Ammolite is surely one of the most unusual and unique gemstones to be found.
First of all it is an organic gemstone which means it was formed through a biological process rather than a mineral process.
Second, its origins are the fossilized remains of sea creatures!
Thirdly, it is one of the most recently classified gemstones along with Tanzanite, Larimar and Charoite and, finally, it possesses an optical phenomenon known as iridescence which causes an amazing vivid display of colors.
Oh, and it is pretty much found in only one place on earth - Alberta, Canada!
Ammolite gemstones can feature just about any color of the rainbow and will sometimes have three or four colors on the same stone. The colors should be visible from all angles as you turn the stone and should cover most of the surface.
Ammolite's physical structure is the cause of the color - thin layers of mostly aragonite, just a few microns in width, coat the surface of the stone. The hues vary according to the thickness of the layer as light will penetrate at different depths, angles and waves creating the array of colors.
Thick layers will create red and green colors while thin layers form blue and violet - the thin layers are more rare and delicate so tend to be more expensive.
Read more about gemstones colors here
Ammolite is an organic gemstone in that it has biological origins - the shells of ancient sea creatures known as ammonites.
Ammonites were a type of mollusk that went extinct at around the same time as dinosaurs - 65 million years ago. As they died, they sank to the bottom of the ocean. Most of the shells would be crushed by time and pressure but some shells were covered in silt and sediments and became at first fossils and then rock.
The shells of ammonites were made of aragonite which is the same material as the mother-of-pearl found in oysters, abalone and pearls. The iridescence that we see in the mother-of-pearl is due to the presence of nacre and this material is trapped during fossilization and creates the stunning displays found in Ammolite gemstones.
Color is the most important factor when pricing Ammolite but with a few extra conditions not found when evaluating other colored gemstones.
Of course personal preference will play its part - some people prefer the color red to the color blue and it is as simple as that.
Higher priced gemstones will feature at least three different bright colors with a good coverage of the entire surface and with the colors being visible from all angles. The price will decrease with fewer or less vivid colors, smaller coverage area and colors disappearing at shorter angles.
Certain distinctive patterns can raise prices while blemishes, cracks and odd patches can lower them.
Ammolite should be bought on physical size not by carat weight. This is because the ammolite material is very thin and mounted on a backing usually made of the shale where the fossils were formed.
Naturally, bigger ammolites will be more expensive assuming all the above color factors are equal but a vivid multicolored stone will always beat a dull ammolite no matter the size.
With such a variety of quality components it is impossible to give a simple price guide other than to say the price range for fine Ammolite gemstones is between $5 and $60 per carat.
For more details please refer to our full Ammolite Info page here
Ammolite receives a quite unique treatment to turn them into a usable gemstone. The thin layer of fossilized shell - less than a millimeter in width - is attached to a backing of dark shale, becoming what is called a doublet, to give it strength.
Sometimes there is an additional transparent cover laid on top for extra protection - a triplet.
Where is Ammolite found?
Basically all Ammolite worthy of being called gemstones are sourced from one place, the Rocky Mountains of Alberta in Canada.
What jewelry is Ammolite suitable for?
Ammolite is rated at 3.5 to 4.5 on Mohs hardness scale which would normally make it way too soft for use in jewelry, however when made into a doublet or triplet with a hard backing and/or covering, they are tough enough for all types especially eye-catching pendants.