Australian Gemstones - Petrified Wood

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Australia has an abundance of Petrified Wood spread across deposits in all States. Many are much sought after by collectors for their fine quality, uniqueness and beauty.

Petrified Wood is formed when silica in solution fills the pores and cavities in submerged or sediment buried timbers. As the woody fibre gradually decomposes, more silica in solution takes its place until the original wood is replaced entirely by silica. This is done is such a manner that the original shape and structural detail is preserved.

Petrified Wood or Fossilised Wood as it is often called, is a quartz pseudomorph after wood formed by replacement. This is where one mineral (quartz) takes the outer form of another mineral or organic material (wood).

As Petrified Wood is mainly composed of silica (quartz) it has a hardness of around 6 -7 on the MOH’s scale of hardness.

Petrified Wood can vary significantly in age. Some Petrified Woods are younger than 40 million years old, with others in excess of 200 million years old.

Petrified Wood is most often cut into slices and polished as an ornamental stone for collectors, but is often fashioned into cabochons, jewellery and more recently incorporated into furniture pieces.