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What Is the State Rock of Texas?

By C.B. Fox
Updated May 21, 2024
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Though it is not a true stone, petrified palmwood was adopted as the state rock of Texas in 1969. In the same year, blue topaz was named the state gemstone. Neither of these stones are found statewide, though both are known for their beauty and are often cut and polished to be worn as jewelry.

Petrified palmwood is the state rock of Texas as well as Louisiana. These two states share a border, and it is in this area that most of the petrified palmwood in Texas is found. In the Cretaceous period, approximately 100 million years ago, eastern Texas was a part of a large swamp, bordering on a large sea. This lush, tropical landscape was home to many palm trees, though the species of palm found in Cretaceous era Texas are now extinct.

In order to transform a palm tree into the state rock of Texas, palm trees had die and be covered by mud and clay before the living tissues in the trees rotted. Under the right conditions, the palm wood would mineralize, transforming from plant cells into the fossil, petrified palmwood. After millions of years, the wood of the palm tree was no longer wood but the compound silica, or silicon dioxide.

The state rock of Texas is about as hard as glass, though a bit more durable, and is often polished and cut to be used as jewelry or decorative pieces. Though all the original components of the living palm wood are gone, petrified palmwood looks like a slice of living wood, and the long fibers that helped keep the tree upright can still be seen in the fossil. Depending on how it is cut, these fibers can appear as dots, stripes or cones.

In addition to the state rock of Texas, there is a Texas state gemstone. Texas blue topaz, or simply blue topaz, is found near the center of the state, especially in the area around Mason County. It has a light blue color, though an artificially produced blue topaz may appear as a deep blue.

Structurally, there is no difference between blue topaz and any other color variation of this stone. It is found throughout the world and is made of aluminum, fluorine, and silicate, which combine in a predictable crystalline structure. In Texas, both blue and clear topaz can be found, though the blue is considerably rarer, with deeper blues exceedingly difficult to find.

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Discussion Comments
By kylee07drg — On Sep 07, 2011

I have a cousin who lives in Texas. She makes jewelry and sells it at arts and crafts fairs and festivals. She uses a lot of blue topaz and palmwood in her designs, because these are big hits in the state.

She has one necklace that sells really well there. It is made from both stones, and people buy it to show their loyalty to their state.

She alternates palmwood with blue topaz along a strong brown thread. The stones go all the way around the necklace to the clasp, which has to be pretty sturdy to support the weight.

By seag47 — On Sep 06, 2011

I was born in December in Texas, so it is super appropriate that my birthstone is blue topaz. I love it, and I have several pieces of jewelry made out of it.

Blue topaz comes in three shades. These are London Blue, Swiss, and Sky. The deepest of these is London Blue. I have earrings in this shade, and it is really beautiful. Though it is a saturated blue, it is still lighter than a sapphire.

Blue topaz gets its color when it is heated, regardless of whether nature or man heats it. Of course, when a person heats it, they can control how deep of a blue it gets.

By Oceana — On Sep 06, 2011

@StarJo - My uncle thinks that petrified palmwood healed him of back and hip pain. Someone told him that it was known for its power to strengthen that area of the body and improve energy levels, so he bought it.

Personally, I think it’s all mental. He believes in it, so it works for him. I’m not about to debunk his theory in front of him, though, because then it might lose its effectiveness.

He keeps a polished piece of palmwood in his pocket all day. Before, he walked stiffly and had a lot of pain in his joints. Now, he walks around like he did twenty years ago. I think his mind has freed his body from its pain.

By StarJo — On Sep 05, 2011

My aunt has a necklace with a pendant of petrified palmwood. It has been polished so that it shines. It is brown with dark dots all over it.

She bought it from a store that carries lots of gemstones and rocks. The clerk told her that legend holds that petrified palmwood can remove petty annoyances. So, she bought it to wear to work, because one of her coworkers gets on her last nerve.

Though she wore it every day, her coworker continued to annoy her. Now, she just wears it because it looks cool and complements most of her wardrobe.

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