Name: Hollardops mesocristata Family: Asteropyginae
Age: Middle Devonian (395 mya), Hamar L'Aghdad Limestone
Location: Djebel Issoumour area , Maider, Atlas Mts., Morocco
Trilobite authenticity - Yes, there are fake trilobites on the market, but not too many and they are typically confined to low end / "bargain" dealers, eBay, Etsy, etc. Below are some of the common signs of trilobite fakes.
1. If the price of a rare or exquisite spiny trilobite is inexpensive, there is a reason. It would be fake or a heavily restored trilobite with little collector value.
2. If you see 2 or 3 or a dozen or more trilobites that all look identical and are neatly positioned on matrix, they are fakes. Each trilobite will be unique. Each should show some flaws.
3. If you see the matrix around the trilobite is a different color & texture or worse yet, the matrix is around the trilobite is starting to separate or delaminate from the surrounding rock. You are looking at a fake trilobite mold glued onto matrix.
4. If you a matrix piece with 3, 4 or more different trilobite species which are all neatly spaced and all complete, they are fakes. Sometimes you will see them in a bowl configuration.
The bottom line - Know your dealer, their reputation, and their willingness to certify their products and fully refund your costs. We certify all of our products. Please ask questions if in doubt.
About the preparation - This group of trilobites was German prepped or German preparation directed to ensure that there was no restoration or colorization. So, everything is natural. The best Moroccan preparators are very good and now have proper tools and techniques. You will see the faint cracks in the matrix that exposed the trilobite. You may see faint cracks in the of the trilobite shell which were also how the trilobite was exposed. You will see natural pathologies or flaws prior to fossilization. And you may see some minor damage that occurred while digging or preparation. Nothing is covered up in this group, but the flaws are so small and minor that is does not take away from overall aesthetics of the trilobite. Many preparators will cover up these flaws with putty and paint. These trilobites are natural and highly attractive without restoration.
XM34 analysis - XM34 is exceptional. The end of one body spine shows a crack. A fantastic specimen.