Province announces ammolite as Alberta’s offical gemstone

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WATCH: Ammolite is found primarily in southern Alberta, which makes it one of the rarest gemstones in the world. – Mar 18, 2022

On Thursday, the Alberta government introduced an amendment to the Emblems of Alberta Act to designate ammolite as the official gemstone of Alberta.

Alberta Culture Minister Ron Orr said “ammolite is an important part of our heritage and economy. Recognizing ammolite as Alberta’s official gemstone reflects the unique nature of the stone and of our province.”

An ammolite fossil gemstone.
An ammolite fossil gemstone. Supplied

David Lui, CEO of Korite, a commercial ammolite mine, said he is excited ammolite is getting the recognition it deserves.

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“The history really stems from 71 million years ago, through the results of tectonic pressure mineralization over this period of time,” said Lui.

“This is truly a part of the history of Alberta and the history of Canada.”

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The Geological Survey of Canada first discovered the ammolite gemstone in 1906 from a fossilized ammonite cephalopod.

The fossils can be found around the world, but the extremely rare ammolite gemstone can only be found in certain areas of Alberta in the Bearpaw Formation of the late Cretaceous age.

In 1981, the World Jewellery Confederation (CIBJO) officially designated and recognized ammolite as a semi-precious gemstone. This was one of only three gems classified in the last 300 years.

“It’s a very special stone, the multilayers of the natural gemstone create a beautiful array of colours,” said Lui.

Ammolite is known by many names, including the energy stone, the spirit stone and the seven colour prosperity stone.

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Ammolite named the official gemstone of Alberta – Mar 17, 2022

It also has a very special meaning to Indigenous Peoples.

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“It is a very sacred part of our culture,” said Troy Knowlton, owner of Blackfoot Rocks and Gems.

There is a certain formation derived from ammonite and baculite called Iniskim, or buffalo stone, he said.

“It was a gift given to the Blackfoot people, you know, over 1,000 years ago,” said Knowlton.

“Along with the stone was songs, ceremonies and prayers that would create the luck in the hunt and pursuit of the Buffalo.”

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Knowlton encountered his first buffalo stone when he was nine years old when his grandfather took him out to look at their traplines and gave him the sacred gem.

“He tells me it’s magic,” Knowlton recalls, adding his grandfather promised him luck every time he went out fishing and hunting.

He misplaced that stone and went hunting for another one when he found himself down on luck. He discovered his first ammolite fossil at a riverbank shortly after. An ammolite buyer offered him $350 for his find and from then on, Knowlton was hooked.

“This industry is growing,” he said. “My people were able to go and start collecting and supplement their monthly income.”

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Knowlton has found other buffalo stones through the years, which he only gives to people who go through the sacred ceremony process of receiving a buffalo stone.

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