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I’ve seen the beautiful ammolite that comes from Canada, I’ve used it in
my jewelry. A couple of years ago at the Tucon GJX show there was a guy
from Russia who had some as well. I bought a piece. It looks alot
different than the Canadian variety but it has similar color and
direction. It’s patterning is much bigger, wide bands of color seperated
by thin matrix colored bands. Has anybody else seen this stuff? He had
about 10 pieces of the stuff most too large to use in jewelry (I still
have mine)

Has anybody else seen this stuff? He had about 10 pieces of the
stuff most too large to use in jewelry (I still have mine)

Hi Tzipora,

I was wondering if anyone else would mention this material. I saw some of
these stones as well, and a one of my other customers sent me some to
re-cut. They are a little tricky to do as the fire area is very thin and
they like to chip more than the Canadian material. Did you see the other
Russian ammonite cabs as well with the yellow calcite and pyrite matrix? I
have re-cut a few of those and they came out beautiful as well.
Unfortunatly I was not able to find out much history about these stones,
but I will see what I can dig up. Let me know if you would like yours
worked down to a more usable size.

Jason Penn
Jason Penn Designs
Your source for custom stone cutting

Recently I was in a local ammolite gem stone factory and this local
co. was manufacturing capped stones not only from Alberta ammolite
but also from Saskatchewan ammolite. The difference is that the
latter material is of a much lighter almost pastel color, pink and
subtle green being the most common colors,they showed me an order
that was handling their stones from Arizona? it was a very large
company and was advertising them as ammolite, but I don’t believe
that they mentioned the source. This small local co. also makes “
healing stones” from both sources of stone. When I enquired re. the
sask’ material they didn’t say much.? The issue for me is I was
under the impression that only the Alberta stone was accepted as a
gem! any responces would be nice to hear.

Tom, Many ornamental materials are sold as “gems”, “Ammolite” being
one of them. While there no “official” lists of “gems”, there are
official lists of minerals. with acceptable nomenclature. The term
"ammolite", while not being"official" is accepted as the term used to
describe fossil ammonite, regardless of its source.The Saskatchewan
(and Chinese, as well) material that I have seen is not so intensely
colored as the Alberta material and never brings the prices that the
finer Alberta material brings. It’s not about where it’s from, it’s
about quality.

WayneDr. E. Hanuman Aspler

		[ G a n o k s i n . C o m ]

All, I have been cutting Ammonite fossils for about 5 years now. I
cut them without capping or treating. I was unaware that a
difference in quality existed between the Alberta and Saskatchewan
material. Isn’t the deposit in both locations geologically similar
in age and similar in fossil production process? In any deposit of
gemstone material there will be a large variance in quality of
material. Gemstone miners have told me that if they get a 5% yield
of gemstone material from all the material they mine they consider
the deposit a good find. Sounds like a marketing ploy to me more
than a real difference in quality.

Gerry GalarneauDr. E. Hanuman Aspler

		[ G a n o k s i n . C o m ]

Ammolite is not a gemstone - even though some people may try and
claim this. Ammolite was granted official gemstone status in 1981 by
CIBJO International Commission of Colored Gemstones. This means
nothing at all - The CIBJO is simply an international caucus of
"…national trade organizations. CIBJO purpose is to encourage
harmonization, promote international cooperation in the jewellery
industry and to consider issues which concern the trade worldwide.
Foremost among these is to protect consumer confidence in the
industry." (Quote from their site

The material is only the soft nacre of fossilized shell from
ammonites. The “stones” available on the market seem to be this thin
nacre with a backing (natural or artificial) that has been
impregnated with a stabilizing material (usually plastic) and a cap
of some type - rather like an opal triplet.

It’s pretty, fragile and perfectly acceptable for decorative use -
but a gemstone?

Tony Konrath.Dr. E. Hanuman Aspler

		[ G a n o k s i n . C o m ]

I hope my first post after lengthy lurking doesn’t sound too snotty.

   The issue for me is I was under the impression that only the
Alberta stone was accepted as a gem!

To which I must respond-- Is it beautiful? Is it rare? What is a
gem anyway?

S. Lingo

Hi Tony,

  It's pretty, fragile and perfectly acceptable for decorative use
- but a gemstone? 

I understand where you’re coming from but it all depends on how you
define gemstone. If you stick with the traditional definition -
which includes rarity, beauty and durability - then you’re right.
But given the incredible variety of stones used by so many
contemporary jewelers to create high quality, high end jewels, I
would contend that this definition is no longer very useful. The
terms “precious” and “semi-precious” have also lost their usefulness.
“Precious” once referred strictly to diamonds, sapphires, rubies and
emeralds and “semi-precious” to everything else - from tanzanite,
opal, alexandrite and imperial jade to onyx, slate, obsidian and
petrified wood. The distinctions have become so blurred that these
traditional designations have rightly given way to the umbrella term

To me and, I think, the majority of the many designers working with
unusual stones in high-end jewelry, the term “gemstone” has become an
inclusive rather than an exclusive designation that embraces the
entire panoply of stones that are used to make contemporary jewelry.
If the stone functions as a gem, then it’s a gemstone. I really
believe it’s that simple!


Tony, I believe, even with all of the treatments involved, that this
material does conform to the definition of a gem material that the
GIA uses. If you want to say that is too fragile to be called a
gemstone, than you would have to take opal and a lot of other
material off the list of gem stones as well. After all a mobe pearl
is a composite material made of a man induced, aragonite growth,
fragile, sliced off of a shell, filled with some other material
(often more shell) and glued to a piece of mother of pearl or some
other backing. I sell mobes for as much as $600-$800 (or more
occasionally) (retail price listed here, guys). Does how they are
produced make them not a gem stone in this case? Daniel R. Spirer, GG
Spirer Somes Jewelers 1794 Massachusetts Ave Cambridge, MA 02140
617-491-6000 @spirersomes

Hmm, I see in the Feb. Lapidary Journal that there is a review of a
book entitled “Ammolite 2: A Guide for Gemologists, Jewelers and
Lapidaries” by Donna Barnson. In her book review, June Cup Zeitner
says, "Although ammonites from some other areas have iridescent
shells, only those from near Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada have the
necessary thickness, the well-preserved aragonite, and the intense
coloring and brecciated patterns suitable for lapidary work."
Further on she states, “Ammolite is one of the fine new gems of the
20th Century.” So there is one authoritative opinion. I suspect some
decent stones can be cut out of other material but it may be more of
a challenge. Rose Alene McArthur