Ammolite Gemstone Pendant Necklace - Standard
Ammolite Gemstone Pendant Necklace - Standard
Ammolite is a fossil gemstone composed of ammonite shells that have undergone a process of mineralization preserving and intensifying the natural aragonite in the shell, which produces the vivid iridescent sheen. It is found almost exclusively in the Bearpaw Formation of southern Alberta, Canada.
This pendant necklace features an ammolite gemstone fossil. The ammolite is displayed in a custom-made, sterling silver bezel which is strung on a box-style chain. The chain measures 18-inches (~45cm) and is also made of sterling silver. The complete necklace comes in a decorative box and includes a small information card about the specimen. The card serves as the certificate of authenticity and can be found underneath the padded lining of the display box.
Ammolite Pendant Options
- Standard - Approximately 1/2 to 3/4-inch (~1 to 1.5cm) in size. Sold in "blind box" style. Each item is an exquisite gemstone from a unique creature. The shape, size, and iridescent sheen will vary widely as the process of mineralization is far from uniform.
- Deluxe - Priced individually by size, color, and clarity. These unique pieces are standout selections. You can see all deluxe pendants in the collection here.
A sample ammolite pendant
A Rainbow Fossil
Ammolite is a shimmering material that is both fossil and gemstone. It is a unique geologic stone that is found almost exclusively in the Bearpaw Formation in Alberta, Canada.
As you may be able to tell from the name, Ammolite is formed from the fossils of ammonite cephalopods. Like other mollusks, the shells of ammonites had an inner layer known as the nacre or "mother of pearl". The nacre is rich in aragonite, a crystal form of calcium carbonate, which produces an iridescent sheen.
Over tens of millions of years, aragonite tends to convert to calcite, the most stable form of calcium carbonate. However, in the Bearpaw Formation, the fossils have undergone a unique process of mineralization that both preserved and intensified the natural aragonite resulting in a colorful gemstone we call Ammolite.
See the colors shift in motion!
This pendant is made from a piece of iridescent ammolite form the Bearpaw Formation in Alberta, Canada. These brilliant necklaces shine in a rainbow of different colors: greens, reds, blues, yellows, and oranges can all be found in the material.
The true spectrum is revealed as you move the piece through the light, making it an incredibly dynamic piece of jewelry.
Each pendant is set into a sterling silver backing and comes with an 18" chain. Pendants are also shipped with an informational card which serves as certificate of authenticity. All our currently available ammolite pendants are available in the collection below.
📸 An artist's depiction of an ammonite swimming through the prehistoric sea
MORE ABOUT AMMONITES & AMMOLITE
ESTIMATED AGE : c. 110,000,000 years old
📸 A sample Sutured Shell Ammonite
A Perfect Spiral
Ammonites are an extinct group of cephalopods which entered the fossil record 400 million years ago. They survived several mass extinction events, including the Permian–Triassic "Great Dying" which wiped out 96% of all marine species. They finally succumbed during the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event 66 million years ago, which also wiped out the dinosaurs.
The size of ammonite shells range from sub-centimeter dwarf species to giants nearly three meters in diameter. Most iconic shells exhibit a nearly perfect logarithmic spiral.
How these creatures lived is of intense interest to science as ammonites likely played a vital role in the food chain in the ancient seas. Evidence exists to suggest that ammonites were a prime food source for Mosasaurs and fishes, while other studies suggest the "bite marks" were created after death by limpets or even by other cephalopods.
The Late Cretaceous was a time during which the interior of North America was covered by the Western Interior Seaway which extended from the Arctic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico. As mountains rose in the west, they were eroded, and rivers draining eastward deposited their sediments into this interior sea some 70 - 75 million years ago.
📸 A beautiful, iridescent ammolite fragment
Making a Rainbow Fossil
These waters teamed with life, particularly Cretaceous ammonites, including the most common fossils: Placenticeras meeki and P. intercalare. Both of these species are important sources of Ammolite.
Today these predominantly dark-colored marine shales form the Bearpaw Formation of southern Alberta. Interspersed between layers of shale, silt and fine sand are specific layers containing concretions. These are formed as sediment surrounding a nucleus, such as an ammonite shell, are cemented by the eventual precipitation of calcium carbonate. The vast majority of commercial Ammolite is derived from such concretions.
The Ammolite gemstone is formed as a result of alterations undergone by sediment following deposition, a process known as diagenesis. During this lengthy 70 million year process the aragonite of the ammonite shell was not converted to calcite as would be expected; the latter being the more stable form of calcium carbonate.
📸 A variety of different ammonoid shells
How these creatures lived is of intense interest to science, as ammonites likely played a vital role in the food chain in the ancient seas. Evidence exists to suggest that ammonites were a prime food source for Mosasaurs and fishes, while other studies suggest the bite marks on their remains were created after death by limpets or even by other cephalopods.
Many thousands of distinct species make up the long-lived ammonoid subclass. Though most ammonite shells are the classic spiral, there are also straight and gastropod-like shells and even some shells that are partially uncoiled. The surface of the shells also vary quite widely, from smooth to wildly thorny.
Ammonites were an incredibly diverse and plentiful group of animals that survived for hundreds of millions of years and lived all across the planet. Their rapid diversification and tough, rocky shells means there are many different and easily identifiable species in the fossil record. Because of this, scientists can use them to easily identify the age of other fossils and geologic deposits found in the same layer of the ammonites. They're a welcome sight to the eyes of any inquisitive geologist!
Aside from their complex shells, there is little direct evidence regarding the appearance of ammonites due to the absence of soft tissue fossils. However, many scientists believe ammonites had bodies similar to that of the present-day Nautilus.
📸 A logarithmic spiral in a natural ammonite fossil
Ammonite shells grew in a natural spiral and made a consistent, mathematically significant pattern. This special shape is known as a logarithmic spiral.
The main property of a logarithmic spiral is that the shape of the spiral is unaltered as it increases in size. Each turn is a pure geometrical progression of the last with a common ratio. This form is found in many natural phenomena, from the shape of galaxies to patterns on sunflower heads.
Staaf, Danna. Monarchs of the Sea: The Extraordinary 500-Million-Year History of Cephalopods. The Experiment, 2020.
Tsujita, Cameron J., and Gerd EG Westermann. "Were limpets or mosasaurs responsible for the perforations in the ammonite Placenticeras?." Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 169.3 (2001): 245-270.
Moulton, D. E., A. Goriely, and R. Chirat. "The morpho-mechanical basis of ammonite form." Journal of theoretical biology 364 (2015): 220-230.
Lemanis, Robert, et al. "A new approach using high-resolution computed tomography to test the buoyant properties of chambered cephalopod shells." Paleobiology 41.02 (2015): 313-329.
Landman, Neil H., and Susan M. Klofak. "Anatomy of a concretion: life, death, and burial in the Western Interior Seaway." Palaios 27.10 (2012): 671-692.
Cochran, J. Kirk, et al. "Effect of diagenesis on the Sr, O, and C isotope composition of late Cretaceous mollusks from the Western Interior Seaway of North America." American Journal of Science 310.2 (2010): 69-88.
Mychaluk, Keith A., Alfred A. Levinson, and Russell L. Hall. "Ammolite: iridescent fossilized ammonite from southern Alberta, Canada." Gems & Gemology 37.1 (2001): 4-25.
Tsujita, Cameron J., and Gerd EG Westermann. "Ammonoid habitats and habits in the Western Interior Seaway: a case study from the Upper Cretaceous Bearpaw Formation of southern Alberta, Canada." Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 144.1-2 (1998): 135-160.