Fairy Stones, A.K.A Abitibi Glacial Clay Concretions

Fairy stones are one of Mother Natures sweet unique gifts that bring a bit of fairy magic into your life. Clay stone glacial concretions are known by many names around the world. They are called “Fairy Stones” in Scotland, Ireland and Quebec, “Imatra Stones” in Finland,and “Mud-babies” or “Clay Dogs” in Connecticut.

They are also known as Abitibi by the American Indians. The Abitibi stone or “Fairy Stone” shown in the above photo was picked on the shores of the Harricana River, Abitibi, Quebec, Canada. It was formed thousands of years ago and is a calcite-based concretion made of fine sand and clay, that was solidified by nature. The morphology (shape) of the concretion varies by locality. You will note that the the one in the photo is very smooth, other locations can form rough surfaces. This unique form of these Abitibi stones are a phenomenon unique to Northern Quebec. They tend to be spherical in shape and a light to deep colored gray. The superior face of the concretion is usually smooth and regular and the interior face is often rough with puffed up spheres. The irregular lines on the stones are caused by traces left by miniature worms or organic remains which were fossilized thousands of years ago. Many are found on the bottom of the big Lakes with a glacier origin. This form is one of my favorites.

When the Algonquin’s first came up the Harricana River in their canoes towards Abitibi and stopped on the beaches they saw these pebbles which looked like biscuits. Hence they named the river, Harricana, meaning “River of Biscuits”. “The Algonquin Indians, pronounced, Al-GONkin called them “Fairy Stones” and often carried them as lucky charms or talismans when they
went on fishing or hunting expeditions. According to legend, these stones assured protection against bad spirits and protected homes and their occupants. They were also believed to bring good health and prosperity to those who carried them or had them in their home. Lovers offered the most beautiful “Fairy Stones” to their loved one. The largest specimens occupied a
place of honor in the home.

Fairy Stones are as you would imagine associated with nature and fairy folk, as well as the root chakra and the Earth element. I find them to be a peaceful energy and make for a nice meditation companion.

There is another form of Fairy stones that are twinned staurolite crystals that form into a cross.

This particular one is found in a State Park in Patrick County called “Fairy Stone State Park” in which a 50 acre field sits atop of Bull Mountain. To this day, many people go and pick the Fairy Stones that seem to pop out of the soil in that region. These twinned staurolite crystals often form into a cross shape that simulate the Roman, Maltese, and St. Andrew’s crosses and are usually brown in color. They can be as large as an inch in length. As the earth’s crust heated, cooled and folded during the formation of the Appalachian Mountain range, iron aluminum silicate crystallized into six-sided shapes. These staurolite crystals, like quartz and diamonds, are harder than surrounding materials, so the crystals erode at a slower rate than the softer surrounding material. As the softer materials wash away the crystals literally come to the earth’s surface. Fairy stones formed in this area of the country are primarily made up of staurolite, which is a combination of silica, iron, and aluminum. Staurolite crystallizes at 60 or 9- degree angles, hence the sometimes cross-like structure.

These specimens are found in the soft deposits of the Quaternary where they were found in the ponds having occupied the depression of the retreat of the glacial front and then were carried by the water and deposited on the shores of the lakes. The legend of this region is that hundreds of years ago before the reign of Chief Powhatan, fairies were dancing around a spring of water when an elfin messenger arrived from a faraway city to tell them about the death of Christ. When the creatures of the forest heard the story of the crucifixion, they wept. As their tears fell upon the earth, they crystallized to form beautiful crosses. The Fairy Stones that formed in this region in Virginia were formed during the rise of the Appalachian Mountains.

Many people believed that if they wore or carried these fairy stones it would protect them from harm or illness. Once found, the stones are cleaned and dried.

Often people apply a light coat of sealant to bring sheen and prevent scratching. The coating also prevents the natural oils in your fingers from discoloring the specimen. If you have one that has a sealant on it and you want to return it to its natural state you can do so by soaking it in 1 cup of warm water with 2 tablespoons of vinegar for 15 minutes. Brush the stone gently with a toothbrush, rinse well several times and let air dry.

Wishing you a fun journey in your rock hound travels.

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With love,

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