For jewelry wearers that love the look of precious opal, but want something a little different, ammolite may be just the thing.
Ammolite is made up of aragonite and is cut from the fossilized shell of ammonites, a spiral shaped cephalopod from the ancient ocean that covered most of North America 60 million years ago. When volcanos erupted, they spewed tons of ash which settled on the ocean floor burying everything under it and, in time, fossilizing the sea creatures.
How is it made into jewelry? Because ammolite is very thin it must be mounted on a backing, usually a thin slice of shale, then covered with a cap of clear quartz or spinel. This is called a triplet and it not only provides protection for the wafer thin ammolite but allows light to reflect the amazing iridescent flashes of color. The ammolite is now durable enough to be worn daily.
Ammolite requires little upkeep, just wipe with a soft damp cloth to remove dirt and oils. Excessive heat, acids, perfumes and hairsprays can cause a loss of iridescence. Avoid chemicals, ultrasonic machines and steam cleaners.