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Petoskey stone

  A Petoskey stone is a rock, often pebble-shaped, that is composed of a fossilized coral, Hexagonaria percarinata. The stones were formed as a result of glaciation, in which sheets of ice plucked stones from the bedrock, grinding off their rough edges and depositing them in the northwestern portion of Michigan's lower peninsula.

Petoskey stones are found in the Gravel Point Formation of the Traverse Group. They are fragments of a coral reef that was originally deposited during the Devonian period, about 350 million years ago. When dry the stone resembles ordinary limestone but when wet or polished using lapidary techniques, the distinctive mottled pattern of the fossil emerges. It is sometimes made into decorative objects. Other forms of fossilized coral are also found in the same location.

In 1965, it was named the state stone of Michigan.

The origin of the Petoskey stone name

The name comes from an Ottawa Indian Chief, Chief Pet-O-Sega. The city of Petoskey, Michigan, is also named after him, and is the center of the area where the stones are found. The stones are commonly found on beaches and in sand dunes.

According to legend, Petosegay was the child of a descendant of French nobleman and fur trader, Antoine Carre and an Ottawa princess. Petosegay, meaning "rising sun" "rays of dawn" or "sunbeams of promise", was named after the rays of sun that fell upon his newborn face. In keeping with his promising name, Petosegay was a wealthy fur trader who gained much land and acclaim for himself and his tribe. He was remarked upon to have a striking and appealing appearance, and spoke English very well. He married another Ottawa, and together they had two daughters and eight sons. In the summer of 1873, a few years before the Chiefs' passing, a city began on his land along the bay of Bear Creek. The settlers christened the newborn city Petoskey, the English translation of Petosegay.


Antrim County held the first annual Petoskey Stone Festival on May 27, 2006, in Eastport, Michigan. The 2007 Petoskey Stone Festival has been set for May 26, 2007.

Where to Find Them

  • Stones can be found on various beaches in Northern Michigan with many of the most popular being those surrounding Petoskey and Charlevoix. Magnus Park and Bayfront Park in Petoskey are popular areas to search but tend to be crowded.
  • Polished and prepared stones can often be found at many of the gift stores in the Petoskey area.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Petoskey_stone". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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