Growing up in Michigan gives you plenty of opportunity to stick your feet in the sand and enjoy the great lakes.
For Michigan is not only full of the big 5, but they have over 11,000 lakes to be exact. So traveling around the mitten or the rabbit, you’ll see shores, beaches, sand dunes, lighthouses, and fish of all shapes and sizes. Not to mention rocks, shells, stones, and gemstones.
And one of the most well known rocks is the Petoskey stone.
But the funny thing is, it’s not really a rock, it’s a fossil.
Coral fossil, 350 million years old (way before the dinosaur), with dark centers called polyp. These dots are often referred to as “eyes“, even though they are really the mouth.
These stones can be found up and down the shallow waters of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.
Named by Chief Petoskey, they have been an official state stone since 1965.
Another state stone is the Isle Royale Greenstone (Chlorastrolite), which is a bluish-green stone that resembles a turtle’s back.
But Petoskey is still the most popular, especially since you can find them yourself.
Wet stones are much easier to spot because of their light to dark gray coloring, so it shouldn’t take long to locate one, or a dozen. Spring is the best time for searching, since the ice pushes the rocks to shore. Just get the stones wet (bring a water bottle with you), or wait for a rain to uncover the cool patterns of Michigan’s historic past.
Petoskey comes in many different shades as well, although more rare, you can find them in pinks, blues, and greens too.
These stones are often used for all sorts of interesting things, but none more stunning than jewelry; bracelets, pendants, charms, rings, watches, and more…
Shops in both Petoskey Michigan, and Mackinaw City have great varieties to choose from. It’s certainly a trip worth taking (and while you’re up there, take a tour boat through the Soo Locks, located in Sault Ste Marie Michigan; that’s incredible).
Jewelers can easily create Petoskey stone jewelry with silver wire wrapping, cord, and findings, just like these beautiful pieces I purchased last week.
Plus, if you find your own stones (from Traverse City to Alpena and into the Upper Peninsula… YOOPER), you can buy jewelry kits to make your own keepsakes.
Shine up the stones with a polishing kit (usually different thicknesses and coarseness of wet/dry sandpaper), coat them with clear nail polish, and dive into the wonderful world of fossils, rocks, and Petoskey.
Michigan is known for many things (like the Fudge in Mackinaw City), and Petoskey is at the top of the must-do list.
Plus, a piece of trivia; many Petoskey stones will glow in the dark. Just put a blacklight on them to see them illuminate.
The best locations for Petoskey:
(Ideal, secret searching spots…)
- Magnus Park, Petoskey
- East Park, Resort Township
- West Park, Bay Shore
- Michigan Roadside Park, Charlevoix
Do note that Petoskey stones should NOT be tumbled in a rock tumbler. They are too soft of a stone and will break apart easily. Polish them up by hand and you’ll be happily rewarded (the eyes will come to life).
14k Wheat Chains