Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Fossilised Wood - Geologic Time Travellers

A home filled with treasures of travel, sustainable organic materials, artisan crafts, things from this earth that remind us of the great adventure we are all on - this is the essence of our ideal St Barts home. And nothing quite resonates with the sacred journey of nature and time like fossilised wood.

We currently have some stunning logs and carved sculptures instore and they never fail to surprise with their intense heaviness, glossiness, smooth tactility and rare beauty. As a piece of art or furniture, they have a unique poetry.

When you look at a piece of fossilised wood what you are seeing is not actually wood but stone imitating wood, and very well indeed. They are the perfectly preserved, mineralised echo of a tree that may have existed up to 100 million years ago.

It is astounding to realise that there is no wood left in the tree form you are looking at - that the details of bark and wood, the rings, the cellular structure is in fact minerals such as calcite and silica that have infiltrated the cells of a fallen tree and have formed a rock that has taken the shape of the original, preserving its beauty for us to appreciate millions of years later. Now, how do you put a value to that?

How Wood Is Petrified - A Simple Guide

1: When a tree falls to the ground in some rare cases it will be covered in mud before it has a chance to decay.

2: If it is covered quickly enough it will retain its shape under the mud.

3: The tree cells start to become hollow as the cells deteriorate or break down. As they hollow, water seeps into the cells, the water is full of minerals like calcite and silicon.

4: As water evaporates it leaves the minerals behind, filling up the cells creating a petrified tree. The minerals have replaced the tree to make a rock. In the case of calcium the tree will turn white.

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