CRYSTAL TALES & VIDEOS
LOOKING AT THE SKY
THROUGH KALEIDESCOPE EYES
I’ve been fascinated by trilobites ever since I saw one in a friend's belt buckle decades ago. They are found as fossils and they were a species that inhabited the world’s ocean floors and became extinct over 250 million years ago. People collect them and inventive jewelers make them into wearable art.
But what has always struck me about them is their eyes. They are actually made out of calcite crystals. Imagine being a creature living in an antediluvian swamp looking up at the stars through crystal eyes.
They may not be the most expressive eyes you’ve ever seen…but they are amazing. Because trilobite lenses are made of calcite instead of soft tissue, they’ve been preserved in the fossil record along with the rest of their exoskeleton. This was probably nature’s first experiment with multi-faceted eyes. Then there’s the trilobite’s cousin, the horseshoe crab with 10 pairs of eyes along its body (but that’s another evolutionary story).
Trilobites died out at the end of the Permian, 251 million years ago, killed by the Permian mass extinction event that removed over 90% of all species on Earth. They were very diverse for much of the Palaeozoic, and today trilobite fossils are found all over the world.
Seems like they’ve always been collectible. Long before Europeans came to America, the Pahvant Ute people from what is now called Utah gathered Cambrian trilobites. Believing that the fossils harbored special powers, the natives carried them around as protective charms. These odd, petrified critters were given the name “Timpe-Konitza-Pachuee” or “little water bug living in a house of stone”.
Next time you come across a trilobite, perhaps in a friend’s mineral collection, think about this extinct creature looking at the sky through kaleidoscope eyes.
Written by, Jerry Tomlinson
Owner/Founder of Crystal Fair Marketplace & Shows