Alberta’s government is introducing an amendment to the Emblems of Alberta Act to designate ammolite as the official gemstone of Alberta.
Found predominately in southern Alberta, ammolite is a gemstone that is uniquely associated with Alberta and is part of our province’s identity.
There is no official gemstone currently recognized in the Emblems of Alberta Act. 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,” Ron Orr, Minister of Culture said.
The fossilized remains of plants and animals are protected under the Government of Alberta’s Historical Resources Act, and violations of the Act are punishable by law.
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 jewelry 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,” Dr. Craig Scott, director of preservation and research, Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology said.
Ammonite shells have been collected by Plains First Nations for a thousand years, and are still collected by Blackfoot communities for sacred purposes.
The ministries of Energy and Culture and Status of Women jointly ensure the responsible management of this fossilized stone by administering the leasing, exploration, and development of ammonite for its use as ammolite under the Mines and Minerals Act and the Historic Resources Act.
Ammolite can be legally purchased.
For more information, visit the Royal Tyrrell Museum.