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Ammolite - Formation, Location and Usage

The colorful iridescent Ammolite awakens the desire to discover secrets and also to take a closer look at the things behind things. The joy of the beautiful sides of life and the diversity of things is strengthened. Ammolite stabilizes Developments that are too fast and too restless and leads to more constancy, but without becoming inflexible.


Mineralogical profile of Ammolite

Chemical Formula:CaCO3 + Ba,Fe,Mn,Pb,Sr,Zn (aragonite from the Mother of Pearl of the ammonite shell)
In addition, calcite, quartzite, pyrite and other minerals occur in variable proportions. A number of trace elements (aluminum, barium, chromium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, strontium, titanium, and vanadium) are found in the shell of the ammonites themselves.
Formation: By fossilization of Mother of Pearl from the aragonite-bearing shells of prehistoric ammonites. Together with Amber and pearls, Ammolite is one of the biogenic gemstones. Ammolite is extremely rare, correspondingly expensive and occurs in much smaller quantities than most known gemstones such as tourmalines, beryls or quartz. During the collecting season in spring and summer only a few pieces of completely preserved ammonites with good colors are found per month. In addition, there are small quantities of fragments of gem quality fossils. In 1981, along with a market introduction of the previously quite unknown stone, extraction began in a larger open pit mine by the mining company Korite International. 
Color, Transparency: Iridescent in rainbow colors, opaque. The gemstone is composed of the finest aragonite platelets, which produce the variegated colors by interference of light. Good Ammolite shows a play of colors, which is in no way inferior to the most precious Opal in no way inferior.
Crystal system: rhombic
Moh hardness: 4.5 - 5.5
Cleavability: none
Appearance: iridescent colorful, highly opalescent surface
Sites: Canada (Alberta). Only two small mines are currently active, recovering Ammolite from a thin layer of the Bearpaw Formation. The sites are located along the St. Mary River near Lethbridge in southwestern of Alberta. The exploration and trade of Ammolite is strictly controlled. Only government-registered material is allowed out of the country.

Pendants, polished pieces and drilled pieces of Ammolite can be found here in our wholesale web store



Origin of the name Ammolite and synonyms

Ammolite" is the trade name for the gem quality of a colorful iridescent fossil shell of two ammonites: Placenticeras meeki and Placenticeras intercalare. The name. Ammolite is a composition of "ammonite" and "lithos" (Greek for stone). In the German-speaking area two spellings "Ammolith" derived from "lithos" (stone) and "Ammolit" as a Germanized term of the original English designation Ammolit.

Ammmolite is also found under the trade names Calcentin and Korit. At its place of discovery in Canada, the Ammolite is called "Aapoak"  (small, creeping stone) in the languages of the native peoples of the Blackfoot tribe living there; this name goes back to the colorful iridescent play of colors of the gemstone. The name "Iniskim" (buffalo stone) refers to the custom of wearing Ammolite pieces as talismans when hunting buffalo.


Formation of Ammolite

The formation history of the Ammolite goes back about 70 - 75 million years to the Cretaceous period, when the Rocky Mountains were formed. East of them was a huge sea, the Western Interior Seaway, which connected the Arctic Ocean with what is now the Gulf of Mexico. This sea was populated by many creatures, including sea turtles, bony fish, and ammonites. After the ammonites died, their shells sank to the bottom of the inland sea, where they were covered by clay. The ammonite shells were compressed and often broken by the pressure of the overlying sediments; the finding of pieces preserved as a whole is very rare.

This process has taken place in various parts of the world, for example, in the area of present-day Morocco and on Madagascar. The ammonites there fossilized by replacing aragonite with calcite; the easily soluble aragonite was The easily soluble aragonite was dissolved out, the resulting cavities were filled with other minerals (mostly calcite) or remained in their structure. Also by high temperatures above 400° C the aragonite was transformed into calcite. 
In the east of the Rocky Mountains, the area where the Ammolites were found, however, world-wide unique conditions prevailed: due to the volcanic eruptions of the forming Rocky Mountains, the Ammonites were not covered with clay, but with very air-impermeable volcanic ash. In addition, the ammonite-bearing layers were not pushed into deeper, hotter areas by overlying sediments, so there was no heat-related transformation of aragonite to calcite. Thus the Canadian Ammolites are some of the few fossils that contain aragonite. 


The fascinating play of colors is not created by the inherent color of the material or the refraction of light, but by interference, i.e. the overlapping of light waves. Depending on the thickness of the layer, the Ammolite shimmers red or green; with thinner layers, a blue or yellow color play occurs. 
The thickness of the ammolite layer is about 0.5 to 0.8mm; the underlying matrix is usually calcareous marl or limestone. The cracked texture of the ammolite layer was formed by the pressure of the overlying layers; this looks like the skin of a dragon or a lizard, occasionally the pattern also reminds of stained glass windows. 

Use of Ammolite

The first users of Ammolite were the people of the Blackfoot First Nation (Canadian aborigines). They have known the Ammolite for centuries under the term Iniskim ("buffalo stone"). According to legend, Ammolites were worn as talismans during the hunt. have been worn. 
In the 1960s, the history of Ammolite as an internationally popular gemstone began. In 1981, the CIBJO (Confédération International de la Bijouterie, Joaillerie, Orfèvrerie des Diamants, Perles et Pierres) included the Ammolite in the list of recognized gemstones. In 2004, the Ammolite became the official gemstone of the province of Alberta and a "National Treasure." 
Ammolite is considered the rarest organic gemstone. Because it is soft and delicate, it requires special processing, which is known exactly only to a few experts. This processing makes the stone more resistant and colorful. Besides cutting it into the desired shapes, the stone must be carefully polished, because a rough surface scatters light too much and therefore shows only duller colors. A coating with a resin provides stabilization of the thin flakes, in which Ammolite is present.

Applications of Ammolite in gemstone healing

In modern stone healing, Ammolite represents harmony, dignity and splendor. It promotes the sense of beauty, attraction and seductive appeal. Ammolite awakens interest in mystery and dissolves mental fixations.

Because Ammolite was only recently discovered as a therapeutic stone, research into stone healing is still ongoing and it is expected that more interesting properties will be discovered in the coming years.
An astrological assignment of the Ammolite has not yet been made.

Pendants, one side polished pieces and drilled pieces of Ammolite can be found here in our wholesale web shop


Visit on the Ammolite site in Canada

Through the numerous contacts from over 40 years of company history of Marco Schreier Mineralienhandlung, it was possible for company founder and owner Marco Schreier to visit the finding area of Ammolite in Alberta / Canada in the fall of 2021. Really amazing how hidden and inconspicuous this fascinating gemstone is at first, until expert eyes and knowledgeable hands bring the material in all its beauty to light!

Pendants, polished pieces and drilled pieces of Ammolite can be found here in our wholesale webshop