Ten Things you may not Know About Ammolite
1. The Ammolite Gemstone was granted status as an official organic Gemstone in 1981
It may come as a surprise since the industry has been around for over 40 Years. But as a gemstone, ammolite was only granted official Gemstone Status in 1981. Granted by the Coloured Stones Commission of the World Jewellery Confederation (CIBJO) – and according to the GIA (Gemological institute of America). This makes Ammolite one of the most recent Gemstones to be added to the official list, additionally cementing the stone as one of the most sought after gemstones to come from Canada. As a result, many have referred to Ammolite as Canada’s Gemstone.
2. Ammolite is only found in the bearpaw formation in Alberta, Canada
Over 70 Million years ago in the sea bordering British Columbia and Alberta, Canada Ammonite cephalopods lived in the waters now called the bearpaw sea (part of the Western Interior seaway). Long fossilized and formed over millions of years – combined with time and immense pressure, a small percentage of these feature an Ammolite gem material on their surface. The result is the iridescent Ammolite Gemstone. The only known location for this gem material in such quantities in found in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, along the banks of the St. Mary’s river. Historically, ammonites with this material were once found in the eroding banks of the river in great supply, but as the demand for Ammolite grew, the supply of hand-mined ammolite started to vanish. Now, the Gemstone is typically uncovered via KORITE’s ethical mining practices to ensure we uncover the Ammolite with the lowest impact to the land as possible.
3. Ammolite is one of the rarest gemstones on earth
Due to the unique geological phenomenon which occurred outside of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada – it is correct to assume that Ammolite is now one of the rarest gemstones on earth. Much like some of the other rare gemological wonders such as the Black Opal, Tanzanite, or Alexandrite – Ammolite has a real scarcity which is rivaled by only a few other stones. So far the only place where Ammolite Gemstones have been produced is Alberta, Canada. And as the supply of surface mining has diminished its only a select few actively mine the Banks of the St. Mary’s river for the Ammolite Gemstone.
4. Ammonites are more closely related to the Octopus than the Nautilus
While most real lovers of Ammolite know this fact, it's one of the most unique things about the Ammolite Gemstone. Once a prehistoric cephalopod which lived in the bear paw sea, these creatures were most closely related to our common octopuses, squids, and cuttlefish, rather than the other shelled Nautilus species - Which may come as a surprise to many. The quantity of Ammonite fossils which are found worldwide are a real testament to the success that this species had for many years.
5. Ammolite can come in ANY colour, but some are rarer than others
Vibrant reds, blues and purples are the marquee representation of the Ammolite Gemstone. As with most gems the stones are graded according to their vibrance and rarity and Ammolite is no exception. The width of the stone itself and the orientation of the Aragonite results in refraction across the entire rainbow, producing every imaginable colour in the rainbow. This is often why the Ammolite gemstone is referred to as the “Rainbow Gemstone”. That said, most often reds, yellows and oranges are the most common colours which are present in the stone – and blues and purples tend to be a more rare and delicate wonder inside the stone.
6. Ammolite can come in a wide array of patterns
Ammolite can often come in a wide array of patterns – From the scaley type of pattern often referred to as “Dragonskin” Ammolite, to stained glass Ammolite and beyond. Quite often there is a connection between the depth that the Ammonite is found and the colour and orientation/pattern of the stone. There is no end to the orientation or uniqueness to each ammolite gemstone. This fact, combined with the wide array of colours produces as truly one of a kind stone, with every single stone being unique from one another, making your ammolite truly yours.
7. Ammolite is a Sacred stone to the Blackfoot peoples of Canada
The Buffalo Stone (also referred to as “Iniskim”) is known to the indigenous Blackfoot Peoples of Southern Alberta as a powerful and significant stone derived from the fossilized remnants of the ammonite, or baculite. These stones are said to possess unique properties, and Blackfoot legend dictates that the first Buffalo Stone saved an entire clan of starving people. You can learn more about the connection in our recent blog regarding the stones historical significance to the blackfoot people
8. Ammonite was originally named after the Egyptian god Amun
The Egyptian Sun-god Amun or Amon-Ra was often depicted as a man with the head of a Ram. Based on the visual connection between a ram’s horns and the Ammonite fossil shape, the Phoenicians made this connection, and it is from this connection which Ammonite and subsequently Ammolite gets its name.
9. Ammolite was first put in Jewellery in 1960!
It may come as a surprise to some, but KORITE was one of the first to mine the stone, but also to put the stones into Jewlery for commercial use, well before it was granted official gemological status in 1981. Since then, KORITE has been the foremost supplier of the world's finest Ammolite Jewelry, and Canadian Ammonite fossils enjoyed by many.
10. Ammolite is a soft gemstone relative to diamonds
Ranking between 3.5-5.5 on the Moh’s hardness scale, as a Gemstone Ammolite is considerably softer than diamonds (10 on the Hardness scale). As such KORITE recommends the use of a quartz cap, which results in a more functional piece which will better withstand daily wear versus a naturally stabilized stone. When wearing and buying natural ammolite we recommend use in pendants most of all. Its very important to care properly for your ammolite, regardless of if it’s a triplet or naturally stabilized stone. Please refer to our care guide or recent blog for this information.