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Trinitydraco

Questions regarding solvents, sealants, and heat in trilobite fossils

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Trinitydraco

Okay so I have some questions on what you can and can't do with your typical trilobite in shale fossils. To help direct the discussion, I am interested in setting a small trilobite in silver as a gift. I make silver jewelry both using PMC (Precious Metal Clay) and traditional cutting and soldering. So, first question: Can you use high percentage (70% or higher) rubbing alcohol to clean all the dust and debris before sealing a trilobite? If not, what should I use? (I know you shouldn't use water) Question 2: What sealants can/should you use on a trilobite? I am looking for something that will be both waterproof and help prevent chipping. Question 3: Does anyone have any experience exposing them to high heat? It is common in jewelry making for heat to be involved, from both direct flame and indirect radiant heat. Is there any kind of precautions I should take and if so, what? What type of heat did you expose them to and what was the result? Different minerals act differently so remember we are talking about soft-medium shale. Question 4: Do you have any other advice or precautions you can give me regarding the use of fossil trilobites in/from shale matrix regarding their use in mixed media projects?

The information I gather on this will help dictate my methods and help me create a plan for my project. There are many different ways I can do this and want to get a better idea of my options. Thanks.

Picture is not of the exact trilobite to be used. It's just a reference for the kind of material/fossil I will be using.IMG_0687.thumb.JPG.bd663b01379c0a698b35bcd2c2a11e1b.JPG

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DevonianDigger

Not actually sure about the heat to be quite honest, but as for the other questions, high "proof" rubbing alcohol should be fine as it evaporates rather quickly. I would brush it on with a q-tip or something. I frequently expose my trilobtes to acetone during prep to remove excess cyanoacrylate used in the field. With regard to covering them, I recommend Zep high traffic floor polish as a quick and inexpensive alternative to Paraloid or other acetone soluble acrylic resins.

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DevonianDigger

I should note that if you're applying any liquid you want it to evaporate quickly and you want to take care to avoid it seeping in around the contact points or into cracks in the bug. Liquid has a nasty habit of undermining the contact points underneath the exoskeletons and can make them prone to falling off the rock depending on the matrix. I would be careful with this and shale.

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DPS Ammonite

High heat is going to be detrimental to both the trilobite and the plastic coating on the trilobite.

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