Gem News International Gems & Gemology, Spring 2014, Vol. 50, No. 1

Fossilized Drusy Shells – Tucson 2014

Fossilized drusy shells
Figure 1. A conglomerate of fossilized, drusy quartz-encrusted shells is shown in the host rock, along with several individual pieces that have been prepared for jewelry use. Photo by Robert Weldon/GIA; courtesy of Indus Valley Commerce.
Tarun Adlakha (Indus Valley Commerce, New Delhi) exhibited fossilized shells replaced by chalcedony and encrusted with drusy quartz (figure 1). The shells are originally from a rare left-hand coil variety of gastropod that lived between 50 and 100 million years ago, when the Indian subcontinent was submerged under the ocean. Recovered from a hill in the Dhar region of Madhya Pradesh state in central India (figure 2), they were hammered, chiseled, and carefully removed by hand from rock.

Drusy fossils in host rock
Figure 2. These fossilized drusy shells were found in rocks on a hill in central India. Photo courtesy of Tarun Adlakha.
According to Adlakha, these shells were called Dakshinavarti in ancient Sanskrit. The Hindu, Buddhist, and Tibetan cultures revere the left-hand coil gastropods for their metaphysical powers. Adlakha has trademarked this fossilized material as Spiralite Gemshells for use in jewelry. 

Robert Weldon is manager of photography and visual communications at GIA in Carlsbad, California.