Fossil Preparation



About Fossil Preparation


Only rarely is a fossil discovered in the field in perfect condition, and a good practical assumption is never. The best and rarest fossils are often sent to a professional fossil preparator, who in the U.S. might charge in the range of $25 to $40 per hour in the U.S. in 2013. The better ones command the highest rates and usually have a long queue. The lower rates apply to less experienced part-timers. You can quickly surmise that the pros don't get wealthy doing fossil prep, far from it. Even at these modest rates, preparing a fossil can run up a tidy tab. Of course, the owner or dealer, will often want the fossil to be repaired and prepared to look as pristine as possible.

Below are some examples of fossils that have been professionally prepared:

Fossil Preparation Example 1: Holosteus mariae Oligocene fish fossil from Carpathian Mountains, Poland
The Holesteus fossil came from the quarry in fifteen pieces as shown in the before image. The matrix was reassembled and smoothed out, and the cracks skillfully covered. There is some 3% restoration. Specifically the tip of the snout/ethmoid (nasal) area, and a 3/8 x 5/8” oblong shaped insertion on the top-side of the body immediately in front of the dorsal fin. This fish fossil required some 20 hours of preparation by a U.S. expert. Such time and expense is only warranted because at 18 inches, and with superb preparation, it ranks as a rare and highly desirable fossil for serious collectors.
Before Preparation
After Preparation

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