Thursday, 2 December 2010

Paired up

I got in a load of one our best sellers in time for Christmas. The ammonites from Majunga (or Mahajanga) in Madagascar are beautiful. The one to the left has been cut in half and the flat surfaces polished, but you can also get them polished on the outside, which shows the intricate suture pattern (below) off to best effect. From some layers the ammonites can be left as they are, when an opalescent layer within the shell shows a rainbow of colour. We sell a lot of these. While - generally speaking - the geologists tend to go for the rough, unpolished stuff, the polished ammonites are just appealing as objects, as decorative... things. Pretty things have a broad appeal.

The chambers of the ammonites shell have mostly been filled in with honey and amber coloured calcite crystals, the green/grey sediment the shells were deposited in, and sometimes the reddish polishing powder used in preparation. The combination of colours in the spiral pattern varies, and people go for different effects - some prefer an even colour throughout, some go for a mixture.

Most commonly, the site produces Cleoniceras cleon, Phylloceras inflatum and Douvilleiceras mammillatum, but there are also nautilus - Cymatoceras sakalavus - found there, like the one on the front page of the shop site. I've seen some huge examples, over a metre across, but mostly those have been cobbled together from pieces of a number of specimens. Usually, the biggest I have in stock are around 22cm across, and those are impressive enough.

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