What is Petrified Wood

What is Petrified Wood? What makes it So Fascinating?

If you are a collector of Petrified Wood and have spent a lot of time collecting them, but now you want to sell your collection. Petrified wood is in abundance, and you can get it easily without costing you anything.

On the other hand, you can sell them quite easily, making it a win-win situation for all with just a little bit of effort. Making a profit on something that costs you nothing is a good idea indeed. If you are already an experienced petrified wood dealer, you don’t have to worry about anything.

If you do not know what characteristics to look for in petrified wood and gauge its values, this is the perfect place for you. This guide will tell you all you need to know about petrified wood and its worth.

What Is Petrified Wood?

In simple terms, petrified wood is fossilized wood. Petrified wood is formed when plants get buried beneath the surface by sediments protecting them from decaying due to the presence of organisms and oxygen. 

When this buried wood comes into contact with groundwater that has dissolved a great number of minerals, the original material of the plant is replaced by Pyrite, Calcite, Opal, or Silica. This results in fossilized wood as the original wooden material is replaced with different organic and inorganic materials.

The petrified wood has detailed patterns of the bark and the inner circles. In some cases, the original pattern and texture are so well preserved that people often mistake them for tree trunks. In thesis cases, the only thing that differentiates them from trees is the weight.

Petrified wood that resembles the actual tree is quite rare; on the other hand, the wooden structure and the perfect resemblance of the bark are very common among petrified wood.

Different Types of Petrified Wood:

When it comes to petrified wood, there are many different types since there are many different trees that undergo petrification through minerals replacing the original matter of the wood. 

Each different tree yields a different type of petrified wood as well as the mineral type and quantity of that mineral. For comparison, the petrified forest of Arizona alone has dozens of types of different petrified woods. 

The one thing that all petrified wood has in common is that the original wooden material is removed by decaying. The minerals from fossilized trees resemble the original tree with their shape and texture but have different components instead of the original material.

These petrified wood can have a range of different compounds involved in their creation, and they are listed below.



Pyrite is also called fool’s gold and is found very commonly in petrified wood. Pyrite gets its second name due to its color that resembles gold. When it replaces the organic material of the petrified wood, it gives it a yellowish color with a golden gleam.  

The petrified wood that has Pyrite is prone to rot when it comes to certain conditions; it starts to degrade. Petrified wood with Pyrite should be stored carefully, and make sure that moisture does not get to it. 



Another material that is often found in petrified wood. If silica is present in the petrified wood, it makes it appear like a gem and gives it a sparkling surface. If a large amount of silica is present in one location of the petrified wood, it may make the wood translucent. 



Calcite is also found very commonly in petrified wood and gives the wood a brownish-orange color. Calcite is often found in the petrified wood’s hollow interior and often forms a formation that resembles geode. 

Calcite is the main building block of marbles as well as limestone petrified wood with a decent amount of calcite that tends to look a lot like marble and has a veined look.



Jet is considered a special type of petrified wood. Rather than being a true mineral, the jet is a mineraloid. Jet is very similar to diamonds when it comes to its formations. It takes hundreds of years of high temperature and pressure to make it very similar to coal.

Just like coal, the jet has a black color, and when it is polished, the surface becomes shiny. Jet is used in many crafts like jewellery and is very valued in these fields.



Another form of silica chalcedony is a cryptocrystalline form of silica. The structure of chalcedony can only be seen under a microscope. Chalcedony has a very beautiful color; it gives the petrified wood a light bluish and sometimes milky color.



Opal is considered one of the most valued gems in the entire world. Like many other minerals that get into petrified Wood, Opal gives the wood many different colors ranging from indigo blue, fluorescent orange, and mint green.

Depending upon your viewing angle and the angle of the light shining on the gem, it might appear in different colors. The changing colors of the gem add to its beauty, and when added to petrified wood, it is elevated to the next level.

Opal as a gem is already very expensive, but when it is found in petrified wood, the beauty is enhanced, and so is the price. 

When it comes to petrified wood, the above types should have made it clear that there are many different types of it. All the different mineraloids and minerals make these types different from each other.

Not only do these minerals add different elements like colors and lustre to the petrified wood, but they are also the cause of its prices. The amount and the right type of mineral present in the petrified wood can lift the price from a few dollars to thousands of dollars.  

Since we are on the topic of price, let’s check out what makes petrified wood so desired and sometimes expensive.

What Makes Petrified Wood Expensive?

Petrified Wood
Petrified Wood

Let’s be honest, who does not like wood, especially in furniture but what if the same wood can be used in jewellery. Petrified wood has long since enticed people with its beautiful shades of color like blue, orange, and green.

Along with the beautiful color, the petrified wood also has a lustre and shiny surface, adding to its beauty. When in the hands of a craftsman, this semi-precious gem has limitless possibilities of turning it into. 

The most common uses of the petrified wood areas are paperweight, in jewellery, sculptures, and clock faces. Depending upon a few factors, petrified wood can cost a lot. Due to its beauty, the petrified wood can be quite valuable, but that is not true for all petrified wood.

Pro Tip:

When it comes to calculating the value of a petrified wood specimen, there is no exact method. The truth of the matter is that a lot of different factors go into consideration when it comes to determining a price tag for one specific sample.

One of the most common and trusted methods is by having the petrified wood appraised by a professional.   

What Are the Factors That Decide the Price of a Petrified Wood?

There are a lot of factors that decide the price of petrified wood. Petrified wood that is of lower quality and is not that big in size is practically useless. A higher-quality petrified log can easily go for hundreds of dollars in the market.

Other than that, polished and beautifully designed petrified wood can be expensive, and the price can be thousands of dollars. Among the few characteristics that dictate the price of petrified wood include the following. 


Petrified wood comes in many different colors depending upon the mineral used in its formation. Among the colors, blue, green, orange, pink are the most common. The petrified wood shows very bright and beautiful color patterns instead of regular old boring brown color.

 Among the petrified wood, opalized wood goes for a higher price tag. Opalized petrified wood is very rare, and when looked at under different lighting conditions, it shows different colors. Besides color, the characteristic like translucent surface that allows one to see the bark and the inner growth rings also adds to the value.


After color, the most important thing is the size of the specimen. After all, a bigger specimen offers a higher degree of freedom when designing the wood. The bigger the piece, the higher its value due to workability and the presence of precious and semi-precious gems.

Let’s be realistic; there is nothing much you can do with a pebble-sized petrified wood. On the other hand, if you had a log-sized petrified wood, it could be used to make a number of different things. 

You can use it to make sculptures, tabletops, coats, and hat stands, etc.; considering all the possibilities, they can go for thousands of dollars. 


Geography has a lot to do with the rarity of petrified wood, or any other gem for that matter. Sometimes a gem might get discovered in a location where it has never been seen, adding to the value of the mineral.

The same is the case with petrified wood; it adds to its value if it is found in a place not commonly known for producing petrified wood. On top of that, if the place has sentimental values for someone like a place they cherish, then it also bids a higher price.


No matter how precious a gem might be, the hands of a true craftsman bring it to life. A polished piece of petrified wood goes for a higher value. The polishing process can be tricky with most gems, but petrified wood is really simple to polish

If the specimen is not large, you can use a rock tumbler to polish the petrified wood. You can also polish it by using a rotary polisher as well. 


Petrified wood usually has brittle nature and breaks quite easily. When exposed to oxygen for a longer period of time, the quality of the petrified wood decays. Petrified wood that has holes in it does not have much value. 

How to Identify Petrified Wood?

Identifying the type of wood is very important when trying to determine the value of petrified wood. Along with what type of mineral is present in petrified wood, there are also methods by which you can tell which wood was used to make that particular specimen. 

Knowing the type of wood can be very important as some types of petrified wood are more expensive and rarer than most. When it comes to determining the type of wood, there are three main criteria. 

Color of the Petrified Wood:

The color of the petrified wood allows geologists to determine the type of tree or wood that a sample of petrified wood generates from. The wood’s original color can be changed as minerals have a great impact on the colors as well.

Cell Structure:

When it comes to cell structure, the shape and the size of them present in the petrified wood tend to provide a lot of clues to geologists determining the original type of wood. Different types of wood have different cell structures, and by using these cell structures and shapes, one can distinguish between one type and the other.

Rings and Rays:

Different petrified wood forms different rays that radiate from the centre. These rays can be used to determine the type of plant used in the making of the petrified wood. If age rings are visible, one can also tell the age of the wood. 

Are Older Petrified Wood More Expensive?

Older Petrified Wood
Older Petrified Wood

Yes, older petrified wood specimens are more expensive than newer ones. The age of petrified wood is determined by using carbon dating technology. By utilizing this technique, scientists are able to determine the age of fossils.

Carbon dating can cost anywhere from a hundred dollars to five hundred dollars. If you have an interest in petrified wood and want to seal them, then learning different factors that determine the price of the petrified wood can be very helpful. 

How to Increase a Petrified Wood Value?

Looking for ways to increase the worth of petrified wood, then look no further. Obviously, if you have a large quantity of petrified wood and want to profit from it, doing a bit of extra work to enhance the petrified wood is a perfect choice.

Here are a few ways by which you can sell petrified wood at a higher price.

Cleaning the Petrified Wood:

The first step of making your petrified wood more expensive is by cleaning the specimen. A clean and presentable petrified wood fetches a higher price than a dirty one. When cleaning the petrified wood, make sure that you do not use any kind of chemical cleaner as they have the potential to damage the specimen.

Instead of using chemical cleaners, use a soft cloth dipped in warm water to clean the surface of the petrified wood to keep it clean from dust.

Carbon Dating:

Once you have thoroughly cleaned the petrified wood, have it appraised by a professional. It might seem like spending more money than making but trust me, and a professional review can make a big difference.

Carbon dating is used to check the age of carbon-based material, and in the world of gems, the older the gem is, the more it is worth. In most cases, an appraisal can be expensive, and you might end up losing money than making it. 

But if you are certain about your specimen, then getting it appraised should not be a problem.


Polishing a gem is a very easy way to bring out internal beauty as well as smooth the surface. Small pieces of petrified wood can easily be polished by using a rock tumbler. You can easily increase the worth of petrified wood with a simple yet effective polish. 

The polish removes the outer layer of the petrified wood and leaves behind a shiny surface. Not only that, it makes it easier to see the rays and layers of the petrified wood.


You can easily increase their worth by using them in jewellery or any other craft when it comes to gems. Just like any other gem, petrified wood can also be used in jewellery and other artistic projects. 

When working with petrified wood, keep in mind that petrified wood can not be treated as wood or as a stone. This makes the carving and artistic work difficult; keeping that in mind, crafted petrified wood sells for a higher price.


Unlike other gems, petrified wood is preferred to be in a larger size, so why break it. It is true that larger pieces of petrified rock do for a higher price, but you might not even b able to sell big chunks of it.

Considering the possibility that no potential buyer will invest in a larger piece, it is wise to break it into smaller pieces. So rather than sitting on a mountain of unsellable gold, it is wise to break it into smaller pieces and sell it.

If you present the smaller pieces just right, they might even go for thousands of dollars.


Presenting is very important when it comes to any kind of business. You can even sell rubbish for a fortune if you present it right. When working with petrified rock, present all the best qualities like the type of mineral, age, rarity, etc.

If you are selling your product online, then good photos from different angles and under different lighting conditions. A brief but effective description of the specimen can go a long way. If you are physically selling the product in a shop, then it means presenting the best material.

Not only that, make sure to make your product stand out among the rest and compel the customer that your product is the absolute best. You can also include enticing offers like free shipping or spending a certain amount and getting a gift.

Where to Buy or Sell Petrified Wood?

Buy or Sell Petrified Wood
Buy or Sell Petrified Wood

You can easily buy or sell petrified rocks online on sites like Amazon or eBay etc. If you have a shop, then it is all the better because online selling can become a bit of a challenge if the product weighs a lot. After all, the shipping can be expensive. 

If you are not interested in selling or buying from online sources, then you can check out your local sources like a gem shop. If you are selling petrified, rocks then make sure that you know all the rules about them.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is petrified wood fragile?

Petrified Wood is formed over millions of years of petrifications in which the wood material is turned into quartz crystals. Petrified wood is very brittle and breaks easily. Though it breaks easily at the same time, it is as hard as steel. 

How to identify petrified wood?

It is very easy to identify petrified wood. They often have smooth and curvy sections and mostly have brown and black colors. If the rock feels smooth and exhibits these colors, you are highly likely to have found petrified wood.


Many people have different hobbies to keep them busy. Just like them, there are people who like to collect petrified wood as a hobby. This is a non-profiting hobby in most cases, but if you treat the petrified wood just right, you can easily make money from this other inexpensive material.

In the above guide, we have mentioned all you need to know about petrified wood, identifying them, increasing their worth, and even selling them. If you are among the few people who want to sell or buy petrified wood, then this guide will be very helpful.

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