Very Rare Fossilized Bee in "Jelly" Opal

The fossilized bee in "Jelly" Opal is a rare and unique find. It was discovered in the Genteng Formation of Java, Indonesia, and is believed to be between 4 and 7 million years old.

Believed to be an extremely rare example of a fossilized insect in Opal - not Amber - an ancient bee in white "Jelly" Opal offered here may be only the SECOND such find consubstantial with the fossil insect in Opal now on display at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas, Texas. While research is limited at this point, and the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) may soon be writing an article on the fossil, there is some pertinent information relevant to the discovery.

This could be a case of something that started as Amber converting to Opal over time or a unique process whereby volcanic fluid fills faults, then cools down leaving water behind that ultimately results in silica deposits, thereby beginning the process of "Opalization" in such a rare instance.

Very Rare Fossilized Bee in "Jelly" Opal
Fossilized Bee in "Jelly" Opal. Pliocene/Miocene. Genteng Formation. Java, Indonesia.
Photo by: Heritage Auctions

Javanese Opal, also known as Kalimaya, has been mined since the 1970s in a number of regions including the Cilayang Pits known for producing the white "Jelly" Opal. Dating to Lower Pliocene and Upper Miocene in age, fossils found in any such deposits should date to some 4 to 7 million years ago. The fossilized bee is clearly visible preserved in the white Opal free-form specimen of smooth 'organic' shape with hints of colorful Opal confirming its rare and unique natural origin.

The discovery of the fossilized bee is significant because it provides new insights into the evolution of bees. The bee's features are similar to those of modern bees, but there are also some key differences. For example, the fossilized bee has a longer abdomen than modern bees, which suggests that it may have had a different diet.

See also: Fossilized Insect Discovered Not in Amber, But in Opal

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