Opal replacing snail fossils (
Les Rois Mine, Dallet, Puy de Dome, Rhone Alpes, France
Small Cabinet, 8.3 x 4.7 x 4.4 cm

Aesthetically emplaced atop a limestone matrix, are four opalized snail fossils, each one measuring from 2 to 2.5 cm across. This is a superb display specimen! It is, I was told, a very rich example of this famous old locality classic once called "Lussatite" in France. The opal has partially replaced each shell. Note that the shells are removed from the matrix, to be prepared and cleaned, and then placed back in to their original sockets, so each is repaired. I purchased this from an old French collection and had not seen before any with more than 1 or 2 shells atop. Aesthetic, unusual, and an interesting merger of the fossil and mineral worlds.

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