Ammonite! A unique Canadian stone found only in the Canadian West near Drumheller, Alberta. One Canadian company registered the trade name of “Ammolite” for the deposit discovered on an Albertan farm. The easiest way to remember which is which is to look in the name. The “L” in Ammo”l”ite is the legal name. The “N” in Ammo”n”ite is the natural mineral name. Both apply to exactly the same material, the remains of the giant spiral shelled sea creature, the prehistoric Ammonite.
Once upon a long, long time ago, there was a great sea incursion throughout North America’s central area. As the geography elevated, it cut the sea off from the rest of the waters and began to dry up while inching slowly northward. The final puddle dried up after forcing a concentration of enormous number of giant cephalopods, called Ammonites, in this area. Generations of effluvia covered the remains and petrified them with Aragonite. The jewellery we have today are recovered pieces of these ancient shells. Unlike petrified wood, it has an Aragonite replacement instead of a Quartz replacement at the cellular level. Similar in cell structure to the Mother of Pearl material found today in the interior of certain mollusks, it has been referred to as “Grandmother of Pearl”. Ammonite fossils of a much more modest size are found all over the world but only the Giants of Canada exhibit the wonderful play of colours that make this an amazing Gem. Ammonite fossils have been found intact as large as four feet in diameter.
There are two distinct types of Ammonite fossil used in jewellery. One is the relatively large single plate types showing one or two dominant colours. This type is often less stable and is usually capped with a clear hard mineral cap for protection. “Faceted” Ammonite is actually a result of a specially cut clear protective cap that gives the appearance of the gem itself being cut. This is not actually the case. The other material comes from a greater depth and was much more densely compressed. It looks more like lizard skin with multiple small sections. It usually exhibits a much more varied play of colours. It can often be worn natural as it is much more stable.
Since Ammonite fossil is a relatively fragile Gem, neither type of stone should ever be worn without a cap, unprotected, when it is set in a ring. Even with a cap, a sharp blow to the edge of the “doublet” can cause delamination of the cap from the stone. It could also cause the stone to fracture, a difficult problem to repair. Stones destined for pendants or earrings are not as exposed to danger and can safely be used either capped or natural. Ammonite should be treated like fine Pearls or precious Opals.
Some Ammonite display a directional play of colour. That is, it looks much better when viewed from one direction than any other. When this is the case, the stone is better used set in earrings or as a pendant where the viewing is forced by the position that it is set in. Ammonite is available set in sterling and in various colours and Karatages of Gold. A fine piece is often accentuated with Diamonds. We have a substantial amount of uncut and unset Ammonite in stock. Please come in to view this rare and Canadian Gemstone.