Monday, December 11, 2006

Unique to the Great Lakes State

There is stone that found almost exclusively in northern Michigan (though glaciers have pushed some so that they are very rarely found as far away as Iowa and somewhat south of Michigan.) It's a fossilized coral that is very ugly to see yet polishes into something of a honeycombed beauty and is used to make jewelry unique to this state and is frequently used to make souveniers of this state.

Behold, the raw Petosky stone: Michigan's official state stone. (Link is a PDF file).

Not much to look at is it? But look at the polished product.

They are frequently polished and shaped into things like the Mitten shape of Michigan's Lower Peninsula, or a fish or a cross, or sometimes just shaped into a cabochon. (rounded, flat on one side in a domed shape.) I have a couple of them, but have never done anything with them. In nature they are an ugly rock, but it's amazing what beauty can be brought out with just a little polishing.

There is even a festival for them.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grew up with a gravel pit at the edge of our back yard in Jenison. Wish I had kept some of the nice petosky stones I picked up in my travels as a kid.

11:07 PM  
Blogger Patrick Joubert Conlon said...

I've seen the polished version before but had no idea that it was fossilized coral.

11:02 AM  
Blogger Gayle said...

I've never seen either version before, Shoprat. You certainly can't tell the polished version is fossilized coral. It's beautiful!

2:11 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

When I was in the Coast Guard, we found a few on the beach by Cheboygan. They do look much nicer when polished. One other thing that we used to see were beads made of tiny stones with a hole drilled into them in the center for stringing them together. The Indians of N. Michigan used them in necklaces before the arrival of the Europeans when there were no glass beads available. I was just in Petoskey in Nov. doing some work at the hospital there.

3:59 PM  
Blogger Lone Pony said...

Beautiful! I love things like this. When I was little, I wanted a rock tumbler soooo bad. Now that I'm a grownup, (depending on who you talk to) I should buy one.

6:54 PM  
Blogger shoprat said...

Steven glad you visited.

pjc & Gayle It is hard to tell by looking at a polished one but no mistaking a rough one for anything but a fossil

tim Those Indians had more patience than I do to make some of the stuff they mad.

lp You're grown up and buy what you want. If you want one buy one and enjoy it.

8:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now that's cool... never seen it in raw or finished form. All we have around here is ..... uh... uh.. rocks... lol

8:20 PM  
Blogger armed_and_christian said...

In nature they are an ugly rock, but it's amazing what beauty can be brought out with just a little polishing.

I think there's a sermon and a theological parallel in there...

9:02 PM  

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