Province Announces Ammolite as Official Gemstone of Alberta
On Thursday, the Government of Alberta introduced an amendment to the Alberta Emblems 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 our economy. Recognizing ammolite as the official gemstone of Alberta reflects the unique nature of the stone and our province.
David Lui, CEO of KORITE, a commercial ammolite mine, said he is delighted that ammolite is getting the recognition it deserves.
“The story really goes back 71 billion years, through the results of tectonic pressure mineralization during that time,” Lui said.
“It’s really part of Alberta history and Canadian history.”
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The Geological Survey of Canada first discovered the ammolite gemstone in 1906 from a fossilized ammonite cephalopod.
Fossils can be found worldwide, but the extremely rare ammolite gemstone can only be found in parts of Alberta in the late Cretaceous Bearpaw Formation.
In 1981, the World Jewelery Confederation (CIBJO) officially designated and recognized ammolite as a semi-precious stone. It was one of three listed gems over the past 300 years.
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“It’s a very special stone, the multi-layers of the natural gemstone create a beautiful range of colors,” Lui said.
Ammonite is known by many names, including Energy Stone, Spirit Stone, and Seven Colored Prosperity Stone.
Ammolite Named Official Gemstone of Alberta
However, it has a very special meaning for indigenous peoples.
“It’s 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.
“It was a gift given to the Blackfoot, you know, over 1,000 years ago,” Knowlton said.
“In addition to the stone, there were songs, ceremonies and prayers that would create luck in the hunting and pursuit of the Buffalo.”
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Knowlton met his first buffalo stone at age nine when his grandfather took him to see their traplines and gave him the sacred gem.
“He tells me it’s magic,” Knowlton recalls, adding that his grandfather promised him good luck every time he went fishing and hunting.
He misplaced this stone, but went in search of another when he happened upon luck and his first ammolite fossil by the river soon after.
An ammolite buyer offered him $350 for his spirit and from that moment Knowlton was hooked.
“This industry is growing,” he said. “My people were able to leave and start collecting and supplementing their monthly income.”
Knownlton has found other buffalo stones over the years, which he only gives to people who go through the sacred ceremonial process of receiving a buffalo stone.
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