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Calgary company creates ‘prehistoric’ jewelry to help commemorate historic Canadian milestone

Click to play video 'Calgarians proud to showcase rare Alberta gem for Canada’s 150th' Calgarians proud to showcase rare Alberta gem for Canada’s 150th
WATCH ABOVE: We'll see all kinds of things going on to mark Canada's 150th birthday during 2017. As Gil Tucker shows us, a Calgary company is hoping to add some real sparkle to the celebrations – Jan 10, 2017

A Calgary company is helping people around the world celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday – and it wouldn’t be happening without the help of an Alberta creature from the age of dinosaurs.

Korite has worked with the federal government to create an official collection of jewelry to mark Canada’s 150th birthday celebration during 2017.

All the pieces, things like earrings, bracelets, necklaces, will feature Ammolite, the gemstone version of a prehistoric sea creature called an ammonite.

“I think he’d be proud,” joked Korite’s Ken Oshipok, while standing next to the fossil of an ammonite.

The squid-like creature lived about 70 million years ago, when what is now southern Alberta was submerged under an ancient sea.

“It’s their shells that have been fossilized (and) crystallized and then transformed from fossil to gem,” Oshipok explained.

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Korite now mines that gem, ammolite, on its site near Lethbridge.

“It’s the only deposit for this rare gemstone in the entire world and we’re so proud that it’s right here in southern Alberta,” Oshipok said.

The government has ordered a maple leaf-shaped lapel pin for Canadian diplomats to give as gifts around the world.

Every piece will originate in the company’s workshop in southeast Calgary.

“Every single stone is unique,” Oshipok said. “Every stone is cut by hand, polished by hand, shaped by hand – this truly is a treasure of Canada.”