The Thrill of the Hunt
Even though I am no longer ten years-old, I still love digging in the dirt! So, last summer I finally organized one of my Bucket List trips and went fossil hunting on the southern coast of England with my niece and my husband. We headed to Lyme Regis, a charming village overlooking the English Channel, and famous as the home of Mary Anning – a pioneering fossil collector, dealer, and paleontologist who became known around the world for the discoveries she made. We spent an afternoon and evening walking around the charming village that overlooks the water, taking in its colorful buildings, visiting the museum, and indulging in yummy food. But I was really waiting to hit the coast and try my luck!
The next morning dawned bright and clear – a perfect day to go look for fossils on the nearby cliffs of Charmouth Beach. Around 190 million years ago, this area lay beneath a warm, shallow sea, closer to the equator, approximately where North Africa resides today. Life was abundant during the Jurassic period and consequently many fossils can be found in the clay and limestone layers. When we arrived, the wide and long beach was teaming with tourists and I knew it would be a challenge to find a spot that hadn’t been picked over… or even to decide on where to start! I headed to remote part of the cliff edge and started looking, hoping that that soft bluffs above would have weathered out something for me. Eureka! I unearthed a fragment of an ammonite shell fossil, a small cone-shaped belemnite (the tail section of a creature like a squid), some other unidentifiable fish fossil… and even the holy grail: a perfect pyritized ammonite
I was giddy with excitement and thrilled with my find. I couldn’t wait to get home, clean it up and make a special piece of jewelry for myself (yes, as in it’s not for sale!). I I love that bits of plants and animals from a bygone age turn to rock – a fossil – and that I can use them in a jewel. Two favorite pieces that are available in my collection are the Dailies Smalls 924 that feature drops of fossilized dinosaur bone (!) and the Flower Earrings with ancient fossilized lavender coral. Both incredible relics of another era. And now I had a memento that was really special to me – a perfect memory and a great way to kick off my future rock-hounding.
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