I didn’t misspell it. The colorful and unique gemstone to Alberta is called ‘ammolite” which is derived from the fossils which are ‘ammonite”. Ammonites are found all over the world but we can only find the brilliant, gem variety of them in Alberta.
The fossils can be up to several feet across at times and can garner prices well into six-figures. Fossils in that size with gemstone are rare of course.
Pieces from ammonite fossils are used for smaller gems and art pieces which again can draw some pretty high prices due to the rarity of the stone.
Jason Berkholtz has been mining ammolite within Alberta for some years now along with cutting stones and art pieces from the material.
Jason’s website is here where his products can be found and his mining has been documented.
While ammolite has been on the market for decades and it’s demand as a gem has been steadily growing, it still is a relative newcomer on the world gem market. Education is still an integral component in marketing the stone. Knowing where the gem comes from and what goes into producing it helps people understand why it is a highly valued stone.
Berkholtz decided to film last year’s mining and created a series of episodes in a reality show format covering the mining aspects along with some interviews with geologists and paleontologists in order to help share the background of the fossils and the gems that they produce.
It is a great and creative way to market the business and draw attention to this fantastic and nascent Alberta resource.
The first few episodes are embedded below.
Jason has been releasing them weekly so be sure to subscribe to catch them when they come out.
The next digging season approaches soon.
Disclaimer: I have been involved in the ammonite business for most of my life and my family is still immersed in it. I am not involved with Jason’s venture though. I just want to see producers expand and get the word out and I love what Jason has been doing with it.