Indonesia has the largest deposit of petrified wood in the world, larger than Brazil, Arizona or even China. Indonesian Blue Petrified Wood is from ancient teak (hardwood) trees that turned to stone. The Blue Petrified Wood is from trees approximately 20 million years old. Minerals present in the mud and water prior to and during the petrification process leached into the wood giving it color.
Petrified Wood comes from the Greek root petro, which means rock or stone, with literal meaning ‘wood turned into stone’. It’s the name given to the fossilized remains of terrestrial vegetation.
Petrified Wood with Blue Opal was first found as pebbles and larger rounded stones in streams and near the slopes of three volcanoes in region of Indonesia’s Garut, West Java Province, nearly 300km away from Soekarno-Hatta airport. The source deposit was finally located on the steep slopes of Mt. Tjikolak almost 30 years ago, and going popular into public around 2017. What the miners actually found was an ancient petrified forest, which had been pushed over by the deluge of pyroclastic flow from a volcanic explosion. Then, over the ages, the wood was fossilized and preserved by opaline silica. In short explanation, all those fallen trees on the slope after the eruption of mountain, covered with other layers of the debris of thousands of years in the future.
It is first a gigantic flood that will uproot from this forest millions of trees. They will be dragged by a powerful river, over a very long distance. During this journey, branches and roots are quite often destroyed. Deposited in lagoons and flood plains, submerged under water, therefore sheltered from the air. In this anaerobic environment the trees will not rot.
Secondly, a volcanic eruption, ejecting not lava, but ash, covering them with a layer of up to 800 meters. Diluted in water with other sediments and mineral components, this "soup" begins to slowly penetrate these trunks.
Depending on their porosity, this mixture of ash and sediments penetrates them in varying amounts, at varying depths, making use of the vascular tissues made up of hollow cells allowing the sap to flow through. Amongst the resinous trees, these vessels are tracheids which are linked to parenchyma, fundamental tissue contributing to the efficient flow of nutrients.
Fossilised trees therefore no longer contain wood, but are now made up of Micro crystalline quartz hydrates. This phenomenon is called silicification, calcedonisation or opalisation. A few cavities are even filled with agate, amethyst or citrine. It is then a Pseudomorphosis.
Earthquakes broke them into logs of around 1metre long. Whilst exposed to the elements, their surface starts to crack, the percolated fluids and the roots distort them, the air oxides their colours. Those on the surface eventually become sand (arenisation) over a variable period. Those trunks still submerged remain protected. Erosion (wind and rain) reveals the hidden trees during the Triassic period.
The journey of each tree, the state of each trunk, their story is unique, which is what explains how their colours can be so different, even between two trunks found very close to each other on one site. The chemical components carried by the water mixed to ash, a sedimentary matter solution, gave them their colour, in several stages. Iron for example was first to filter into the tree, which produced the reds (rust). Manganese (purple) and copper (bleu) filtered in much later into the denser parts.
A dense tropical forest, made up of palm trees and everything else, covers the Indonesian volcanic chain from Sumatra in Bali, to the west of Java. From time to time, the volcanoes became active. The force of the eruption was such that surrounding forests were uprooted. A thick layer of burning volcanic ash covered them. The nearest trees were consumed, those insufficiently covered rotted away. But those between these two extremes benefited from ideal conditions. They became naturally sterilised by the heat which destroyed bacteria normally found in decay.
The silica found in volcanic ash became dissolved in the percolation fluids. It gradually replaced the wood, molecule after molecule, by minerals such as quartz, agate or marble, hence preserving the shape of the trees and even their cells. Petrified trees are sometimes found in streams, but the most beautiful pieces are found buried several metres deep.
Elements such as copper, iron, and manganese in the mud or water during the process of petrifaction give Petrified Wood its various colors. Quartz Crystals are colorless, but when contaminants are included, the Quartz Crystals also take on different colors, such as red, yellow, green, blue, pink, orange, black, and brown. All the organic materials of the tree have been replaced with silicate minerals, usually a quartz, while maintaining the wood’s original structure.
Unlike other kinds of fossils that are compressions or impressions, Petrified Wood is a three-dimensional representation of the original organic material. The petrifaction process happens underground, when wood starts to get covered by sediments. It’s preserved at first due to lack of oxygen. Mineral-rich water that’s flowing through the sediments deposits minerals in the tree’s cells. As the tree’s lignin and cellulose start to decay, a stone mold also begins to form.
It takes approximately a hundred years to petrify. Organic material needs to become petrified first before it completely decomposes. The water in that silica was very rich in dissolved copper, iron, and manganese. Those copper and manganese deposits are now found inside this blue opal. The opalized brownish color on the outside of the stones is obviously petrified wood, but magic is inside. The lush, rich blue is feathered with manganese and native copper dendrites, some which look like snowflakes or feathers.
From strong and dynamic earth tones to gentle pastels, Blue Petrified Wood is found in so many colors that form so many interesting patterns, and the patterns are what always catch my attention. This newly introduced stone, with its soft blues, opal, and copper, is no exception, and was a huge hit at this year’s Tucson shows. In many of these stones I see snowy mountains against a dusky, periwinkle sky broken by the dark lines of trees, while the glimmer of copper looks like the town below the peaks. Yet the same log also yields a lovely tan, blue, and white beach scene.
When it comes to physical healing, Blue Petrified Wood can be beneficial to the skeletal system when paired with Spirit Quartz. It can also improve skin conditions and bring back the shine and luster to the hair. Petrified Wood is also said to help with arthritis, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer’s. It can also help with cellular damage brought about by radioactive or chemical pollution.
Blue Petrified Wood carries the vibrational energy of the past and ancient times and shows you how to connect to the Earth’s physicality and the third dimension. My Final Thoughts on the Power of Petrified Wood is excellent for working with earth and wood energies because this stone merged together in this same natural formation. Many people use Petrified Wood because of its ancient energies that will help with past-life work.
It was once an ancient, living, breathing tree that has fossilized over thousands of years. If you live in the city, keep Blue Petrified Wood in your home to have the vibration of nature close by. It’s a great way for city dwellers to keep the vibrations of nature near in the concrete jungle. An Unusual Fact About the Petrified Wood Birthstone in mythological times, Petrified Wood was believed to possess divine power. To this day, it stands as a symbol of man’s genuine connection to the natural world.
So many other gorgeous petrified wood gemstone varieties are available to us now–some on a very limited basis. Every day it is getting harder to find gem-quality petrified wood cabs. By using these gemstones, these fragments of the ancient world in our work, we bring a bit of history and mystery into our 21st-century creations. It makes the work of Indonesian Blue Petrified Wood very different, collectable, and cherished.