Ammolite to become an official provincial emblem

Amendment to the Emblems of Alberta Act to designate ammolite as the official gemstone of Alberta.

Ammolite found by Cecil Lundrigan and Jennifer Robak. (Photo submitted)

Alberta has a new official gemstone.

The provincial government is introducing an amendment to the Emblems of Alberta Act to designate ammolite as the official gemstone of Alberta.

Currently, there is no official gemstone currently recognized in the Emblems of Alberta Act and passing the amendment will recognize ammolite alongside other official emblems such as the coat of arms, flag and wild rose.

“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, and helps to fulfil recommendation 25 of the fair deal panel,” said Ron Orr, minister of culture.

Locally, Cecil Lundrigan and Jennifer Robak have been involved with the ammolite world for a few years.

“To us we’ve always felt that ammolite is the Alberta gemstone because of the fact it’s found here. But to have it made an official emblem is amazing,” said Robak. “I think it will only be beneficial to the industry as it will help more people, especially more Albertans, learn about it.”

Robak and her family have been involved in the ammolite and ammonite world for about 30, herself personally for 10 years. She runs the Ammonite World Storefront and her parents operate Ammonite World in Rimbey. Lundrigan has been working with fossils for about six years. Currently, he is part of C&J Fossils, which specializes in fossil prep and sales.

Found predominately in southern Alberta, ammolite is a gemstone that is uniquely associated with Alberta and is part of our province’s identity.

Ammolite is an iridescent gemstone formed from the fossilized shells of molluscs, known as ammonites, which lived in an inland sea east of the Rocky Mountains. After sinking to the seabed, the mud that covered ammonites hardened over millions of years to become shale. The shell properties, combined with southern Alberta’s unique geology, transformed many ammonite shells into the ammolite that is mined and used for jewellery today.

While the historical resources act establishes the Government of Alberta as the owner of all palaeontological resources in the province, some fossils, including ammonite shell, petrified wood, leaf impressions, and oyster shell are eligible for transfer to private ownership.

“Alberta is world-renowned for its fossil resources. The designation of ammolite as Alberta’s official gemstone adds to this reputation, and speaks to the remarkable history of ancient life recorded in the rocks throughout the province,” said Dr. Craig Scott, director of preservation and research, Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology.

Ammonite shells have been collected by Plains First Nations for a thousand years, and are still collected by Blackfoot communities for sacred purposes.