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RARE AGATIZED CORAL WITH PRESERVED INTERNAL STRUCTURES

Withlacoochee River - Florida, USA

OLIGOCENE PERIOD :  38 million years ago

Agatized fossil coral is highly prized by not only fossil collectors, but by gem and mineral collectors, as well.  Large exquisite forms from Florida are especially in demand as the state produces some of the finest examples of this geological oddity in the entire world.  This remarkable specimen is VERY rare and unlike most that are found with amorphic, crystalline or random globular structure, this large example has a botryoidal (globular) preservation of the scattered internal chambers of the original coral head.  Of all typical agatized coral examples found ANYWHERE in the world, RARELY will you ever encounter agatized coral with structures as shown above.

If you know agatized coral, you will immediately see the rarity and exceptionally unique beauty to this museum-grade specimen.  This is a fully agatized section of a large fossil coral colony where the linear internal chambers that once housed the animals have been amazingly converted to the finest gem-grade amber red chalcedony.  If you were to cut up this superb specimen for high-dollar designer jewelry cabochons, you would net far more than we are offering this specimen for as a whole.  We rarely come across such a gorgeous and unique specimen such as this with the internal chambers preserved in this glossy and highly translucent agate form.  The rich color is stunning as is the detail.  While most agatized coral specimen are rather small in comparison, this is a large and intact example.   Absolutely NO DYEING, NO REPAIR and NO RESTORATION.  

Agate, also known as chalcedony, is a type of cryptocrystalline quartz (SiO2).  Under unique geological conditions, prehistoric corals and mollusks can fossilize by being replaced with agate from silica-rich ground water percolating through limestone.   The Florida Legislature designated agatized coral as the Florida State Stone in 1979.  The statute describes it as “a chalcedony pseudomorph after coral, appearing as limestone geodes lined with botryoidal agate or quartz crystals and drusy quartz fingers, indigenous to Florida."  Agatized coral occurs in a variety of colors, typically gray, brown, black, yellow, white, and on rare occasion red.  The majority of Florida’s agatized coral formed in Oligocene-Miocene Hawthorn Group sediments.  Fossil agatized coral is occasionally dredged up in the Tampa and Clearwater areas but also occurs in limestones along the Econfina, Withlachoochee and Suwannee Rivers.

Fossil corals were simple marine invertebrates that possessed a sac-like body called a polyp with a mouth and tentacles.  As carnivores, they would immobilize or kill their prey with their stinging tentacles then swallow their prey and later expel the wastes through the same mouth.  They formed a dense outer skeleton of calcium carbonate which, when living in large colonies of thousands of cloned individuals, formed a massive structure.  The complex folds in their stomach cavity can be seen in the wondrous detail left behind in their skeletons.  Modern corals today share a symbiotic relationship with algae that covers their body tissue.  The algae supplement the coral with oxygen which most likely was the case in prehistoric times, as well.

Prehistoric corals are believed to have thrived in the same environments that modern corals prefer - clean, warm oceans of normal salinity levels.  Solitary corals were present in oceans of soft, muddy bottoms while horn corals and colonial corals preferred hard sea floors to attach themselves.   

BIZARRE AND HIGHLY RARE INTERNAL STRUCTURES IN STUNNING GEM-GRADE AMBER RED CHALCEDONY!

6.5" x 3.6"

SOLD     COR-003     Actual Item - One Only

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