Dinosaur Poop (Coprolite) Jewelry
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"Everyone poops." ~ Tarō Gomi
Scientifically speaking, coprolites are fossilized poop. Over millions of years, minerals, such as chalcedony and quartz, replaced the original organic material. This process creates a rich, colorful matrix that allows us to study the diet and lifestyle of long-extinct creatures. It also makes for very beautiful jewelry!
Above: Agatized Sauropod Coprolite from the First Edition of the Mini Museum
This specimen is comprised of agatized sauropod coprolite from the Morrison Formation in Utah. One of the most studied fossil beds of the upper Jurassic Period, the region was once home to a large floodplain ecosystem 150,000,000 years ago.
Custom-made right here at Mini Museum, these pieces feature beautiful beads of highly polished coprolite.
Above: Assembling Coprolite necklaces.
Available as a pendant necklace, earrings, or even the full set! Each jewelry piece comes in a decorative box and includes a small information card about the specimen. The jewelry pieces are shipped within a small anti-tarnish bag to protect the silver elements of the piece during storage and transport. You may wish to keep this bag to store your pieces when you are not wearing them.
- The Dinosaur Poop (Coprolite) Pendant Necklace - Features five (5) beads of coprolite strung in a vertical column and accented with a sterling silver tassel. The sterling silver, rounded box-style chain measures 18-inches (~45cm). The complete necklace comes in a decorative box and includes a small information card about the specimen.
- The Dinosaur Poop (Coprolite) Earrings - Features two (2) polished beads of coprolite and all of the components are sterling silver. The earrings come in a decorative box with a small information card about the specimen.
Please Note: The color and patterns of coprolite vary widely. In crafting this piece, we've selected pieces that are complementary to each other.
Above: A Macro image of three different Coprolite pendants in the final stages of preparation.
More about Coprolites
Coprolites can come from reptiles, dinosaurs, and even ancient mammals.
Depending on their origin, coprolites may contain a variety of minerals such as phosphorus and calcium. Scientists use this information to help identify the species responsible for the droppings and to learn more about their diet.
Yet, while modern interest in coprolites is mainly focused on their value to science, coprolites were once worth their weight in gold.
In 1842, English agricultural entrepreneur John Lawes successfully used vitriol, also known as sulphuric acid, to reduce coprolites to calcium phosphate from which Lawes created a superphosphate that could be applied directly to fields. The results were impressive, and when this process became widely known, it created a massive demand for phosphates around the world.
For several decades, Cambridgeshire county, which is adjacent to Hertfordshire, became a hotbed of coprolite mining in Britain. This area was a particularly rich source of coprolites from a variety of megafauna from different ages. Near the end of the 19th century, the coprolite mining industry came to an abrupt halt as new sources of rock phosphate around the world led to greater price competition.
With a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, it's very difficult, if not impossible, to match coprolites to a particular species. However, modern research methods including biogeochemical analysis and x-ray diffraction are creating a growing body of knowledge.
In particular, Karen Chin is noted for her identification of a possible T. rex coprolite in 1998:
“This specimen is more than twice as large as any previously reported carnivore coprolite, and its great size and temporal and geographic context indicate that it was produced by a tyrannosaur. The specimen contains a high proportion of bone fragments.”
Dr. Chin’s research has also uncovered fossilized muscle tissue in tyrannosaur coprolites, providing new insight into the Cretaceous food chain.