Edinburgh’s famous fossil shop was founded in 1987 by fossil hunter Stan Wood. Matt Dale began as manager before buying the business in 2006. Over the years, the business has forged an international reputation for quality and value, and Matt travels widely to carefully select stock from all over the world. While the shop has a wide-ranging customer base, from the collector to the fascinated tourist, it also helps museums and universities source display specimens and handling collections.

Fossils and minerals can be beautiful natural objects, a combination of aesthetic and curiosity factors making for appealing decorative pieces. There’s the age, for one thing. Fifty million year old fish, meteorites as old as the planet – a sense of perspective to accompany the natural beauty. The iconic spiral shells of ammonites, rich, earthy tones of slabs of fossil wood, or the framed tooth of a giant shark or dinosaur – something a little different and a memorable talking point.

These aren’t manufactured products, of course. Every example is a unique individual, and it can be a very subjective appeal, which means it’s always worth taking a closer look and choosing carefully. It can take a while to make your way around the shop, in the city’s historic Grassmarket in the Old Town. If you can’t make it there in person, there’s a website with a good range of the smaller lines to explore, and you can always contact the shop to ask about other possibilities.

0131 220 1344 / www.mrwoodsfossils.co.uk