Beautiful Holzmaden Fossil Interior Slabs
Holzmaden in southern Germany is one of those paleontological place-names which excites your average fossicking type and paleontologist, conjuring to the mind huge slabs filled with multitudes of crinoid crowns, similar in appearance to the sentinels which attempt to rip apart the Nebuchadnezzar hoover ship. The Mesozoic era sub-species fossils are found swimming against prehistoric oil shales now solid and darkened limestone. Metallic stems which look like thousands of tiny coins stacked one upon the other, up to dozens of feet in length often found attached to golden fossil tree trunks (once the flotsum of the ancient oceans), these crinoidal stems seemingly bow and bend in long forgotten currents of Jurassic seas. Both crowns and stems can often be discovered slightly iridescent from the presence of Iron pyrites, which gleam when the specimen plates are dramatically lit, making them alive again against the very dark almost black oil shales.
However the Holzmaden quarries which produce these dynamic Holzmaden fossil plates not only produce wonderful crinoid fossils like this sub species; Seironcrinus subangularis for the would-be collector or scientist, these fossils which are becoming so scarce that in recent years have also attained high value, so much so that many new types of investors have been enticed to the charms of the enigmatic fossils of the Holzmaden region. The interior decorator has in the last decade found a new string to the tuneful fiddle with these decorative fossil plates from the Holzmaden formations. As the crinoids have become almost unobtainable as a new resource, the mining having ceased, the well as it ran or rapidly running dry. Ammonites plates of the same age and geological location have caught the eye of collectors and paleontologists as much as the investor and decorator. These equally wonderful fossils which were in the recent history of the fossil beds, somewhat overshadowed by the crinoid mass mortality plates, are now enjoying a renaissance period.
Renewed interest is creating a strong market, some record prices at auction have been made and broken selling and buying these ammonite plates, collectors and investors have cottoned onto the fact that these ammonoids are probably as important as other fossil flora and fora in the Holzmaden seams and steadily the ammonites are filling the gap, where crinoids have not come to market. On a scientific and palaeontological footing, the ammonites provide information about the marine environment of the Jurassic period a specific point in time. The iron pyrite which can be unstable if not treated correctly leaves impressions of fossil in great detail in the shales. The umbilicus, the outer shell of the extant cephalopod is pressed into the oil shale in every detail. Scientifically these impressions of prehistoric life can be studied, however, the decorative nature of the fossil is undoubtedly where current popularity has driven market forces to re-evaluate this finite fossil resource and create a demand which seems to be steadily growing.