Lapidary Blog

Lapidary blog   

13 December 2010

Hell’s Canyon petrified wood!!

in: lapidary — Silverhawk @ 6:19 pm

Here’s the story:  Back in the ’50s, a lucky rockhound unearthed a cache of petrified wood in the Hell’s Canyon gorge.  Not long afterward, the Brownlee dam was constructed, flooding the entire area.  Meanwhile, the rockhound, not knowing what to do with all that pet wood, buried it near his house.  There it sat, for decades, until it was dug up by his family, who sold what they had to a fellow named Tony Schultz in an estate sale.  Sorry I missed that one! 

Now mind you, this isn’t just any ol’ ordinary petrified wood.  This stuff has CHARACTER, with a capital C!  The species has been identified as sequoia, by well known expert Walt Wright, and the best of it is riddled with vugs of agate, said to have been the result of dry rot in the tree.  You’ll see what I’m refering to in the photo, below, of the first cabochon I cut from this unique material: 

Hell's Canyon petrified wood cabochon

Those holes are fortified with bands, just like tiny thundereggs, and they are lined with translucent material.  Some appears to be milky or clear agate, and some is common opal, while others show sparkly quartz, including tiny crystals.  This extraordinary pet wood also has a striking zigzagging herringbone pattern of annual growth rings, clearly showing how the passing of the seasons affected the once-living tree.  Each ring represents a year!

And here’s the best part.  Check out the backlit photo of this same stone: 

Hell's Canyon petrified wood cabochon 

 Wow, huh?  It very much reminds me of howardite, another rarity, from Nevada.

No doubt collectors (and others) will surely want some of this amazing fossil wood, and the good news is, it’s not too late to get some, though the supply IS very limited.  Tony Schultz, owner of Service Station Gems, will be attending Quartzite’s Desert Gardens gemshow from Jan. 1st through Feb. 15th, 2011, where you can see & touch his outstanding pet wood specimens in person.  Tony did a fine job building his website, but if you visit while he’s off enjoying the Arizona sunshine at the gemshow, you may not find an abundance of inventory there because he’ll have it with him.  Rest assured, he’ll be restocking the site soon!

So in the meantime, stop by and say hello to Tony when you’re at the show.  He’s a very nice guy, and will be glad to see you.

Have fun!!



To spark the imagination!

Sam Silverhawk

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