We come across petrified wood in many different types of colors. What about the colors of petrified wood ? Are these caused by the type of wood or is there another story behind it?

What is petrified wood?

Petrified wood is actually a fossil imprint of the tree that has slowly decayed in an enclosed environment. Over the centuries, minerals have been dissolved in water at the site of the tree. These minerals slowly take the place of the tree as it slowly breaks down.

How does petrified wood get its color?

As said before, you actually have a fossil imprint of the tree, not the tree itself! The colors are therefore not caused by the type of wood, but by the minerals that have come to the place of the tree. Quartz is mainly needed for the petrification process. Quartz dissolves in hot, thermal water and settles in the places in the wood where there is space. Quartz is colorless by itself, but it easily combines with other minerals. We see this a lot in the petrified wood. The petrified wood colors in these places.

What types of petrified wood colors are there?

White/grey, quartz with silica, is the most common color. Another common color is black. For the people who have been paying attention with biology, this is easily explained. A plant and tree performs photosynthesis, in which they extract carbon from the air. Carbon is black in itself, which explains the heavy color. Other colors really come from the minerals in the soil and provide, among other things, the colors red, brown and green / blue.

Which minerals provide the colors of petrified wood?

I actually already gave away the first two colors, namely white and black.
To give a clear picture of the colors, I have listed the colors and minerals below.
White/Grey - Silica
Black - Carbon, Manganese Oxide
Green/blue - Cobalt, Chrome or Copper
Yellow, Brown, Red - Iron Oxide
Pink/orange - Manganese

Curious about our petrified wood products?

View a few here, or view our entire collection!