What is the Difference Between Driftwood and Petrified Wood?

What is the Difference Between Driftwood and Petrified Wood

When you are not an expert, it can be difficult to distinguish driftwood and petrified wood so what is the difference between them? Both types of wood share one thing in common, they were both once standing wood.

Petrified wood became fossilized, or nearly so, over a long period of time. We can then say it is more of a ‘rock’ than actual wood.

Driftwood is fallen wood that is in a slow process of decay. However, it doesn’t take thousands of years for fallen wood to become Driftwood at all. And also, driftwood keeps being wood and never becomes a stone.

Both succumbed to the powers of water, but in very different ways.

Petrified Wood
Petrified Wood

What is Petrified Wood?

It is the name given to a special type of fossilized wood. So we need to go back in time thousands of years to actually trace the origin of these little treasures found in our time.

The most common minerals found in petrified wood include iron oxides, manganese oxides, carbon, chromium, copper, cobalt and silicon dioxide.

How is Petrified Wood Formed?

A petrified wood occurs when fallen trees are covered by a thickness of soil, preventing decay by organisms. A mineral replaces the plant tissue, preserving the shape of the wood in stone. The minerals present will depend on the groundwater chemistry.

The process is called permineralisation and, as mentioned, takes thousands of years at the very least.

Due to being blanketed with the water, mud or volcanic ash, the wood would be starved of oxygen which is the driving force of decomposition. With the wood decaying at a far slower process than usual, it would slowly become infused with minerals which would eventually crystallise, replacing its original fibres. The end result is petrified wood, a fossil of the original piece of tree in the shape and format of a rock.

Is Petrified Wood Valuable?

Petrified wood is an extraordinary gift from nature. Each original tree and minerals infusion are entirely unique so each piece of petrified wood is completely one of a kind. Each piece of petrified wood has a different value based on size, rarity and natural beauty.

Petrified wood is exceptionally rare – only a small proportion can be cut and polished into specimens. As a result, it becomes prized by collectors who truly appreciate its magnificence. Others are just captivated by this curious and beautiful expression of nature.

The natural beauty of petrified wood, combined with expert polishing, is a sculpture carved by nature. As a result, cutting-edge interior designers utilize it as a fascinating focal point of the finest homes.

Petrified Wood Coffee Table
Petrified Wood Coffee Table (SOURCE)

Petrified wood is also easy to take care of. It has a hard, durable surface which can easily be cleaned with glass cleaner. It is impervious to stain.

You can find pieces from $20 to thousands of dollars and the difference, according to the experts is:

“Lower priced petrified wood has been mass produced and polished without expertise. We have over 50 years experience sourcing and polishing petrified wood. Our specimens are from Arizona, Oregon and Washington, home to the highest quality petrified wood in the world.”

What is Petrified Wood Used For?

Petrified wood is used for mainly used for decoration. Objects such as book ends, table tops, clock faces, or other ornaments. It can be used as well for jewelry.

Unlike Driftwood, which is used as well for easy and inexpensive, due to the uniqueness and value, it is more and more used by collectors. You can see amazing pieces in the Signature Collection: The Finest Petrified Wood Ever Found.

You can see here this short video about this exclusive collector to know more.

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