Petrified Wood Value: How Much Is Petrified Wood Worth? Answered

Petrified wood is a type of fossil that started out as a tree but now more closely resembles a stone. That’s because it that has undergone permineralization, a process that occurs when minerals gradually fill in the tree’s cavities. The value of petrified wood depends on the size, color, and quality of the piece, slab or log. If you’re looking to buy or sell, check with a local appraiser, search eBay, and/or search for online forums with gem or mineral collectors.

How Does Petrified Wood Form?

Normally, when a tree dies, it decays like any other organic material and leaves no permanent record behind. However, if a dead tree is buried in mud or otherwise protected from the normal elements that cause decay, it can be preserved as a type of fossil. In the case of petrified wood, the surrounding groundwater can deposit silica and other minerals that very slowly replace the tree’s organic substance. Gradually, additional minerals and compounds in the groundwater percolate through the tree and add unique color patterns to the wood. The minerals that comprise petrified wood depend on the geographic location of the wood and the conditions under which it is formed. In the western United States, for example, petrified wood is often made of quartz, which is a silica mineral.

Because it is composed of minerals, petrified wood is much heavier than a regular tree log; petrified wood can weigh anywhere between 150 and 200 pounds per cubic foot.

Where Can I Find Petrified Wood?

Petrified wood can be found in locations across the United States, as well as in faraway locations like Madagascar and Myanmar. It can be present on the surface of the ground or buried underneath.

In the United States, the most famous location for petrified wood is the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona, as it contains one of the largest and most colorful collections of petrified wood in the world. The petrified wood in this park is mostly the result of fossilized conifer trees (i.e. pine trees) that first grew during the Triassic period and have fossilized over the past 220 million years.

Other well-known locations for petrified wood include Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park in Washington State, which includes 20 varieties of fossilized trees that originated 15 million years ago, and the Mississippi Petrified Forest, which includes fir and maple trees that originated 35 million years ago. Besides these major locations, smaller pockets of petrified wood can be found across the United States. Petrified wood typically begins in areas that are heavily wooded — but because it takes millions of years to form, petrified wood may be found in any present-day climate or ecosystem.

Can I Take Petrified Wood from Public Land?

Some states allow you to take petrified wood from state parks, but before you get too excited about the idea of harvesting petrified wood from a park, you should familiarize yourself with your state and national laws in order to avoid legal trouble.

Some states prohibit individuals from taking petrified wood from public lands, while other states allow it as long as the individual plans to use the petrified wood for personal and non-commercial purposes (which means you can’t sell it). For example, the Arizona Bureau of Land Management’s policy does not allow park visitors to take petrified wood for commercial use, but it does allow individuals to collect up to 250 pounds per year for private use from state parks. Federal law doesn’t allow you to take petrified wood, so if you’re in a national park, don’t even think about it.

For example, visitors are prohibited from removing petrified wood from Arizona’s Petrified Forest National Park, because the national law prohibits visitors from removing “any natural or cultural object from the park, including fossils, rocks, animals, plants, and artifacts.” Anyone who damages or takes petrified wood from the park is subject to a fine of at least $325. Because the laws vary so greatly, the best way to determine the applicable regulations is to contact the park you plan to visit and ask for clarification. But, as a rule, you’ll likely need to buy petrified wood.

How Much Is Petrified Wood Worth?

Petrified wood is known for being aesthetically pleasing, with a soft luster and hues of green, blue, and orange. Because it is so beautiful, petrified wood is considered a semi-precious gemstone. It is often used in lapidary work and turned into items such as jewelry, clock faces, paperweights, and sculptures. In addition, petrified wood can be valuable to paleontologists, as it allows them to study geological conditions from millions of years ago. Because of its beauty and scientific significance, petrified wood can be valuable — but that isn’t necessarily always the case.

There’s no simple price-per-pound formula when it comes to determining the value of petrified wood value. That’s because many factors influence the value of petrified wood. Your best bet is to have a piece of petrified wood professional appraised. You can ask for an assessment from the International Gem Society. Small samples of low-quality petrified wood may not be worth anything, while a high-quality petrified wood log can sell for several hundred dollars. And large items that have been manufactured out of polished petrified wood, such as tabletops, can sell for thousands of dollars.

There are, however, some key factors that influence how much sellers can earn from petrified wood:

  • Size: This is perhaps the most important factor in determining the worth of petrified wood. In the majority of cases, the larger the piece of petrified wood, the more valuable it will be. Some samples of petrified wood are the size of small pebbles and are worth only a few pennies, while other samples can be entire petrified wood logs, which are worth much more — into the hundreds or even thousands of dollars, in some cases.
  • Quality: Petrified wood is known for being a particularly brittle fossil. It’s natural for it to decrease in quality over time as it is exposed to oxygen and begins to decay. If there are cracks, holes, or any other type of damage, the petrified wood will not be very valuable.
  • Color: Depending on what kind of mineral is contained inside the wood, petrified wood comes in a wide variety of colors, including shades of green, blue, orange, red, pink, and brown. Petrified wood that contains bright or unusual colors is more valuable than brown petrified wood. Certain types of petrified wood, like opalized wood, may sell for much higher prices (as these types are very rare). If the petrified wood contains notable characteristics such as growth rings (the rings that accumulate as trees age) or a clearly discernible bark pattern, it is typically more valuable.
  • Polish: If the petrified wood has been polished, it is more valuable. The best way to improve the value of a sample of petrified wood is to polish it by using a rock tumbler, a rotary polisher, or another polishing method.
  • Geography: If the petrified wood was found in a location where it is typically rare, it may be worth more. In addition, if the petrified wood was discovered in a location that has a sentimental value to the buyer, it may sell for a higher price.

How Does Size Affect the Value of Petrified Wood?

Small pieces of petrified wood are quite common and not worth very much. Tumbled or rough pieces that are one- to three-inches long will typically be worth a dollar or two each, if that. Bulk lots of these pieces are often purchased for even less per individual sample. On the other hand, a petrified wood log weighing 50 pounds could sell for $150 or more. Intact pieces of this size are much rarer than the smaller pebble-like specimens.

The value will continue to increase for larger and heavier specimens. For example, one gem website featured a 189-pound petrified wood log (13 inches by 24 inches) for $625. A petrified wood log that has a very bright or unusual color pattern could be worth even more.

How Does Coloring Affect the Value of Petrified Wood?

Along with size, color is one of the biggest factors in determining the value of a petrified wood sample. Most petrified wood is a muted brown or gray color, so these pieces will typically earn the lowest prices. Other fairly common colors are green, gold (from pyrite), dark red, and orange-red. Colors like blue and violet are much rarer and will sell for more money. As a rule of thumb, the brighter or more intense the coloring, the more the petrified wood will be worth.

Keep in mind that it’s typically not the petrified wood itself that’s worth money, but what it can be made into that makes it valuable. As a result, the key factor in appraising petrified wood is its aesthetic value and potential for decorative use. Rough (unpolished) agatized petrified wood with any of the common color patterns will typically sell for about $2.50 per pound.

How Does Polishing Affect the Value of Petrified Wood?

As mentioned above, polished specimens of petrified wood are typically more valuable than unpolished specimens — so if you want to increase the value of your petrified wood, you likely want to polish it. To polish small pieces of petrified wood, you can use a rock tumbler, which is a small device that does all of the hard work for you. Polishing with a rock tumbler is a simple process which requires adding petrified wood, water, and abrasive grit to the machine and letting it operate for three to four days. For larger pieces of petrified wood that do not fit in a rock tumbler, you might want to try using a rotary polisher, which is a handheld tool that allows you to buff the rock until it is polished.

The effect of polishing on value also depends on the form of the petrified wood.

For example, very small (under 2″) pieces will not be worth more than a few dollars, whether polished or rough. Rough limbs that are a few inches in length are typically worth only $4-$8. Polishing one end of the limb to reveal the color and grain detail can increase the value up to $10-$20. A fully polished 3″ sphere may be worth up to $50-$60 dollars.

Where to Buy or Sell Petrified Wood?

If you have your petrified wood professionally appraised, you may want to ask the appraiser where you can sell it locally. Otherwise, you can use an online auction site like eBay to sell petrified wood. This can be a particularly good option if you’re unsure how much a buyer would be willing to pay for your specimen. Be sure to base your estimates on “sold” items as currently listed items may not reflect actual selling prices.

You can also search online for forums with gem or mineral collectors who may be interested in purchasing petrified wood. You can ask the forum for recommendations of local places to sell or connect with buyers directly. Keep in mind that because petrified wood can be quite heavy, shipping may be prohibitively expensive for large pieces. In such cases, finding a local buyer will probably be your best bet.

Pawn shops near you may also deal in petrified wood.

If you’re looking to buy petrified wood, check the same channels: eBay, online forums, and pawn shops.

In Summary

Petrified wood itself is not rare, but a large, high-quality piece can sell for hundreds of dollars to the right buyer. The value of petrified wood varies. Gem collectors may be interested in petrified wood, as well as artisans who use the material to create jewelry, clock faces, tables, and other decorative objects. Paleontologists and geologists are also interested in petrified wood.

If you have petrified wood in your possession, you can sell it through a local appraiser, on an online auction site such as eBay, or by connecting with a buyer through an online community.

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35 comments

  • Larry Hemeon says:

    I have found a 42-in. diameter measuring well over 72-in. long beautiful petrified log, can you estimate the value? I do not recognize the species.

    • Lindsey Desmet says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hello, Larry! Unfortunately, we do not provide individual estimates. You may want to sign up at JustAnswer — one of its experts may be able to tell you what your petrified wood is worth. Best of luck!

  • I have a very large off-white piece and am wondering if it has any value. I’ve had it had for about 35 years or more.

  • Alan Jones says:

    I have a black and white, 11-inch wide by 22-inch long piece I pulled out of my pump at work. I run a dredge and I dredge 100 feet deep. I got this caught in my pump bout 90 feet deep. My question is: Would this be rare since I found it so deep in the ground?

  • i have a live edge board 72″x30″x6″ slab weight approximately 900 lbs. It was used as an up right fountain with a hole drilled the 6′ length on a steel stand in the centre of a roundabout driveway. where would i sell this? it is not polished but smooth from years of water flowing across the surfaces.
    thanks

    • Laura Bachmann says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi Quentin,

      Sorry, I don’t have the answer to that. The piece in the photo isn’t ours, and we didn’t take the photo, so we don’t have anyway to know.

  • I have several pieces. Two of them are 4ft long. Several others about 2 feet long. One of them has brown sparkles inside. You can count the growth rings on several. We are from Texas and looking for someone to appraise them. Any suggestions near Dallas?

  • My husband and I have two very large and extremely heavy pieces. We’ve had them for 35 years. Came with some property we purchased. They are approximately 3’to 4’wide and 4’to 5’long. Would love to have them polished. Any thoughts on where to get this done? We live in San Antonio, TX. The predominant colors in both is salmon and red and yellow. Would love to see what the inside looks likes once the surface is polished down. Appreciate your thoughts and feedback.

    • Rebecca Turley says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi Kathy,

      Sounds like you may have some magnificent pieces on your hands! I recommend contacting the Southwest Gem and Mineral Society. They are based in San Antonio, so I am sure they would be able to point you in the right direction regarding places to have your petrified wood polished and even appraised. Good luck!

  • Mike Brock says:

    I have a piece of PW that’s 29″ long, 16″ wide and 7″ thick. It weighs I am guessing 150 lbs. It came from the semo, Commerce, Mo. area. It is not mineralized but when cut with with a diamond blade it polish up beautifully. I also have one about , I am guessing 400 lbs., 6-7′ long, 16″ diameter, from same area. Could you please give me an idea what they are worth?

    • Laura Bachmann says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi Mike,

      It’s very hard to give appraisals over the internet as the look and quality of the wood are so essential to its value. You should look for a local, professional appraiser. Try using the Midwest Federation of Mineralogical & Geological Societies’ directory of local gem and mineral clubs to find a group near you, then contact the group to see if they do appraisals, and if not, whether they can recommend an appraiser. You can also see listings of petrified wood for sale at Treasures of the Earth and on eBay, and use these as a comparison to get an idea about your pieces. From what I’m seeing, it looks like a piece with a weight similar to your smaller one could be worth over $500, and a peice weighing around 400 lbs could be worth over $1,000. The value of yours will, of course, depend on other features, like color and whether they are in good condition.

  • I just found a small piece of what looks to be black petrified wood that was mixed in the gravel in my backyard. There are definite striations on it, even some areas where it’s shiny. It’s pretty lightweight, and not fragile at all. At first, I thought it may have been a piece of tar or coal, but it wouldn’t burn. I live in Bourbonnais, Illinois. How do I find out for sure if it is, and if it is, is it of any value? It’s about LxWxH – 3/4″x1/2″x1/2.”

  • I have found serval pieces of petrified wood. The largest is a tree stump about 6th long with split branches. I say it weights close to 3 ton. It’s in the creek by my house in KY. It is very detailed, no cracks. I polished what I could reach of it and it’s beautiful. Is there any way to tell how much it’s worth? And is there any buyers willing to come and get such a large piece? Thank you.

  • I have a piece of petrified wood (about 15 lbs) that my parents took from the Petrified Forest in Arizona about 70 years ago or so. I have often thought about returning it. I would not want to be fined for its possession if I should make such an effort. Would I just be spinning my wheels in any effort to return it — i.e. would they even care if it was returned, would it be valued by them, would it just be thrown in the rubble, etc.

  • I’ve got a piece of petrified wood that is 24″ x 26″ x 16″ that is extremely heavy. It must weigh 400-500 pounds. It is extremely dense with very pronounce rings from the outer portion of what must have been a 4-6 foot diameter tree. I’m interested in selling it and/or cutting it to make an end table. I’m having a hard time finding an appraiser in my area. I live in Kennewick, WA. Any guidance or advice would be appreciated.

    • Sarah Quinn says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Nathan,

      Wow, what an incredible treasure! Since it sounds like you have a very large piece of petrified wood, which may be potentially quite valuable, you’re wise in planning to have it appraised. (Stumps and large logs of high quality petrified wood can go for hundreds or even thousands of dollars.) The Lakeside Gem and Mineral Club, located in Kennewick, might be a good place to start; Lakeside Gem and Mineral Club provides a Contact Us page where you can ask about local resources for appraising and evaluating your petrified wood. You may also contact them on Facebook. I hope this helps!

  • Tonia Alexander says:

    We are new @ petrified wood findings, we live in Yazoo Co, MS, and have collected several thousands of pounds of beautiful petrified wood. It has become our passion, and we love looking for it. Every piece we’ve found has come out of Perry Creek. We are interested in selling it. Please put us in the right direction in finding a buyer or buyers in our surrounding areas?

    • Sarah Quinn says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Tonia,

      Since it sounds like you have a very sizeable collection of petrified wood, which may be potentially quite valuable, I would recommend going to a professional appraiser to get an estimate on the value of your collection. (Stumps and large logs of high quality petrified wood can go for hundreds or even thousands of dollars!) The Mississippi Gem and Mineral Society might be a good place to start; MGMS provides a Contact Us page where you can ask about local resources for appraising and evaluating your collection of petrified wood. You may also contact them on Facebook. You may also consider contacting The Eastern Federation of Mineralogical and Lapidary Societies, Inc. (there are contact emails towards the bottom of the page). This is a regional association of societies that might be able to provide you with more widespread resources. Best of luck with your impressive collection!

  • Janice Seal says:

    My dad collected petrified wood when he was working on two sites in va.I have many large pieces and want to know what they are worth and how to sell them. They start at 2ft.and go to at least 10ft in length. He worked for a gravel company and it was dug up when they were getting the gravel out.I also have a large stump I use as a place to sit out in the yard.I live in Richmond Va. any ideas on who I can get in touch with to find out the worth and if its sellable Thanks

    • Hillary M. Miller says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi Janice,

      Since it sounds like the pieces of petrified wood that you have are very large and potentially quite valuable, I would recommend going to a professional appraiser to get an estimate on the value of your collection. (Stumps and large logs of high quality petrified wood can go for hundreds or even thousands of dollars!) The Richmond Gem & Mineral Society might be a good place to start; this organization provides a Contact Us page where you can ask about local resources for appraising and evaluating your pieces of petrified wood. (You can also visit the group on Facebook.) You may consider contacting The Eastern Federation of Mineralogical and Lapidary Societies, Inc. (there are contact emails towards the bottom of the page). This is a regional association of societies that might be able to provide you with more widespread resources. Best of luck with your collection!

    • Jess Gateley says:

      I have three large pieces of petrified wood about4.5-5′ long approximately36″-50″in diameter. One of which has very visible rings.its found innortheast arkansas. My guess is they weigh between 800 and 1,200 lbs. Can you tell me anything about its value?

      • Laura Bachmann says:
        First Quarter Finance logostaff

        Hi, Jess, your pieces are much larger than normal, which could mean they do have significant value, possibly over $100. Quality, which you didn’t mention, is also a very important factor in determining value. If your pieces don’t have any holes, cracks, and aren’t porous, they’ll be worth more. In fact, if they are porous or cracked they might not have any sale value because petrified wood can deteriorate and this sort of damage is one of the indicators that it will. Petrified wood from Arkansas is young, geologically speaking, so the location you found probably won’t significantly increase its value. You can try checking current eBay listings for petrified logs to see how your pieces compare.

  • Hello, A few years ago I purchased a highly polished bowl of petrified wood. It’s of an amber colouring, streaks of light and dark. I believe its weight is .290 as that is the number written underneath it.

    I’m looking for an approximate value of it as I’m thinking of selling it. Thank you for your help.

    • Hillary M. Miller says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi Lizette,

      Prices can vary quite a bit depending on the condition and dimensions of the bowl, as well as the origin of the petrified wood. For example, this 5-inch petrified wood bowl from Madagascar Minerals is selling for $119, while petrified wood bowls on eBay range from around $30 into the hundreds of dollars. I would recommend searching online through eBay (or simply running a Google search for “amber petrified wood bowl” along with your item’s dimensions) to find similar pieces; this will provide a good way to determine the value. You can also take the piece to a professional appraiser for a more precise estimate on the value. I hope this helps, and best of luck with your piece if you decide to sell!

      • Gary Glaesemann says:

        One thing to remember if you’re trying to assess something’s value on ebay is you need to only use “SOLD” items to base your value on. Putting a value on something by using listings on ebay is only effective if an item has been sold, not just listed.

        • Sarah Quinn says:
          First Quarter Finance logostaff

          Gary,

          Thanks for the tip! That’s great advice, and I’ve already updated our article with the added detail about searching for similarly priced items on eBay. We appreciate your comment!

  • Angela Davis says:

    I recently acquired a magnificent piece of petrified wood, with appears to be full of fire Opal stone. One local rock enthusiast is certain this piece could be worth thousands based on how many rings can be made & the intensity of the Opal.
    I was able to locate an expert for appraisal from the gem society search.
    I am at a loss now, not sure where to begin..
    Kind Regards, Angela

    • Hillary M. Miller says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi Angela,

      Congrats on your exciting find! The International Gem Society is a great place to start; if you are able to find a nearby expert to appraise the piece, you can contact them to set up an appointment (you may need to Google the name of the appraiser or organization in order to find their contact information). If the International Gem Society doesn’t provide any results, a simple Google search is another good option — try a search for “gem appraisal near me” to generate some local options. You can also ask for a recommendation for a local appraiser on a gemstone or rock collection forum, such as the FMF Minerals Forum or Rock Hound Lounge. Once you have a professional estimation of the petrified wood’s value, the appraiser may be able to buy the piece directly, or refer you to a buyer. You can also consider listing the piece on eBay (perhaps for local pickup only, to save on shipping fees) once you know how much it’s worth. I hope this helps and please let me know if I can answer any further questions!