If you're a Michigander, you're undoubtedly familiar with the Petoskey Stone.....but not as many are aware that there is also a Charlevoix Stone, even though you've probably seen a good handful of 'em.

I remember having a few Charlevoix Stones when I was a kid, even though I didn't know what they were called; many times they are erroneously called Petoskey Stones.

What's the difference?

Petoskey Stones are made up of favosite, a fossilized pre-historic coral. The stones feature a design of sardine-packed, many-sided coral skeletons. In the center is a dark spot which was once the mouth of these creatures, that had tiny tentacles reaching out for food. If you come across a Petoskey Stone with a pinkish tint, hang on to it...that tint is iron that was absorbed into the coral as it fossilized.

The Charlevoix Stone's fossilized coral skeletons are much smaller and more tightly packed, with no dark center. Upon breaking one open, you'll see the coral shafts, which look pretty cool...that is, if you want to ruin the stone.

Some of the best places to look for both stones are all up and down the Lake Michigan shoreline between Grand Traverse Bay and Mackinaw City, and the islands that surround (and including) Beaver Island.

Best time to look for these stones? Springtime...the thawing of winter's ice means new stones have washed ashore!

Take a look at the photos below to see pictures of a Charlevoix Stone and how it differs from a Petoskey Stone.

Enter your number to get our free mobile app