Ammolite is a gemstone create from the shell of a fossilized sea creature that existed over 65 million years ago called an ammonite
. Ammolite is found exclusively in southern Alberta Canada, and occasionally in small parts of Montana. Ammolite comes in a wide variety of colors including red, blue, green, yellow, gold, pink, and many others. Ammolite is a very unique, very soft gemstone, and is rarely successfully imitated, though improper processing can have devastating effects on the quality.
About the Stone
Ammolite is a very soft gemstone, only 4.5-5 on the Mohs Scale
. It is one on only three organic gemstones (Ammolite, Pearl, and Amber). Ammolite is unique because it is a fossil as well as a gemstone, and thus protected under the Canadian Fossil Act.
Ammolite is only found in one part of the world; an area called the Bearspaw formation that extends through southern Alberta and into Montana. While Ammonites existed all over the world, it was the oil and mineral deposits in Alberta soil that preserved the magnificent gem colors we see today.
There is a distinct difference between Ammonites and Ammolite. An Ammonite is the creature, Ammolite is the gem. Ammolite is a fairly recent gemstone, one of only three precious gemstones declared in the past 50 years. It was declared a gemstone in 1981, and it was given precious gemstone status in 2004.
Ammolite has long been believed to be a stone of luck by the Blackfoot Indians and is called Inskim or Buffalo Stone. This name refers to a Blackfoot legend wherein a woman first discovers the stone and it brings luck to her tribe. The tribe is suffering from hunger, and the next day after discovering the stone and bringing it back to their camp, a huge gathering of buffalo was spotted nearby. Ammolite is believed to possess healing powers and is often added to medicine bundles.
Feng Shui followers believe Ammolite has the power to detoxify the body and improve overall well being by improving the body’s flow if energy. Feng Shui supporters also believe that each different color of Ammolite influences the wearer differently.
Ammolite is a very soft stone, and in a natural polished state in not likely safe in a ring setting because of the amount of wear it would receive. Ammolite will scratch easily and is often covered with a crystal
cap to protect the stone.
Crystal, Quartz, or Spinel Caps are all acceptable, but can sometimes separate from the gem (just as a opal does) producing a foggy look to the piece. This can happen to even the best Ammolite companies, but most reputable companies should have a policy in place regarding separated cabs, so be sure to ask.
One treatment applied to Ammolite that is not acceptable is what’s called coating. Coating is a process whereby a lacquer or epoxy is poured over the gem and allowed to harden. While it looks beautiful for the time being, problems arise over time:
- Coatings are designed for wood, not rock, and tend to degrade as time goes by. Water can get between the stone and the coating, creating fogging, yellowing, or a duller stone appearance.
- Coatings get small scratches on the surface that can never be polished out, eventually ruining the look of the stone.
- Coatings have the tendency to misrepresent the stone, giving it a higher quality look than the piece actually is (usually one to two grades)
- Changing the size of the stone at a later date is nearly impossible when the stone is coated.
Ammolite in Jewelry
Be sure to trust your source when you buy Ammolite. If a company is selling Ammolite, they should be able to tell you quite a bit about the gemstone, including how it is graded, where it comes from, and whether the piece is a natural, doublet, or triplet piece. If they cannot answer these simple questions to your satisfaction, do not buy.
Ammolite is a beautiful gemstone that comes in many colors and styles to complement almost any skin tone. The price is rapidly rising (between 2000 and 2005 it averaged about a 40% increase per year) and its limited quantities make this gem a great investment.
Gemstone Energy Medicine
I will personally vouch for the effectiveness of Gemisphere's necklaces. If you are interested in using gemstones for healing, these are the highest quality therapeutic gemstones you can find. Their website is extensive and informative as well. Highly recommended. |
About the Beadage Glossary
This glossary is growing all the time.
Please feel free to suggest a term to add.
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Have a suggestion or question?
Is there a word you'd like to know the definition to? Is anything unclear or incorrect?
We'd love to hear from you.
Meet our sponsors...