It goes without saying that many beginning collectors have found a fossil that needs extracting, cleaning or preparation. Seldom does it happen that specimens are prepared by the mother nature itself, and so do not require any work to be done. A professional preparation requires not only a specialistic equipment but first of all a lot of knowledge, time and manual skills. However, we might want to prepare the findings ourselves. The basic issue is to choose the right tools for the right type of rock. You should take into account a potential difference between the hardness of the specimen and the rock it is embedded in. Fossils extracted from the ground, loam or clay just need to be washed with soap and water, and wiped with a cloth if needed. Limestone fossils generally need to have the outermost layer removed. Chisels come in handy in this task, but you might also substitute one with a hard screwdriver, a hand engraving machine, or a mini grinder with a wide range of milling cutters and brushes. Fossils embedded in various types of slates and chalk are especially prone to damage during preparation. The latter matrix sometimes requires a scraper, a paintbrush, a soft brush and a sharp object, e.g. a pin. The hardest to prepare are the specimen embedded in flint or ironstone; however, if we succeed in cracking the rock in the right place, it might turn out that the fossil is very well preserved. Aside from the mechanical preparation, there is are also chemical techniques, but they require a higher level of initiation, and are dangerous in a certain way. We do not recommend it as a first-choice method. The only cheap and easy chemical technique to prepare a fossil using a vinegar solution bath. If the fossil is harder than the matrix, you might want to boil it in the vinegar solution an hour or so. One should bear in mind that ammonite shells are also made of chalk, so if we overdo the solution or the time we might lose the rose along with the fossil.
Below we present you a few tools and utensils helpful in preparation: