Rare Gogotte Formation

Prehistoric Objects

Gogottes are prehistoric, naturally occurring sandstone concretions. They are formed from quartz crystals and calcium carbonate when superheated water extrudes through crevices over time into a basin of fine white silica sand. The silica then cements the sand together to form the gogottes' fluid lines, creating natural sculptures.

The finest specimens are found in Fontainebleau, France, renowned for its extremely fine-grained, porcelain-like sands. While concretions of sandstone are relatively common worldwide, the gogottes of Fontainebleau are of extreme rarity by virtue of their very fine grain, their pure and homogenous composition and the unique shapes sculpted by a particular sequence of natural geological forces. They are formed out of sands deposited during the Oligocene Period, approximately 30 million years ago.

Gogottes were a great inspiration to the Surrealists, as well as Louise Bourgeois and Henry Moore, and have captured the imaginations of some of the most powerful aristocrats in Europe. Louis XIV, “The Sun King” was so seduced by them, that he had numerous specimens excavated to decorate the gardens at the Palace of Versailles, and a great number of the ornately rounded, scrolling formations can be found surrounding the mysterious grove of the Three Fountains (designed by Le Nôtre in 1677 and reconstructed in 2004).

Type of Object
Rare Gogotte Formation
Naturally occurring sandstone concretion
Place of Origin
Fontainebleau, France
Oligocene Period, 30 million years old
11 x 20 ½ x 4 ¼ in x 28 x 52 x 11 cm
28 lbs : 12.8 kg

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