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Loose Stones for Rockhounds

Need a gift for a rockhound? Or a special piece to add to your own rock and mineral collection? The items below are mostly ammolite cabs, but you may see other things show up from time to time.

Ammolite cabochons (cabs) are great fun to play with. They are the preserved shell of the ancient ammonite.  The colors will change and leap to life as you turn the stones in your hand.

Ammonite is an ancient sea creature that lived 400 million to 65 million years ago and became extinct in the Cretaceous period, along with the dinosaurs. Their shell was similar in appearance to the Chambered Nautilus. Ammonite fossils are found around the world. Their shells settled to the bottom of the sea, sediment filled them in and their original shell material disappeared as they became fossils.

In the Bear Paw Shale Formation, found primarily in Canada, the ammonite’s shell did not disappear but stayed preserved with the fossil. Some are found in fossil form, ie-where the ammonite creature is recognizable, but most were crushed and form a vein of material. This shell material is called ammolite and is very rare, organic, precious gem. Traditionally, ammolite is a good luck stone. It is revered as a sacred stone by the Blood Indians. It is also thought to have intense energy by those that believe in the metaphysical or Feng Sui aspects.

The most common question I get is what has been done to it to make it shiny. Basically, nothing. That is the nature of shell. Think of how shiny things like abalone, paua, and mother of pearl are. Ammolite is basically the same material. I’ve specifically picked pieces here that would be good in collections where they can be picked up and rotated in the light. If you make jewelry and want to try to use one of these pieces, please note that they may be better suited to bracelets, where they move around more, than pendants.