Coming across unique business and profit opportunities is always exciting and worth exploring. One such opportunity has recently come in the form of the so-called petrified wood. And, chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re also looking for ways to cash in on some petrified wood as well. 

Now, because this type of wood, or tree, is considered to be a fossil and selling/buying it does raise some ethical questions, we’ve decided to tackle the worth of petrified wood in the best interest of that buying/selling, as well as emphasize the importance of ethical consideration when dealing with lucrative opportunities that might intertwine with natural heritage and sustainability. 

Therefore, in the following paragraphs, we’ll go through all of the potentially lucrative opportunities, the current market value of petrified wood, and some other considerations you should know about. So, without further ado, let’s get right into it!

Petrified Wood Overview

What Is Petrified Wood?

Just by clicking on this article, you probably know a lot about petrified wood already. But, for our unfamiliar readers, we’d like to provide a brief explanation (just so it is easier to follow the rest of the text).

As we previously mentioned, petrified wood is a fossil. But, what does this mean exactly? Well, this type of wood, or tree as many refer to it, is formed when plant material is buried by sediment, and thanks to oxygen and various organisms, it is protected as such from decay for a rather long time. Thanks to groundwater, which flows through the sediment, the original plant material is then replaced with silica, calcite, and pyrite. Sometimes, there can be other, inorganic materials, such as opal. So, in theory, petrified wood isn’t wood at all; it is actually a form of stone.

As a result of this intriguing process, we get a woody material that often resembles bark or wood in general, but it is more stone-like. Currently, petrified wood is observed in the Petrified Forest National Park in northeastern Arizona. It is the perfect observation spot since the Arizona area is believed to have been a lowland, covered by a dense forest. Combined with a tropical climate, it creates an exceptional spot for petrified wood formation, over the course of millions of years. 

Is Petrified Wood Really Worth Anything - What Is Petrified Wood

Why Do We Collect Petrified Wood? – Is It Legal?

Petrified wood is incredible, both in its origin as well as in appearance. As such, it is often targeted by fossil collectors for various purposes. Some simply enjoy its magnificence for what it is, while others utilize it for woodwork, furniture making, or even simply for display. 

Now, considering the fact that petrified wood is a fossil, and often found in limited, government-regulated areas, one cannot help but ask themselves; is this legal?

Well, collecting petrified wood can only be done in a controlled manner; this mean, it can only be done when allowed by the government, or the landowner (since some petrified wood sites are located on private property). There are limited government-regulated areas where people can collect petrified wood for personal use as well. Nevertheless, collecting petrified wood requires obtaining permission from a government agency or the owner of the private property.

There have been many cases of illegal collection of petrified wood, which has raised the question of the legal aspects of fossil collecting, as well as rock and mineral collecting. Many emphasize the geological and paleontological significance of petrified wood and fight that personal use of such well-preserved insight into the way nature works (for millions of years) shouldn’t be wasted on a kitchen table or a set of chairs. Ethical considerations are always important, hence our intent to raise awareness that just because something might be available for buying or selling, doesn’t mean it should be. 

Petrified Wood Value

When it comes to the value of petrified wood, it is ‘measured’ per pound of the wood. With this in mind, petrified wood is usually sold for anywhere between 2 USD and 10 USD per pound, at the highest. The 10 USD per pound is usually reserved for highly rare and unique petrified wood kinds. Nevertheless, depending on the market, some people might get an even bigger bang for their buck should they be in possession of incredibly rare examples of petrified wood.

Now, it is important to mention that there are different types of petrified wood, and the estimated value isn’t the same across the spectrum. So, let’s take a quick look at the individual estimated value;

Texas Petrified Wood

Is Petrified Wood Really Worth Anything - Texas Petrified Wood

General estimated value is between 0.25 USD, up to 2.50 USD per pound, depending on the size, color, wood pattern, etc. This is an estimate for unpolished petrified wood. Should it be sold polished, the value would increase up to 3 USD per pound.

Arizona Petrified Wood

Is Petrified Wood Really Worth Anything - Arizona Petrified Wood

General estimate value for Arizona petrified wood is the same as for Texas petrified wood. The estimated value for unpolished Arizona wood is around 2.50 USD at its highest, per pound, while the highest price for polished Arizona wood reaches 3 USD per pound.

Petrified Palm Wood

Is Petrified Wood Really Worth Anything - Petrified Palm Wood

This is the cheapest  petrified wood; it usually goes for up to 1.75 USD per pound, for unpolished wood. If polished, the price can reach 2.50 USD per pound, at its highest.

On its own, petrified wood can be rather costly, considering that some specimens reach from 2.50 USD to 10 USD per pound. But, pieces made from petrified wood often follow this high value, so the price tag reaches thousands of dollars as well. For example, a petrified wood table (30” White Pine Table), can reach the price of 6,000 USD. A slightly bigger table, made from Washington Petrified Wood, can reach the price of 10,000 USD

How Is The Value Determined?

Determining the value of petrified wood involves a comprehensive evaluation of several factors that contribute to its desirability and rarity. While there is no standardized method for pricing petrified wood, the following elements are typically considered when assessing its value:

  • Quality of Preservation – The degree of preservation plays a crucial role in determining the value of petrified wood. Well-preserved petrified wood with intact cell structures, intricate details, and minimal deterioration generally commands higher prices. Petrified wood that exhibits clear growth rings, bark textures, and other organic features is particularly sought after.
  • Size – The size of the petrified wood is a significant factor in assessing its value. Larger pieces often garner higher prices due to their visual impact and potential for use in large-scale artistic creations or furniture.
  • Coloration – The coloration of the petrified wood can greatly influence its value. Vibrant and diverse colors, such as rich reds, vivid blues, or striking yellows, are highly prized. The presence of contrasting color patterns or variations within a single piece can significantly enhance its desirability and value.
  • Polish – The value of petrified wood can, and usually is determined by whether the specimen is polished or not. As previously mentioned, unpolished petrified wood costs significantly less, per pound, than polished specimen. Simply polishing the wood to reveal the color, patterns, and grain detail can increase the value significantly.
  • Rarity – The rarity of a particular type of petrified wood contributes to its market value. Petrified wood from unique or renowned fossil beds, rare geological formations, or historically significant locations is generally more sought after. The scarcity of a specific type or pattern within the petrified wood also adds to its rarity and value.
  • Unique Characteristics – Petrified wood that possesses distinctive characteristics or features can command higher prices. This includes the presence of rare minerals, fossilized inclusions (such as insects or plant remnants), or unusual patterns, which make the piece stand out from others.
  • Provenance – The provenance (history of ownership) or documented history of the petrified wood can also influence its value. Specimens with well-documented origins, particularly from notable collectors, renowned sites, or historical collections, may carry a higher premium due to their historical or cultural significance.
  • Market Demand – Ultimately, the value of petrified wood is determined by the forces of supply and demand in the market. The interest and demand from collectors, museums, and the general public for unique and high-quality petrified wood specimens influence their prices.

Final Thoughts

 Petrified wood holds immense value on multiple levels. Scientifically, it provides valuable insights into Earth’s ancient ecosystems and contributes to our understanding of evolutionary processes. Its breathtaking beauty and intricate patterns make it highly sought after for artistic and decorative purposes, adding a touch of natural elegance to any space.

Commercially, the rarity and uniqueness of petrified wood drive its market value, attracting collectors and museums alike. However, it is essential to approach the buy/sell process of petrified wood responsibly. Of course, adhering to ethical guidelines and sustainable sourcing practices to preserve its natural heritage and ensure its availability for future generations is a must. 

That is why we haven’t included any guidelines regarding potential online sources and locations where one can potentially buy petrified wood. For that information, you will have to contact your local government and seek permission. 

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