Petoskey Stone Handcrafted Stone Beads
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What is a Petoskey Stone and how are Petoskey Stones Formed?

The Petoskey Stone is made up of a varity of Calcite .  It was formed by the fossilization of ancient coral, Hexagonaria.  The coral lived in shallow waters.  Today's fossil often includes ancient silt and mud.  Petoskey Stones are found on many beaches of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, as well as in rock quantities from Traverse City to Alpena.  The honeycomb patterned stone has a hardness from 4 to 5. 

 About 350 million years ago a shallow sea spread over what is now known as Lower Michigan.  The climate was tropical and extensive coral reefs flourished in the sea - brachiopods, bryozoans, crinoids, corals and stromatoporoids.
 
 As time went by marine animals died, others were born and lived out their lives on the calcium carbonate remains of their ancestors.  Continually, silt & black mud fell to the bottom of the sea, filling crevices and then solidifying until they became rock.  Finally, the Michigan Basin was full.  In the central section the sedimentary rock attained the greatest thickness and so warped downward.  This caused the strata along the outer edge of the basin to rise until finally fossils buried deep within the earth were exposed.  Outcrops of strata of the Devonian Era can be found in the northern section of the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes National Lakeshore and the area north to the Mackinac Straits and south to Alpena.
 
 The Ice Age began a couple of million years ago and glaciers moved southward over the Michigan Basin, pushing many of the Devonian fossils southward.  So it is possible to find many of these marine fossils as far south as the Ohio River.

 The Petoskey is one of the most plentiful of these marine fossils.  It was the colony coral Hexagonaria Percarinata, now extinct.  The attractive appearance is due to the internal structure of the coral.  The walls of each individual coral forms a rough hexagonal pattern with radiating lines within each coral.

 Petoskeys are plentiful in the upper part of lower Michigan but few are considered really good.  A stone that is solid with a clear, distinct pattern is prized by lapidarists.
 The Petoskey is Michigan's State Stone.  The word Petoskey is the English approximate of the Indian word "Bidasiga".  It means Rays of the Living Sun.

Petoskey Stone Beads from StuderStones

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John D. Studer







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