The modern commercial fossil industry is huge. Gone are the times when fossils were accessible only to a select few. Now, with hundreds of sellers offering a wide variety of fossils, from dinosaur fossils to trilobites and everything in between, it has become easier than ever to buy them, even online. But this has also led to the emergence of fake and fabricated fossils that are passed off as authentic and sold for thousands of dollars. Although the fake fossil market is rather small, it does exist.
If you are planning to buy a trilobite fossil, it is crucial that you know how to spot fake fossils so that you don’t get swindled out of your money. With that said, you should also keep in mind that the methods used to locate trilobite fossils are quite destructive. They require you to break and split rocks, which often causes the fossils to break. So, some amount of repair and restoration is sometimes unavoidable. But fossils that are completely fake are a whole other story. Here are a few ways in which you can identify them:
Air bubbles in exoskeleton
One of the easiest ways to identify fake trilobites is to look for tiny air bubbles in the exoskeleton or the matrix. Resin is commonly used to cast fake fossils and the holes are formed during the resin’s hardening process. As these holes are normally less than half a millimeter in diameter, they can be slightly hard to spot with the naked eye. Such fossils by made by mounting the cast trilobite onto the matrix, which is then mounted onto a piece of actual rock.
Differences in matrix color
When examining Devonian trilobites, pay special attention to the color of the matrix. If you find that there are differences in the color of the matrix and the rock, it could mean that the fossil is a fake. For instance, if you see light brown around the trilobite while the rest of the rock is a dark gray, this indicates a probable forgery. The rock is usually of a uniform dark gray color or is either slightly reddish or yellow. Untampered trilobites should have even colors.
Soft to the teeth
If possible, bite into the fossil. This, although seemingly unappealing, is one of the most effective ways to determine if a certain trilobite fossil is real or a fake. Fake trilobites might feel soft to the teeth as they are cast from resin. Don’t worry about this test damaging a real trilobite as it is definitely much harder than the fakes.
One of the most crucial things you need to keep in mind when buying trilobite fossils, or any fossil for that matter, is the price. If you find fossils at prices that seem too good to be true, avoid buying them. Cheap prices are a good indication of forgery.
To ensure that you get authentic fossils at the right price, buy from reputable and professional sellers like Buried Treasure Fossils. We offer a selection of precious collectible fossils, including trilobite fossils, shark teeth, dinosaur fossils, pine cone fossils, and so much more.