I have had many folks come into the gallery and become fascinated by the fossil shells. It's incredible to imagine what the creature who made the shell encountered the proposed millions of years ago when they populated this area. My personal favorite are the large spiral shells that you can find.

Step1shell.jpg 

First, they ask; how do you know what you are looking for? These shells have a 'matrix' stone that has some tell tale signs. The texture was created by the shell being inhabited by a hermit crab (use contact page to reach me for credit info, I didn't write the book), the reef growing on the back of the crab's spiral shell creates a different fossil stone than the sedimentary rock that is the matrix around the fossil shell. You can see that variation in Step 1.

Step2shell.jpg 

Now the trick is to very carefully remove that matrix stone to reveal what kind of a shell you have hiding inside. I use rotary tools with a variety of bits to carve away the material. It's always exhilarating to see the shell's colors being revealed and knowing you are the first one in millions of years to see it!

Step3shell.jpg 

After grinding the matrix off, the shell is revealed and the polishing begins. The shell enamel is often times in great shape and has been permineralized with silicates giving it a pearly, or 'tiger's eye' sheen. Beautiful blues, ambers, browns, and reds are very common along with parts or all of the shell's cavity being filled with agate.

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Sometimes, the entire shell is perfectly preserved, other times there are holes or large parts missing. One never knows when you start opening up, what is very much like a birthday present with all of the mystery and intrigue, what one may find. Come in to see the latest 'openings'. 


To be Continued...
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