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Jewely with amonite

I received your e-mail address from another person who I tried to get
from. They were not able to help me but I am hoping you
can. I am beginning to make jewely using amonite and was hoping that
you might be able to supply me with a location to buy caps to cover
the stones because amonite is a very soft gem that needs to be
protected. Any you could supply me with would be


I have seen a technique where they have envorced te back with a steel
epoxy and then you can fabricate a bezel for it without having to
worry about breaking it immediately, it is kind of a safety. Also
maybe a=make an impression of it and fabricate your own custom cap.

Usually Ammonite is covered with optical quartz, like an opal or
doublet or triplet. That way there is a clear stone covering on it,
anyone who works with opals or ammonites probably could help you by
doing the glueing and covering of your stones, I have some too, but we
are starting to cut our own stones and in the future will do our own,
but right now our skills in that dept are not good enough to help
someone else (I will risk ruining mine, but no one elses!)


Hi Debbie,

I set ammonites and if you find the ones that are solidified into the
rock, they are really rock hard. The lovely delicate high quality
ones are so beautiful that I don’t think I 'll ever go back to the
rocks. If you are careful you can make a nice prong setting- I use
14ga half round if you they are small- say an inch or so. Good luck!

Blanche Gregory in Houston where we are having perfect summer weather
we’ll never get in the summer.

i usually bezel-set ammonites with a 24g backing & 26g bezel. i’ve
never had to stabilize a specimen, just ground the back with 120 grit
(to cut time & heat build up) to the flatness & thickness i wanted -
necessary when doing earrings because of weight. the trick is to
’bed-set’ them - what i call laying down a lump of e6000 glue as a
buffing/shock absorbing/anchoringbedding material. before m. has a
fit, i still roll over the edges of the bezels in the ethical manner.
this method works beautifully for ammonites as well as for all
flatish fossil materials, fossil shells, ‘stability-wise iffy’
minerals, & the hundreds of other materials i’ve set into jewelry,
AND works like an insurance policy on my opals (of which i cut & set
a bunch, but not enough to keep my customers happy) because it
’dampens’ the shocks all jewelry encounters (think of the shock
absorbing hammers!). hope this helps - ive

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There is a very good article about how to prepare ammonite for
setting in any type of jewellery. Check out the Canadian Rockhound
Magazine web site and browse thru one of the earlier editions for the
article on AMMONITE by Chester Miller.
Phyllis Richardson

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Are you referring to gem ammonites or the fossilized snails type?
Vince, Eugene, OR

When I said (yesterday) that I had seen lots of “Amonite” jewellery
last year in New Zealand, I should have said Canada. Flux fumes must
be getting to me. Actually, I think one of the sources is in Canada.
It was on display, as jewellery and unmounted peices, in British

New Zealand actually does have something similar in appearance,
though really totally different material. That is paua shell. That
too is made up into jewellery, mainly earrings and pendants, without
glass covers. Probably would need protection on a ring though.
Kevin, UK

I may be way off beam here but it seems to me that there is some
confusion as to just what it is that is being set.

Fossil ammonites are as hard or soft as the mineral that they are
composed of. Varies from iron sulphide (not very stable) through to
silica (lasts indefinitely and is hard).

But, there are one or two places where really large fossil ammonites
are found in which the original shell has been replaced by minerals
which display a play of colour similar to black opal ie not really
black, but showing bright irridescence. This is sold in pieces up to
a few inches square, always rounded (domed).

I saw plenty a year ago in New Zealand made up into earrings and
pendants. As far as I remember there was gererally no glass covering,
though it may have had a coat of lacquer.

Kevin, UK

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I’ve been suspecting that the iridescent material was what the
original poster was asking about. On that note, in contrast with
Kevin’s observations I’ve only seen the material being used in
doublets similar to opal … maybe regional differences in

Warm Regards,

Here is a great link (our supplier) for Ammonite, fossils, carvings,
stones. As you are all aware gem stones come in a variety of
qualities. Ammonite is no different. Carol and Tom have some of the
most beautiful stones I have seen. The variety of colors and qualities
they have are outstanding. My fav are the purple ones. Carol and Tom’s
ammonite knowledge is outstanding and I know they will be more than
happy to answer your questions.

Enjoy the site and say hi from me to Carol and Tom if you email them

Gem Trading

Most of the jewelry made by the Canadian company which markets the
bulk of the gem ammonite (trade named Ammolite) is not covered by a
quartz cap. While the material is somewhat soft, it polishes well and
is safe to use as a pendent, pin or ear rings. Used as a ring stone
or for a bracelet it would require protection or a cap.

John McLaughlin
Glendale, Arizona

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The magazine you mention is now defunct, but I did find the article at Ottawa Lapsmith and Mineral Club at Click “continue to the document”, find the 19997-2000 link for back issues, click Back Issues and find the Summer 1997 issue with the article Ammonite Jewelry. It’s a detailed article.

Thanks so much for this reference! By the way, Rio Grande carries Opticon mentioned in the article. Not sure where to get the thin slab of quartz since I’m not into lapidary. If anyone has a source, please post it!

I hope someone finds this old conversation useful. Ammonite jewelry seems to be popular these days and I’m going to try my hand at some of the techniques mentioned in this thread.