Bucket List: Petrified Forest in Arizona

Apr 25, 2017
It's on my bucket list. I have driven through the area, seen the signs and never had time to stop. One day I am going on a road trip to the Petrified Forest and the Painted Desert in Arizona. I want to spend all day there, maybe two. I'll have to go in the early spring so that it won't be too hot. Maybe there will be blooming wildflowers.
It became a National park in 1962 and it is about 230 square miles in size. There is a museum on the property and several "loops" with different kinds of petrified wood to see as well as The Painted Desert. The petrified wood specimens are from the Late Triassic Period. 
More than 200 million years ago, Northeastern Arizona was not the dry desert it is today, but a rich forest filled with trees and vegetation. The climate was humid and sub-tropical with a fresh water streams and rivers. 
Tectonic movement and volcanic eruptions eventually changed the environment drastically. The trees and vegetation died and the downed trees were buried in sediment that contained volcanic ash. Ground water dissolved silica from the ash and carried it into the logs where it formed quartz crystal that replaced the organic matter. Traces of iron oxide and other things mixed with the silica and is responsible for the varied bright colors of the rock. This process is similar to how opal was formed. I wonder if opal was found in the petrified forest...hum...
This is my piece of petrified wood. I've had it for a very long time and I don't even remember where I got it. I am sure that you have seen it as a background in some of my photo shoots. This side of it is polished, the other side is rough and natural. 
Petrified wood has been used in Navajo jewelry for many years. I find it used more often in the older pieces than the modern jewelry. Here are some early Navajo rings and bracelets set with colorful petrified wood.
 
This is an Art Nouveau piece, not Native American with an outstanding specimen
A modern necklace set with petrified wood.
Here's the thing about obtaining petrified wood for your own use. It is now illegal to remove any petrified wood from the park. The stone can be purchased from verified vendors, but I see it being used much less in modern jewelry.  The supply is certainly controlled. 
And get this: There is a legend of a bad luck curse regarding taking stones from the park. Is it real or was it created to keep people honest? Apparently, at the museum they have a collection of returned rocks and 1200 letters that accompanied said rocks as they were mailed back to the park after being stolen. The thieves wanted relief from the bad luck that followed them from the park in their pockets. The stones cannot be placed back into the park because it would be impossible to find the original spot from which it was taken. To just place them is not natural or correct so they have to stay in the museum. 
Please know that the pieces that I offer were not stolen from the park and they do not have bad luck attached to them. In fact, most of the jewelry creations that I offer were made long before 1962 when the area became a park. I find this stone most typically in pieces that are C. 1910 to 1940. 
In fact, this amazing ring is ingot silver. It is C. 1910 and the silver is smooth and rounded. It feels amazing on your finger. I am sure that this piece is old pawn. 
Petrified wood pieces are fun to collect. Some people collect pieces called landscape agates such as this one. It looks like an underwater seascape. 
I sold this piece years ago. Doesn't it look like the highway going into a sunset?
 
This early ring can be found on my outlet website.
In my travels, I find mostly rings and bracelets set with this lovely gift from nature. There is one thing that I have never ever seen for sale or not for sale. I have not been able to find one on google. I've never seen one at the antique shows, the Indian jewelry stores, the powwow events or the Indian swap meet. Maybe I should go to to  the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture in Santa Fe to see if they have one. 
What am I talking about? I have never seen a sterling silver squash blossom necklace set with petrified wood. Ever. 
The Hunt is on!
Here are a few more fun pieces. The following pieces are not mine:
Doesn't this look like a horse and rider?
And this is is so vibrant!
Below I see a pueblo landscape, an eagle taking flight, a mountain landscape and a trees with lake landscape. Do you see what I see? Which is your favorite?
I love my turquoise, but petrified wood ads a color pallete that turquoise cannot offer. It is so fun to use your imagination to see what the artist saw in a particular stone. Is it a landscape or an animal? It is a fun stone to collect because no two are alike unless cut from the same stone. 
I have several pieces available on my website HERE
and on my outlet website HERE
You can bet that I am always looking for more special pieces. Most of all, I am on the lookout for that squash blossom.  
 
 

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