Ammolite

Other Names: Aapoak, calcentine, korite,
Origin of Name: Ancient Egyptian god, Ammon
Meaning of the Stone:
Classification: semi-precious ( grading is dependent on colorations)
Family: Fossilized, mineralized
Region: USA, Canada
Color: gray-brown, showing red and green
Transparency: Opaque, transparent or translucent in a single layer
Fracture: Uneven-granular
Hardness (Gravity): 4.5-5.5( 2.80-3.05)
Crystal System: Orthorombic
Similar minerals: Aragonite

1. Legend and History:

The name of the ammolite stone originated from an Egyptian god named Ammon, whom thought of cephalopods as divine creatures, thus he too was represented with the head of a ram, and horns which resembled the shape of an ammolite shell, given the fact that they were spiral in the same way such fossils are found.
In Canadian lore, it is said that Blackfoot Indians first discovered ammolite near the Rocky mountains, and called it buffalo stone due to the legend that surrounds it; It is believed that, in a time of a particularly hard winter, the tribe was almost starving to death as they could not find any buffalo to hunt. A woman of the tribe went out in search of food and firewood in the deep snow as it was clear that they would not make it through the winter. There, she heard a beautiful song and followed the sound which led her to the Ammolite under a cottonwood tree; she took the ammolite back to her tribe as a spirit told her that it was powerful medicine, and held a buffalo ceremony. The next morning a large herd of buffalo appeared and the tribe was able to survive the hard winter. Ever since the Blackfoot tribe keeps Ammolite wrapped in buffalo hide in order to use it for hunting ceremonies.

2. Origin in nature and use:

Ammolite is similar to opal, but for it’s organic features. It is an organic cephalopod which has occurred fossilization and thus formed into a gemstone due to extreme temperatures and heat in the lower levels of the earths layers. Ammonites (now extinct) were marine animals which resemble the nautilus in shape, and the squid in their physical attributes. They existed in tropical seas and became extinct in the Mesozoic period. They existed in most seas however in very large numbers, thus their fossils may be found in abundance, although Ammonite fossils which exhibit bright colors and gem characteristics are found only in Canada, and more specifically the Rocky mountains, from which however, only 5% of those excavated show Ammolite colors and may be considered a gem, thus deeming such stones highly rare and unique.

3. Interesting Facts:

The CIBJO (Confederation Internationale de la Bijouterie, Joaillerie et Orfevrerie) recognized Ammolite as a gemstone only in 1981; it is one of the three organic gemstones to be recognized, along with amber and pearl, and is often compared to Opal

4. Care and Storing:

Given the fact that each and every Ammolite stone is unique when in natural form, as it occurs from a crustacean, Ammolite must be treated with extreme care both while cleaning and storing. Use of a soft cloth and water is suggested to clean the stone.

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