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    Description

    SUPERB PRECIOUS GEM AMMONITE
    Placenticeras meeki
    Upper Cretaceous
    Bearpaw formation, Alberta, Canada

    Gem ammolite ammonites are amongst the most sought-after of all fossils, and presented here is a superb example. The present specimen is among the brightest ever discovered, equally impressive when viewed from either side. It shimmers with opalescent colors of fiery red, flashing green and glittering gold on one side and displays rare iridescent colors of purple, blue and turquoise on the reverse. This rainbow spectrum is characteristic of only the most desirable examples, and it is extremely rare to find all of these attributes in a single ammonite of this prestigious size of 21ΒΌ inches in diameter.
    The beautiful iridescent colors that shimmer throughout the shell were naturally created by the combination of millions of years of compression and the mineralization of iron, copper and silica, which precipitated from the bentonite sediment of volcanic ash. In most cases elsewhere, the aragonite-rich nacre (mother-of-pearl) of the ammonite's shell is pseudomorphously replaced by calcite or pyrite. In the small Bearpaw formation, stretching over parts of Montana, Alberta and Saskatchewan, however, the ammonite's shell becomes tainted with trace elements such as manganese, strontium, titanium, barium and others, manifested in the dazzling colors displayed here. The resulting gemstone is called ammolite, and has long been believed to have amuletic powers of use in healing and in attracting buffalo. Practitioners of feng shui and crystal metaphysics value it as the Kirin stone, or seven color prosperity stone, and believe it to be useful in detoxifying the body and promoting energy flow and prosperity. In 1981 it was accorded gemstone status by the World Jewelry Confederation; unlike other gemstones, however, whose brilliance is caused by light reflected from the surface, the shimmering and ever-changing colors of ammolite are the result of light refracting through and rebounding from the thin platelets of aragonite in the shell. It is one of several biogenic gemstones, like amber and pearl, and can be grouped with other shell-based marbles such as lumachella, or "fire marble", formed from the fossilized shells of clams or snails.


    Estimate: $50,000 - $60,000.

    Condition Report*: Condition report available upon request.
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

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    Auction Dates
    June, 2008
    8th Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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