There’s a certain feeling of pride that accompanies being able to claim your city lent its name to your State Stone. It means that your home is also home to a unique and interesting (and in-demand) piece of rock – especially when that piece of rock is actually a piece of fossilized coral from over 350 million years ago. The older-than-dinosaurs Petoskey Stones are only found in Michigan and are heavily concentrated in Petoskey and the surrounding Traverse Bay Area because that particular type of coral, the Hexagonaria Percarinate, grew and colonized in that particular area of the sea. Of course, different types of ancient coral grew in this and other places, and their patterns are fairly similar to that of the Petoskey Stone. For a more in-depth story of the Petoskey Stone, check out this blog post from early July!
Here in Northern Michigan, the stone favosite has a coral-esq pattern as well. The pattern on favosite, however, is much smaller than the eyes of a Petoskey Stone. They look almost like baby Petoskey Stones! Moving out of the United States, there are similar-looking stones in Asia, primarily Indonesia, that are sometimes mistakenly referred to as Petoskey Stones. They’re even sold online and called “Petoskey Stones”. At first glance, the pattern on these stones looks similar, but not quite right. For some, the “eye” of the pattern isn’t the dark color of typical Petoskey Stones – it’s smaller and a lighter or white color – and the small rays radiating from the eye to form the characteristic hexagonal shape are lighter as well and don’t always attach to the center dot. Some have starburst patterns that don’t connect to each other at all. Still others are simply fossilized coral whose patterns don’t resemble Petoskey Stones’ at all.
Online especially, other types of fossilized coral from around the country and world are being labeled as “Petoskey Stones”, which discredits legitimate Petoskey Stone sellers, puts false rocks out on the market, and outright lies to customers who believe they’re actually getting a piece of Petoskey. Searching around on different shopping sites, especially ones specializing in hand-made or unique products like Etsy, I found many different “Petoskey Stones” that were definitely not the same beautiful stones we sell on a daily basis here at Grandpa Shorter’s. Shoppers can rest assured that every Petoskey Stone in our store and on our online store is a genuine, hand-picked Petoskey Stone straight from the Little Traverse Bay area. While I agree “Indonesia Stone” doesn’t have quite the same ring as “Petoskey Stone”, our state stone, and its name, should stay special and native to Northern Michigan.