The BoneMasters

WHAT IS AGATIZED DINOSAUR BONE?


Morrison Formation
4 foot bone weathered into hundreds of pieces in center foreground

Dinosaur fossils are found throughout the world. In order to have survived, they had to be petrified to span the 65,000,000 to 230,000,000 years since they were laid down. This process is not entirely understood, but the principals have been fairly well established. After an animal dies, the organic bone must be covered by means such such as volcanic ash, volcanic lava flow, volcanic mud-flows, sediments in lakes and swamps, mud/silt/clays washed in by floods, landslides, etc. Once buried in an environment where oxygen has been excluded, preventing decay, petrification occurs by the replacement, recrystallization or permineralization of the original organic material. Replacement fossils are formed when ground water first dissolves out the tissue and then leaves minerals in their place. Recrystallization occurs when a solution or precipitate changes the internal physical structure, usually the microstructure, of an object. The composition of the mineral does not change, only the crystal structure. Permineralization occurs when ground water percolates through the remains of the organism and leaves behind minerals in the open pores, cavities, and cellular spaces. In almost every case, ground water is the agent that causes petrification and silica and calcite are the main replacing minerals. Over time, several of these processes may take place within a single fossil.

Permineralization is the most common type of petrification observed with fossil bone. Even when petrification due to replacement or recrystallization has occurred, there is almost invariably evidence that permineralization occurred first (indicated by the preservation of the original cavities in the bone). Most bone, as a guess 95-99%, is petrified with calcite.

Fossils that are characterized by multiple petrification processes are sometimes identified as pseudomorphs. Pseudomorphs are mineral specimens where a mineral has taken the form of a previously deposited mineral. Simple sounding, but the processes are diverse and elaborate. Some are created when a second mineral grows over another, then the original dissolves away. Some are replaced molecule by molecule, or atom by atom, until the second mineral has the exact shape of the original mineral. Sometimes a mold is made of the first mineral by a second mineral growing over it, then the original dissolves, then a third mineral fills the void, and finally the second mineral dissolves.

An infiltration or substitution pseudomorph is a pseudomorph in which one mineral is replaced by another. The original shape of the mineral remains unchanged, but color, hardness, and other properties change to those of the replacing mineral. A common and well-known example of this process (also called substitution) is the replacement of wood by silica (quartz or opal) to form petrified wood in which the substitution may be so perfect as to retain the original cellular structure of the wood. This process left us the beautiful petrified forests of Arizona. 

Agatized Dinosaur Bone is a rare form of fossilized dinosaur bone where the original fossilized bone (typically permineralized with calcite) has been re-mineralized (replaced/substituted) with silica-type compounds (agate, jasper, chalcedony, or opal). In a unique and isolated circumstance, the strata on the Colorado Plateau were uplifted during the tertiary intrusions, about 35,000,000 years ago, when the San Rafael Swell and the La Sals, Henry, and Abajo Mountains were formed. As these lacolithic structures were forming, local strata layers were flooded with silica-rich, superheated groundwater. This aqueous intrusion provided the appropriate environment to begin the replacement of the calcite in the original fossils with silicates. Technically, this is known as "chalcedony pseudomorphs after bone". The most prolific layers of gem bone come from the Morrison Formation, identifying the remains as late Jurassic, dated from 146 to 156,000,000 years ago. This means that the agatized bone was created over 100,000,000 years after the dinosaur died and was buried. 


COLOR DIVERSITY

The building block of agatized bone (silica oxide) is the same material that is used to make quartz and glass. It is this glassy nature and a spectrum of natural colors that characterizes agatized dinosaur bone. As is typical of true fossils, the original structural detail of the bone is perfectly preserved. Solutions of silica dissolved in ground water infiltrated the buried bone and through a complex chemical process are precipitated and left in the individual bone cells. Here the silica may take a variety of forms; it may be agate, jasper, chalcedony, opal, etc. The beautiful and varied colors of agatized bone are caused by the presence of other minerals that enter the bone in solution with the silica.

Iron oxide (usually in the form of hematite) stains the bone orange, rust, red, pink, or yellow. The intensity of the color depends on the quantity of hematite present. The iron dissolves in ground water when no oxygen is present. The ground water becomes re-oxygenated as it moves though the fossil layers 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 fossil'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, 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 bone is produced by pure reduced iron that is a magnetic, malleable mineral. Referred to as native iron, it is quite rare in terrestrial rocks but common in meteorites. 

White is produced by pure silica. Since silicon and oxygen are the two most abundant elements in the earth's crust, silica group minerals are common worldwide. Free silica, referred to scientifically as silicon dioxide, occurs most commonly as quartz. 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 bone (or wood), also referred to as silicified bone, is a common illustration of a quartz pseudomorph. The bone is slowly replaced, cell by cell, by silica, until not a trace of the original material remains. 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 (iron sulfide), the most abundant and widespread sulfide mineral, produces black. The bone was affected as hydrogen sulfide from decaying organic matter interacted with iron forming pyrite.

Purple, blue, and black are produced by manganese dioxide. 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. 

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. 

How the very fine detail of the bone 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 bone on almost an atom by atom basis. 

Although the range of colors in agatized dinosaur bone is virtually infinite, this does not mean that all colors are readily available. In fact, it is rare to find two colors exactly identical. Most colors found in agatized bone, on the order of 95%, are darker earth tones such as browns, grays, beiges and tans. The remaining 5% include the reds, yellows, oranges, blues, greens and whites. Spider-web material is typically dark (blue-black) in color, but there are some spectacular (and rare) exceptions. Often, agatized bone exhibits a mixture of colors. Unfortunately, most of the material found has stains, muted colors, or poor color development. This type of material is not included in the BoneMasters work. Of the brighter colors, reds are the most common. Blues, yellows, greens, and white are very scarce. All art and jewelry are made from the finest quality material.

Most of the finest material comes from the inner portion of a dinosaur bone. This is the part of the bone that resembles a sponge and is known as cancellous material. The lacy pattern (similar to a common kitchen sponge) is the trebecular structure which gives the bone strength. Frequently, especially in the specimen pieces, the structure can be seen in various levels of organization, ranging from layered growth rings on the outer part of the bone to the cancellous, blood producing regions in the interior. No quality specimen is ever destroyed to obtain the gemstone material inside. I do not collect dinosaur bone (which is illegal on State and Federal lands) but rather purchase it from long established dealers. Most of the dinosaur bone available is in broken blocks and chunks. Often (due to erosion, weathering, the process of deposition and poor collection techniques), these pieces are not associated with the rest of the dinosaur and are of little value to the paleontologist.

Most of the dinosaur bone found is badly fractured, probably greater than 99%. Surface exposures are generally in areas of uplift, which is associated with tremendous pressure and stress. This, combined with the brittle, glass-like nature of agatized bone, results in the shattering of material. I will work around fracture areas to produce fracture free jewelry. Micro fractures are common in specimens, but they do not affect the structural integrity or the aesthetics of the piece. Any specimens in which the nature of the fractures detract from an otherwise attractive finished product will not be offered on this site.


METAPHYSICAL PROPERTIES

As a group, the BoneMasters are not big proponents of the metaphysical properties of stones or dinosaur bone. However, that being said, we are all in awe of this incredible material or we would not spend our lives working with it. Personally, when I am working with a stone on the grinding wheel, there is a much more intimate relationship that develops. I am looking at the stone constantly through magnified glasses. I see detail very few take the time to observe. I think of this beautiful stone as a once mighty animal that roamed the country where I live. I feel the stone changing and developing as I work it. It does not become "alive", but there is absolutely no doubt that I experience times of palpable energy emanating from the piece. Eventually, I "see" the perfect form that I am trying to achieve as it grows out of the bone. Sadly, perfection is rarely achieved, but it is always striven for.

For those who are interested in the metaphysics, I have collected a number of different assessments from other believers over the years. I will list several of these, so if there is redundancy or conflict, it is because the source is from different perspectives.

Petrified dinosaur bone increases energy and memory. It has ties with the deep past, and this makes it an excellent stone for past life work.  Dinosaur bone is also wonderful for calming anxiety, in particular survival anxieties. It helps, too, with communication and ability to understand communications. Physically, dinosaur bone is used for the healing of paralysis, broken bones, hearing, vigor, and regulation of body temperature.

In her book, Love Is In The Earth, Melody states that "use of the dinosaur bone can help to diminish the barriers separating the ancient ones and their inherent knowledge from the modern representatives of the human kingdom. It can open avenues of communication and insight, assisting one in understanding the earth changes, the role of evolution, and the issues of dominance and endurance in all situations. It stimulates the adventuresome nature, helping one to proceed from one point to another with both the faith and the strength to understand and to attain the ultimate value of a situation. The dinosaur bone has been used to facilitate mind travel, providing a stabilizing force to ground the user while allowing the mind to wander toward a pre-set goal. Enhances telepathic communication between this present reality and the prior worlds, as well as the current other worlds. Heightens and supplements your accomplishments in the business realm and instills quality and excellence within your environment. Helps you dispense with old programming and schedules, and to be open to, and perceptive of, fresh innovative forces which are available. Stimulates the orderly growth of tissues within the body."

Dinosaur bone contains all the metaphysical attributes of fossils in general, plus many of its own.  In agatized dinosaur bone, the lines, patterning, and webbing that are so intricate and so colorful are caused by Agate that has replaced the cell structure inside the bone -- so it also has all the attributes of Agate as well. It opens avenues of communication and insight, and helps us to alter overall responses so that they are more spontaneous and instinctive. Bone vibrates to the number 2 and is associated with all the astrological signs, most predominantly Aries. Regarding the agate attributes, each specific type of agate has its own particular energies; however, all agate possesses the following qualities. Agate arranges for the balancing of ying-yang energy and for the balancing of the physical, emotional, and intellectual bodies with the etheric energies. While stabilizing the aura, agate gives a cleansing effect to smooth any dysfunctional energies, and to transform and eliminate negativity. Agate has been used to activate analytical capabilities and precision. Some have used agate to strengthen the sight, to diminish thirst, and to promote marital fidelity. In ancient times, agates would be placed in water for use in cooking and/or for drinking in order to dispel sickness. Agate vibrates to the number 7 and is associated with all of the astrological signs, most predominantly Gemini. (Most of this information is paraphrased from the publication /book series "Love Is In The Earth" by Melody and/or "The Crystalline Transmission" by Katrina Raphaell.)

Dinosaur bone increases mental and physical energy. It is particularly useful in solving depression and calming fears and to help its wearer find the true and real love.  Calms anxiety and basic fears about survival. Can be used for past life regressions because of its inherent link with the past. Aids memory and physical energy.

Eileen Nauman, author of Medical Astrology, evaluates gemstones in a number of ways. First, it must fall into one of several categories (Heart Stone, Grounding Stone, Guard Dog Stone, High Energy Stone, Trauma Stone, Mental Stone, Stress Stone, Luck Stone, Psychic Stone, Money Stone, Arthritis Stone, and Master Healer Stone). Dinosaur bone is identified as a Creativity Stone and Heart Stone. As a Grounding Stone, fossilized dinosaur bone has the ability to draw the person's astral body back into their physical body. Many people nowadays are "hanging out of their body" for any number of reasons. In this condition, people become "spacey", forgetful, late for appointments, and worse, they have no desire to do anything. They lack discipline, organization, and rarely complete what they start. A Grounding Stone may help by drawing the roots from the Root Chakra down through the person's legs, through their feet to once more ground them into the earth. their astral body is "locked" into their physical form completely. This results in discipline, organization, and the ability to finish what one starts. Otherwise, if ungrounded, a person will wander and float aimlessly through life, accomplishing very little. Dinosaur bone is about our Root Chakra, which is about our family, our heritage, our genetics, and even going back so far that there is no memory of ourselves. A healthy Root Chakra is about having a good sense of survival. Otherwise, one may end up giving their life blood energy away to another or to unhealthy situations until their health has been badly wounded. But the dinosaurs remember. Wearing their bones is a reminder that our roots go back to the dawn of time. This is more important than people realize. What we come from, we are. Understanding our past is an opportunity not to make the same mistakes in the present or future. Most of all, dinosaur bones catalyze and are connected to our sense of survival. Regarding survival, the earth is far out of balance today due to the inherent nature of man dominating woman, i.e., the earth is running only on masculine energy. A good sense of survival is absolutely necessary. There is a time and need to take care of others, but not at the expense of your life blood energy. Dinosaur bones remember survival, which is transferred energetically to the wearer, so that the wearer knows where the healthy boundary is so that they can survive and not be taken down by a care-giving situation. Without going into the myriad ways the agate in agatized dinosaur bone expresses itself, suffice it to say here that agate is a protective stone providing the inner confidence one needs to face the challenges of life. In summary, dinosaur bones provide a protective and survival energy and the combined effect of agatized dinosaur bone yields a double dose of protection linked with survival instincts.

A final entry here is provided by Ravenia. Metaphysically, dinosaur bone is known as The Stone of Earth Changes and Evolution. It helps us to realize that Change is a necessary event for Evolution to occur, and that in one form or another, we will all survive intact. Energy cannot be destroyed, though it can change form endlessly. this is one of the lessons of Fossilized Dinosaur Bone. Fossilized Dinosaur Bone vibrates to the number "2" and is associated with Aries and Capricorn. 




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