Turritella Agate: Fossilized Snail Gemstone

Turritella agate is a fossilized gemstone formed from the unique combination of ancient snail shells and mineral deposits. Characterized by a brown or black translucent agate base with contrasting white or tan fossilized snail shells, often in a spiral pattern.

Turritella Agate is named after the fossilized shells of Elimia tenera, a type of freshwater snail that existed during the Eocene Epoch, rather than the marine Turritella genus as was previously believed. These snails inhabited the ancient lakes that covered the region of what is now Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah approximately 50 million years ago.

The distinctive feature of Turritella Agate is the presence of spiral-shaped shells within the stone, which often appear as brown or black elongated shapes against a lighter background. These fossils can sometimes be polished to reveal intricate details of the shells.

Turritella agate is a bit of a misnomer

Geologically speaking, it's not actually agate. It's a fossiliferous chert, meaning it's a fine-grained sedimentary rock composed primarily of silica that contains a wealth of fossilized remains.

The fossilized creatures within Turritella agate are also incorrectly identified. They belong to the Elimia tenera species, freshwater snails, Not Turritella snails which are marine.


Turritella Agate
Turritella Agate

Turritella Agate Properties

Turritella agate is valued for both its beauty and its believed metaphysical properties. Here's a breakdown of its characteristics:

Scientific Properties

Type: Fossiliferous chert, not a true agate

Composition: Primarily silica with fossilized Elimia tenera snail shells

Color: Typically Brown to black, sometimes with hints of yellow.

Transparency: Can be translucent (light passes through faintly) to semi-transparent (partially allows light passage).

Formation: Around 50 million years ago in the Green River Formation.

Hardness: Turritella agate has a hardness of 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale. This makes it a relatively hard and durable material, suitable for various jewelry and ornamental uses.

Associated Minerals: Often found with other sedimentary rocks or minerals like limestone, shale, calcite, dolomite, and sandstone.

Turritella Agate
Turritella Agates

Metaphysical Properties

Turritella Agate is believed by some to possess various metaphysical properties, though it's essential to note that these beliefs are not scientifically proven and are based on personal interpretations and traditions. Here are some commonly attributed properties of Turritella Agate:

Grounding: Like many other types of agate, Turritella Agate is thought to have grounding properties, helping to anchor and stabilize the wearer to the present moment and the physical world.

Protection: It is believed to offer protection from negative energies and promote a sense of security and safety.

Connection to Earth: Because Turritella Agate contains fossilized snails from ancient seas, some people feel that it fosters a deep connection to the earth's history and natural cycles.

Strength and Endurance: The spiral patterns within Turritella Agate are reminiscent of resilience and endurance, leading some to associate the stone with qualities of strength and perseverance.

Emotional Healing: It may aid in emotional healing by promoting a sense of calmness, acceptance, and understanding. Some believe it can help in overcoming past traumas or emotional wounds.

Harmony: Turritella Agate is said to balance emotions and promote harmony within oneself and in relationships with others.

Spiritual Growth: It is thought to support spiritual growth and evolution by encouraging introspection, self-awareness, and alignment with one's true purpose.

These properties are subjective and may vary from person to person. If you're drawn to Turritella Agate and resonate with its energies, you might find it beneficial to incorporate it into your spiritual practices or wear it as jewelry for its aesthetic appeal and potential metaphysical benefits.


Turritella Agate Wyoming
"Turritella Agate" - partially chertified fossiliferous lacustrine limestone in the Eocene of Wyoming, USA.

Occurrence: Where is Turritella Agate found?

Turritella agate is found almost exclusively in one location: the Green River Formation in Wyoming, USA. The Green River Formation underlies parts of Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah. However, the specific geological conditions that led to the formation of Turritella agate only occurred within the Wyoming portion of the Green River Formation. This well-known rock formation is famous for its fossils, including the abundant snail shells that became incorporated into the agate.

How old is Turritella agate?

Turritella agate is estimated to be between 53.5 and 48.5 million years old. This age range falls entirely within the Eocene epoch. While the exact age can vary depending on the specific location, most sources place Turritella agate formation within this timeframe.


Turritella Agate
Turritella Agate


Turritella agate has a few main areas of use, combining its beauty as a gemstone with its interesting geological history:

Jewelry Making: The most popular use for Turritella agate is in crafting jewelry. The contrasting colors and mesmerizing spiral patterns of the fossilized shells make it a truly unique material for rings, necklaces, pendants, and other adornments.

Fossil Collecting: Since Turritella agate showcases both agate and well-preserved fossils, it's a prized possession for collectors interested in both gemstones and paleontology.

Turritella agate is a unique and captivating gemstone that offers a tangible connection to the ancient world. Its beauty and history make it a valuable addition to jewelry collections and a fascinating subject for anyone interested in geology or fossils.

Read also:
Organic gemstones
Agatized Wood: Gemstone, Value, Uses
Types of Agate With Photos

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