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This is the first chapter from the book about rocks and gems by Diamante Daniel. Click on the top image to see her Amazon site.
Ammolite is one of the rarest gemstones on earth. It is not what you usually imagine when you hear the word stone. Ammolite is made from fossilized shells of small mollusks, ammonites, which lived millions years ago when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Ammonites are no longer with us, but their relatives, squids and octopi, are. Ammonite shells were flat and looked like snail shells (Figure 1, left). Because of the way it was formed, ammolite is a very thin stone, just like a shell. Ammolites can be are grey-brown, but mainly they are famous for multi-colored iridescence (Figure 2, left). The lustre is greasy to dull vitreous (vitreous = glassy) to resinous.
Ammolites can be found on the eastern slopes of Rocky Mountains. The largest deposit is in the Kainai Reserve in the Alberta Province in Canada (Figure 3, map). Kainai is one of the First Nations of Canada (here in U.S.A. we use the term Native American). The Kaina called ammolite aapoak, which means a small, crawling stone. People use ammolites to make jewelry, such as earrings or pendants. You can get those easily in Canada.
Some people also believe that ammolite has special properties. The Blackfeet tribe, another one of the First Nations that knows ammolite, calls it iniskim, which means the buffalo stone (Figure 4, left, buffalo). The Blackfeet people believe it attracts buffalo, and they used to carry the stone to aid them in hunting these animals. Ammolite is also believed to bring good Feng Shui. The Feng Shui practitioners call it the Seven Color Prosperity Stone. Because of its Feng Shui fame, ammolite is liked a lot in Japan and Japan is the largest market for this stone.
Rene Daniel, M.D., Ph. D. is an internal medicine physician and a scientist in the field of gene therapy, HIV and aging. He published over 40 scientific articles, including papers in Science, Nature Cell biology and P.N.A.S. He is a member of the National Academy of Inventors. Naturally, he enjoys writing, books and travels.