Rock & Gem at the bottom of this post.
If someone tells you they have Petrified Palm, the first
question is where from? I don't mean Madagascar or Louisiana. I'm asking
you whether it is from the trunk or roots.
The trunk slices tend to be very plain with small nearly
identical markings evenly displayed. These are remnants of the rod-like
structure that forms palms. I confess I tend to find petrified palm trunk a bit
boring. I like rocks that talk to me and tell me their stories. This reminds me
of a cat taking a nap. It's just there, not doing much of anything.
Here's my proof.
Years ago at our club show, my rock club had this massive ugly
rock they were trying to sell. Nobody wanted anything to do with it. I finally
made a ridiculously low offer and it was mine. I suspect because then they
wouldn't have to drag it out of there. I would.
I took it to the shop where I had access to a large saw and
cut it in half. It is palm. This is how the cut edge looks. It now rests in my
yard under a redwood tree that keeps trying to cover it up with droppings.
Admittedly, there are those who hold a different
In Louisiana, they have declared petrified palm the state fossil.
Texas, they conveniently ignored biological reality and named "Petrified
Palm Wood" the state stone in 1969.
Sorry, Texas. Palm is not really wood.
I'm paraphrasing the detailed information from Han's
Paleobotany Pages. Click here. Palm does not conform to the
definition of wood because wood tissue is formed by cambium. All deciduous
trees have that cell layer which produces bark on the outside of the tree and
wood on the inside. He gives amazing descriptions of how they are different and
I suggest you use the link above if you want to know more. I'm ready to go back
COME TO ME, MY PRETTIES . . .
The other source of petrified palm--and to me the most
interesting--is the root structure. The first time I saw petrified palm root,
the colors and movement made me think it was crazy lace; but it really wasn't.
It had a riot of colors but with no discernible pattern like you find in crazy
lace. What it really looked like was a bunch of colorful worms writhing around
happily together. Sometimes it looked like a long tube, others looked like the
end of a pipe agate, and then there was sky blue quartz filling in the spaces
on where you are in the world, the petrified palm roots will have colors they
have absorbed from the fossilizing process and the patterns will also reflect
the kind of palm it was.
For example, lapidary artist Sue Gallagher
(Rockhound Dog Designs) shared this picture of palm root she has that hailed
from Malaysia. You can clearly see the root writhing effect where the two
Jason Brousseau (NM Stone Supply on Facebook and
instagram)shared this picture of a cab he made with petrified palm root, As you
can see, it makes an amazingly dramatic piece!
FROM A LAPIDARY STANDPOINT
Petrified palm is a chalcedony and clocks in at about 7.5 on
the Mohs scale. That means it will take a fabulous shine. In fact, when I'm in
Tucson this year I'm going to be looking especially for this. If you want to
see a wider range of the looks of Palm Root, check out the RockhoundUSA site
where the material is compared to Dali Paintings : Click Here
SPEAKING OF TUCSON
Make your trip to Tucson and Quartzsite this year better
than ever by checking out some wonderful places to see and collect. Check out
my article, Eyes on Arizona: Road Trip, in the January 2019 Rock &
Not a current subscriber? The magazine has recently
had an editorial update and the articles and pictures are better than ever! You
can subscribe at: http://www.rockngem.com/
I'd love to see what lapidary creations you've crafted
with Palm. Send me your images and comments to Donna@LapidaryWhisperer.com
Until next time, I'm your Lapidary Whisperer,
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