The Suitcase Lady


August 17, 2010, 9:30 pm

Sometimes you have to leave home to discover what’s in your own front yard. In our case, we had to go all the way to Tucson to learn what’s in Lake Michigan.

Several years ago, we were at the gigantic Tucson Gem and Mineral show when we spotted a booth proclaiming the wonders of “Petoskey Stones”. We drifted over to discover that these amazing and lovely rocks are found  in our own Lake Michigan… but on the opposite shore near Petoskey, Michigan.

The charming, elderly couple who ran the booth had come from Northport, Michigan, to display their polished rocks as well as jewelry, paperweights and other items made from the stones.

The geology of Petoskey Stones, Michigan’s State Stone, is fascinating. The rocks are fossilized coral from the Devonian Period. The land we call Michigan now was covered by a shallow sea 360 million years ago, and  a species of coral called Hexagonaria Percarinata grew in the reefs. Glaciers subsequently moved, rounded and smoothed the stones.

On a trip to the eastern shore last year we did not find a Petoskey Stone. The city of Petoskey, however, was a delight to visit. This year we went back and hit the jackpot. Walking on the beach at Charlevoix, a stone’s throw from Petoskey, we struck up a conversation with a fellow beach walker. We inquired about Petoskey Stones, and she reached down in the water and came up with one. “It’s easier to spot one in the water than on the beach,” she helpfully said.

She was right. Here I am with my treasure.

4 Comments for this entry

  • evie

    Well, now I know. Funny how Charlevoix is such a pretty name, while Petosky is so , , , down to earth.
    Cheers, evie

  • tiara

    Cool! Treasures are a really neat thing to look for,to research about their history about them , to look at them.

  • Mary

    Hi T! We may not be able to go to Michigan when you are here, but we can find plenty of beach glass for your collection.

  • Carol Langkabel

    I am so jealous! I searched and searched for a stone on those beaches and could not find one. Did not know about it being easier to find in the water. What a treasure. So glad you have one.