Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Fossils are In!

Two years ago I went to the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show on a mission. I had decided that I would set ammonites in my back splash at Desert's Edge, the house I am renovating in the Tucson Mountains. I went nuts and bought 40 pounds of these gorgeous 110 million year old fossils from Madagascar. They look like nautilus shells, cut open to expose the chambers, which can be filled with gold, peach, rust or lavender minerals. Some of the chambers have quartz crystals in them, and some of the septa between the chambers have been replaced with pyrite (fool's gold). I am completely enchanted with my ammonites, and have been admiring them on the buffet for two years, but no more! Now they are set among the four-inch travertine tile above the astoundingly gorgeous granite counters.

I hired Jack Langley with Southwest Design, who hired Kevin who hired Juan, who figured out how to do this. I had talked to a few tilers about what I wanted to do, and everyone but Jack had said it would be impossible to set these fossils, which taper from 1/4" to 3/4" deep, among the tile. I hate it when people tell me something's impossible. Anyway, Jack was game, but it was Juan who figured that instead of punching holes in the drywall to make the fossils lie flat, he could saw off the backs in his whetsaw. I watched him hold the first fossil in his hands against the spinning saw and told him to forget it, I didn't need these fossils in my back splash as much as he needed his fingers. It looked really scary, and Desert's Edge already has enough bad karma without adding the blood of a tiler. But Juan assured me he could to this without cutting his fingers off. The results exceeded my expectations by 110 million years.

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