Mined in Alberta, Canada, ammolite was recognized by the International Colored Gemstone Commission (ICGC) in 1981 as a new organic gemstone and is considered the rarest gemstone in the world.
The name "ammonite" is derived from the ancient Egyptian god named Ammon who believed these creatures were divine. Ammon is represented in ancient literature by the head of a ram with twisted spiral horns that are reminiscent of an ammonites spiraled shells. Pliny the Elder, the Roman historian, considered ammonite to be the holiest of stones because he believed it would summon dreams of prophesy.
Ammolite is the mineralized remains of an ammonite, the predecessor to the nautilus. This creature swam the oceans from the Paleozoic to the end of the Cretaceous era 65 to 70 million years ago and had coiled shells with chambers that filled with gas and provided both buoyancy and propulsion in the water. Although fossilized ammonites are found all over the world, supplies of the colorful iridescent gem quality ammolite are found only in southern Alberta, Canada, and only about 5% of this material actually yields gemstone material.
Ammolite forms from the mineralized remains of the ammonite shell which was exposed to tectonic pressure, mineralization, and intense heat. It is composed of 97% aragonite, 1% iron, 1% silica, and 1% trace minerals such as titanium, copper, chromium, magnesium, manganese, aluminum, barium, silicon, strontium, and vanadium.
It is aragonite that is responsible for the beautiful and intense color play in the stone. The aragonite crystals form thin scales and / or layers of various thickness and as light hits these layers it is diffracted and exhibits the intense reds, yellows, greens, blues and other colors of the rainbow seen in gem quality ammolite.
Ammolite is sold in its natural form, as a doublet or as a triplet. A triplet is made of a dark gray layer of shale on the bottom and a cap of clear optical quartz or synthetic spinel on top. Ammonite is extremely fragile and the top layer protects the stone and helps to show off the brilliant color flash while the bottom layer adds thickness and additional protection. Most ammolite is sold in triplet form.
Natural ammolite is a 3.5 - 4 on the Mohs scale and is extremely delicate and brittle but triplets with protective clear quartz or spinel caps increase the hardness to 7 to 8.5, making the stone more durable for jewelry.
Folklore, Legend, and Healing Properties:
The legend of Ammolite goes back to the Blackfoot tribe of North America. Ammolite was discovered by the native Indians and used by them for years to ward off evil spirits.
It is believed by some Feng Shui masters that ammolite absorbed cosmic energy from the universe and, through the stone, it gives the owner health, wealth, and enlightenment. Considered a high energy stone it is said to enhance the harmony, vitality, and overall well-being of visitors and occupants of a home. Ammonite with layers of ammolite is thought to enhance the flow of Qi (life energy), to radiate strength, and to alter negative energy to positive energy. It is said that even for those that do not believe in Feng Shui, the presence of ammolite is considered beneficial.
Students of Feng Shui believe that ammolite absorbed the knowledge of the universe and that benefits are gained by anyone near it. The colors of ammolite represent the harmonious balance of fire, earth, metal, water, and wood.