What is a crinoid and where do I find one?

What is a crinoid? Known in the area as one of our greatest treasures, crinoids can be found along the shores of Lake Michigan. Crinoids (also known as Indian Beads) are plantlike marine animals that lived over 500 million years ago back when our area was a saltwater sea. They are relatives to starfish. When searching for crinoids, many people find the small circular “disks” that have a very small star shape in the middle, but if you are lucky, you can find several of the disks that are still stuck together that formed part of the long stalk. Crinoids were used by indian tribes to make jewelry and people continue to do so today! You can often find earrings made from crinoids at local fairs or shops.

How can you find one? You need a good eye to find a crinoid. Expert beachcombers say they look for the dot, or star, in the center as they walk along the shore. Some will sit in one spot for hours sifting through stones to find them.

Best beaches for crinoids. The best time for any kind of beach combing is after a storm. Lots of new treasures are washed up. Look for areas with lots of stones, or right along the water’s edge. Central Ave. and Kemil beach are favorites for many, and both are dog friendly!