Discovery of the Oldest Crystal of Earth’s Crust

There’s exciting news in the world of crystallography. A minuscule crystal that is 4.4 billion years old has been discovered. The tiny Zircon has been confirmed as being the oldest fragment of the Earth’s crust.

The finding of the world’s oldest fragment has been reported in the Journal of Nature Geoscience. The piece of rock was found in sandstone in the Jack Hills area of Western Australia. Scientists were able to give the Zircon an age by analysing its lead atoms and Uranium. The Uranium decays into the lead atoms extremely slowly over time and can be used by scientists like a clock to trace age.

The implications of the discovery of the ancient Zircon is that our planet had formed a solid crust much sooner than what’s been widely perceived. Before the Earth formed 4.6 billion years ago, it would have been a ball of molten magma. Through the discovery and calculating the age of the tiny crystal, scientists now have evidence to believe that the Earth’s surface hardened much earlier. This therefore poses the possibility that our planet had become ready to horde life not long after its formation.

“This is the oldest and the best dated of all the crystals that have been reported. This confirms our view of how the Earth cooled and became habitable,” said Professor John Valley, from the University of Wisconsin, US and lead author of the study. 

“We have no evidence that life existed then. We have no evidence that it didn’t. But there is no reason why life could not have existed on Earth 4.3 billion years ago,” continued the Professor. 

BBC Report that Crystal is 'oldest scrap of Earth crust'. Read the full story here!
BBC Report that Crystal is ‘oldest scrap of Earth crust’. Read the full story here!

Glows From Red To Blue

One of the greatest components of crystals is their unique, vibrant and dazzling tones. From the deep and serene shades of purple Amethyst crystals to the beautiful earthy browns, yellows and reds of Citrine, if you’re a fan of crystals, no doubt you’ll know all the different colours, shades and properties of the many different types of precious stones.

The crystal found in the sheep ranch in Western Australia is translucent red, a bit like a Ruby. However, as John Valley states, the tiny Zircon crystal glows blue when its bombarded with electrons.

Citrine Crystal
The Beautiful Colours of Citrine Crystal

A New Technique In The Study Of Crystals

In 2001 John Valley and his team of scientists carried out studies on another crystal found in the same Jack Hills area in Western Australia. There had however been inconclusiveness when trying to determine the age of the crystal. The new method of studying the age of crystals, which was used on the recent ancient crystal finding, is known as atom-probe tomography. It enables scientists to image single atoms of lead and work out the isotape ratio. The scientists found that the clumps of lead atoms in the crystal had formed 1 billion years following the crystallisation of the Zircon. This meant the lead atoms hadn’t moved enough to prevent the crystallographers from determining its real age. The team of scientists were therefore able to determine the exact age of the crystal – 4.4 billion years old.

So the next time you glance down at your Amethyst pendant or look up at your Quartz cluster on the mantle piece, have a thought at just how long crystals have existed – since Earth began.

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner …..

Show that special someone in your life how much they mean to you by giving them the perfect Valentine’s Day Gift from a selection of crystals, gemstones, fossils or boxed gifts from the Crystal Age range.   Select now to make sure the gift arrives by next Tuesday, Valentine’s Day!!

Fascinating Mini Ammonite Fossil Pairs

To own a piece of the past in the form of a fossil is a great way of keeping history alive.  If you simply like the idea of having an item several million years old these mini ammonite pairs are ideal.   These small pieces of fossils can be given to children to teach them about the wonders of the world – ideal for stocking fillers this coming Christmas or indeed a stunning gift for anyone who has an interest in natural history.

Mini Ammonite Pairs
Ammonite Pairs

Trilobite Fossils

We’ve various new trilobite fossils for you to enjoy, each of which are between 540 and 250 million years old. Trilobite Fossils were once marine arthropods, they were one of the most successful creatures of their era and were once found in every ocean. Anybody who is interested in trilobite fossils will love this range of fantastic examples, from individual fossils to fossil plates, you will find excellent trilobite fossil gifts, suitable for any occasion.

Trilobite Fossils 50mm Walliserops Trifurcatus Fossil

50mm Walliserops Trifurcatus Trilobite Fossil

This ‘short trident’ is a type of trilobite Walliserops Trifurcatus, attractively presented against a pale limestone matrix. You can see the superb preservation of this trilobite specimen, right down to the detail of the horns, which have had little restoration. Considering this trilobite fossil is around 150-180 million years old, the 10% restoration it has roughly had is very impressive indeed, considering the quality of the fossil.

50mm Zlichovaspis Rugosa Trilobite Fossil

50mm Zlichovaspis Rugosa Trilobite Fossil

This nifty looking fellow is a fantastic fossil to have around, you can put him out on occasions such as Halloween to frighten guests, or simply keep it behind locked glass cabinet doors to show off all year round. The 50mm zlichovaspis rugosa fossil has been set on a pale contrasting limestone matrix and is a genuine, detailed example. This one-off zlichovaspis rugosa trilobite fossil is a one-off specimen, which happens to be a particularly desirable piece. Moroccan trilobite fossils of such high quality are quickly becoming more difficult to source and prices are very high due to this, meaning that they are a good investment to add to any fossil collection.

Fossils Make Beautiful Gifts

Experience the incredible World of fossils by keeping history alive in keeping them in your home, office or child’s room. There are various fossil groups, each with excellently preserved examples of beautiful fossils. Each of the fossils are millions of years old and they capture a moment in time, making them great conversation pieces, items for study and intriguing pieces of decor for the home. There are fossils to suit everybody with large collector’s pieces to small fossils that can be given to children to teach them about the wonders of the World.

Calymene Trilobite Fossils

Calymene Trilobite Fossil
Calymene Trilobite Fossil

If you want a unique and memorable gift or addition to the home then this Calymene Trilobite Fossil is a great option. These Calymene Trilobite Fossils are from Morrocco and are an impressive 360 million years old. The Calymene Trilobite Fossils are well known, being the second most popular fossil group after dinosaurs. The last trilobites disappeared in the mass extinction at the end of the Permian period roughly 250 million years ago. You can place the Calymene Trilobite Fossil anywhere you like around the home and display the immaculate preservation of this prehistoric beauty.

Mini Ammonite Fossils

Mini Ammonite Fossil
Mini Ammonite Fossil

These pretty Mini Ammonite Fossils look fantastic in a group of fossils, you can also buy a single one and place it somewhere you can enjoy such as in a pot plant to help decorate the home. Each Mini Ammonite Fossil is between 195 and 395 million years old and was once a squid-like animal. The shells of each Mini Ammonite Fossil have been beautifully preserved and make great ornaments and gifts for any home. You will find decorative patterns, soft pinks, greys and blues in the Mini Ammonite Fossils making them ideal to fit in with any colour scheme. Children are ideal recipients for a Mini Ammonite Fossil, giving them a piece of history from the planet them live on to treasure and amaze. You can buy Mini Ammonite Fossils as a single fossil, in a 5 pack, 10 pack or 20 pack.

Turritella Fossils

Turritella Fossil
Turritella Fossil

To enjoy an unusually shaped fossil, check out this Turritella Fossil a fine specimen from France, approximately 50 million years old. Each of these gastropods is closely related to modern snails, with stunning coiled shells in an elongated cone. Turritella Fossil was first found in the Cretaceous Period and is still found today. Turritella Fossil is an elegant one for keeping around the home and is very inexpensive so you can have a whole collection of them to help decorate your home or your child’s bedroom with these fascinating pieces of history.

Fossils in a Nutshell

Fossilisation is incredibly rare as most components of deceased bodies decompose quickly after death. In order for fossilisation to take place, the remains usually need to be covered by sediment as soon as possible.

To own a piece of the past in the form of a fossil is a great way of keeping history alive. Whether you are a keen geologist or simply like the idea of having an item over 10,000 years old, there are fossils for sale for you to enjoy. Mini Orthoceras Fossils, a desert rose gift box and fish fossil are just some of the fantastically preserved fossils for sale, some of which are approximately 55 million years old!

Fossils for sale Desert Rose gift box only £14.99
Fossils for Sale Desert Rose Gift Box

The Different Types of Fossils for Sale


Ammonites are approximately 135-395 million years old and were once marine animals with a coiled external shell to assist floating and protection. The fossil Ammonite can be found world-wide but the best preserved examples are from Madagascar.

Fossils for sale Ammonite Fossil Gift Box £14.99
Fossils for Sale Ammonite Fossil Gift Box

Knightia Alta Fish

These are approximately 55 million years old. The famous Green River Shales formation in Wyoming, USA is where the best preserved knightia alta fish fossel is found.

Fossils for sale Crystal & Fossil Gift Box £22.99
Fossils for Sale Crystal Fossil Gift Box

Diplomystus Fish

These fossils are 40 to 50 million years old. Once a bony, upturned mouth fish from the Eocene, the Diplomystus are found only in the Green River Shales formation in Wyoming USA. Highly detailed fossils can be produced from the Diplomystus, they are a relative of sardines and herring.

Fossils for sale Diplomystus Fish Fossil Plate
Fossils for Sale Diplomystus Fish Fossil Plate


Approximately a minimum of 250 million years old. This class of fossil which is also for sale is very popular, Trilobites were marine arthropods.

Fossils for sale Trilobite Fossil Plate
Fossils for Sale Trilobite Fossil Plate


With a coiled external shell, Goniatites were free-swimming marine squid-like animals. A distinctive zigzag pattern is detailed on the shell of the Goniatite fossils. The shape of the shell suggests that they would not have been very skilled swimmers. The Goniatites had swimming tentacles and developed eyes.

Fossils for sale Goniatite
Fossils for Sale Goniatite


Squid-like marine animal with a conical external shell. The Orthoceras once lived across the world’s oceans, swimming freely. Chambers of water would be filled to help them propel themselves through the water, this makes for stunning fossils when polished.

Fossils for sale Orthoceras Fossil Plate 22cm £9.99
Fossils for Sale Orthoceras Fossil Plate 22cm

Petrified Wood

Fossilised wood can be found in many forms, colours and shapes. Minerals and crystals replace the organic material in the wood. Quartz is the usual crystal used in petrified wood, blues and greens indicate cobalt, carbon crates black markings and reds and browns are from iron oxides.

Fossils for sale Petrified Wood
Fossils for Sale Petrified Wood

For further information and more fossils for sale take a look at the Fossils section of the website under the Crystals & Minerals Category.