Minister of Culture and MLA for Lacombe-Ponoka, Ron Orr has announced a new emblem for Alberta.

“Today I am pleased to announce that we are introducing Bill 6 the emblems of Alberta amendment act 2022 to recognize ammolite as the official gemstone of Alberta,” said Ron Orr.

The shiny stone can come in a wide range of colours and is found in the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains.

“Ammolite comes from the fossilized shells of mollusks known as ammonite that lived in the inland Bear Paw sea that is now southern Alberta. Over millions of years as these shells fossilized and mineralized, with Alberta’s specific geology, it transformed the many ammonite shells into the iridescent gemstone known as ammolite. Alberta’s geology gives us not only oil but also these incredible gemstones,” said Orr.

“Ammolite is derived from the fossilized remains of ancient organisms. In this case, the shells of a group of squid-like animals called ammonites. They inhabited an extensive shallow inland sea that covered much of Alberta during the late cretaceous period some 70 to 75 million years ago,” explained Dr. Craig Scott, director of preservation and research, Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology.

The stone is most commonly used for jewelry but has an extensive history in Alberta.

“The Tribes of the Blackfoot confederacy and other plains nations have collected ammonite shells for millennia and they continue to collect it today. They consider some ammolite shell segments as sacred,” said Orr.

If Bill 6 passes, ammolite will be Alberta’s first official gemstone and will be recognized alongside other official emblems such as the wild rose as a symbol of Alberta’s heritage.