Friday, September 18, 2020

Petrified Wood

Ironstone Vineyard's Heritage Museum now features and outstanding collection of petrified wood.

Visit free of charge, the collection is located just outside the Heritage Museum & Gift Shoppe.


M.P. Hunerlach, 2016

Which minerals produce the colors found in the petrified wood?

Red and Pink colors are produced by the presence of hematite, a form of oxidized iron - Fe2O3. The intensity of the color depends on the quantity of hematite present in the petrified wood.

Ø  Process: Iron dissolves in ground water when no oxygen is present. The ground water becomes re-oxygenated as it moves though the tree trunks causing oxygen to bond with the iron. The iron then precipitates to produce a solid form of iron called hematite. This hematite is incorporated into the log's cell walls. The same process occurs when iron stains porcelain sinks. The soluble iron in ground water becomes oxidized into a solid form when it comes in contact with air, causing a reddish stain.

Yellow, Brown and Orange colors are produced by the presence of goethite - HFeO2 and Fe2O3. Goethite is a hydrated iron oxide that is derived by weathering from iron bearing minerals. It crystallizes into tablets, scales, needles, radial and concentric aggregates.

Green colored petrified wood is produced by pure reduced iron that is a magnetic, malleable mineral. The chemical composition is Fe. Referred to as native iron, it is quite rare in terrestrial rocks but common in meteorites. Native iron combines with chlorophyll to give tree leaves and plants their green colors but rarely attaches to wood cells.

White is produced by pure silica - SiO2. Since silicon, Si, and oxygen, O, are the two most abundant elements in the earth's crust. Silica group minerals are common worldwide. Free silica, SiO2, referred to scientifically as silicon dioxide, occurs most commonly as quartz. Quartz is the principal element of glass. In many respects quartz is the most interesting of all minerals. It has a larger number of distinct varieties with wider differences than any other mineral. Petrified wood, also referred to as silicified wood, is a common illustration of a quartz pseudomorph - wood is slowly replaced, cell by cell, by silica, until not a trace of the original material remains.

Ø  Process: The structural arrangement of silicon and oxygen creates an open bonding structure that permits other ions such as various forms of iron to occupy interstitial positions in the molecule and bond to it, thus producing variations in color.

Organic carbon or pyrite - FeS2 (iron sulfide), the most abundant and widespread sulfide mineral, produces Black. Because it was mistaken for gold it is often called "fool's gold." Pyrite, translated freely, means "fire mineral", a reference to the sparks given off when struck.

Ø  Process: The wood was affected as hydrogen sulfide from decaying organic matter interacted with iron forming pyrite.

Purple and Blue are produced by manganese dioxide - MnO2. This is a secondary material formed when water leaches manganese from igneous rock and re-deposits it as a concentration of manganese dioxide. As a result, it occurs more often as coatings on other minerals than as large crystals. Manganese is very important in the manufacture of steel.

Tan indicates silica dioxide is the predominate replacement mineral. This color is most often seen in permineralized wood. In permineralization, the wood's cell structure is better preserved, giving it the appearance of real wood. It should be noted that not all petrified wood is permineralized. Permineralization also transpires when wood is preserved with calcite rather than silica.  

Ø  How the very fine detail of the cell structure is preserved is not well understood. It would appear that less than cell sized gradients in acidity created very small re-precipitation gradients, replacing the wood on almost an atom by atom basis.

Good Information on the Formation of petrified Wood:



Monday, September 14, 2020

Cuff Links for the Sportsman

Crafted for the avid Sportsman, Designer Chris Chaney has created the Winchester line of fine jewelry.  Officially Licensed by Winchester, an icon of the Gold Rush Era, each of these pieces speaks fine craftsmanship and an eye to detail.
This particular pair of cuff links is cast from a 12 guage bullet end in 14k yellow gold fitted with a genuine diamond center. Total weight of the 2 diamonds is 0.40 cttw.  We only have one pair available originally offered at $2995.00. Now through November, we are marking this piece 25% off. There is only one left, so do call soon to make it yours.

For those of you who prefer Sterling Silver, we do have this same style available cast in Sterling Silver with no diamonds listed at $199.00. Stop by and check them out.

In addition to the cuff links, the Winchester line features pendants and earrings. Stay tuned for more on these fun pieces.

Moving into the holidays, put your best foot forward with these eye catching pieces.  

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Vintage Coins now available

Ironstone Heritage Jewelry Shoppe now has a nice collection of vintage coins available for sale.  Stashed away for several years this collection originally came in as part of an auction lot that Mr. Kautz, Ironstone owner, purchased.  He had his eye on a few vintage tokens for the Museum section which were immediately put on display.  The rest of the lot has remained boxed up and stashed in a corner till #CoronaCleaning brought it back to the surface.  If you are looking for anything specific, drop us an email here at Ironstone and we will get back to you.   In the meantime, enjoy.

Most of the coins are US coins, some quite old and many more recent.  All in very good condition. 

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Meet Australian Gold Nugget "Fair Dinkum"

"Fair Dinkum" is a nugget found in Australia in 2014. As the story goes, seasoned prospector Mick Brown was a couple of weeks into giving up smoking and was getting grumpy so his wife told him to leave the house for some fresh air.

Six inches beneath the surface, Mr. Brown hit the top of a gold nugget with his detector. "I thought bugger me, it is, it's bloody gold", Mr. Brown said. "I just dug it up, 87 ounces of the good stuff".

The name "Fair dinkum" came about as people left its weight and said, "fair dinkum this is huge".

Mr. Brown finds his nugget quite attractive and says it has "good grooves and moves".  He thought is was silly to be secretive about his nugget and thought it better to let people have a hold. "What am I supposed to do, 'yeah I've found a nugget but you can't look at it'", he said. "It's cool and it's given everyone a good little rev up."

As a result, many replicas have been created to give everyone a chance to see what a great nugget it is.

Come out to Ironstone's Heritage Jewelry Shoppe and take a look at one of Mr. Brown's exact replicas.

Truly as beautiful as Mr. Brown declares.