Pyritized Ammonite

Stone of the Month-Ammonite Fossil with Pyrite

So what is an Ammonite Fossil, and what is Pyrite? Ammonites are fossils of ancient sea creatures resembling snails–they are in fact, ancient mollusks. They have a beautiful, nautilus spiral shape, making for a wonderful organic shape. These creatures were as large as 6.5 feet in diameter (found in Russia), and as small as the palm of a child’s hand (found throughout the world).

Ammonite with Pyrite Jewelry
An example of a large pendant made with ammonite

Over millions of years, as these creatures died and were covered under the sea, the organic matter was slowly replaced with minerals. In some cases these minerals created beautiful rainbow colors, which make for some wonderful, colorful thin cabochons, called ammolite (with an “L”)

In iron-rich conditions, a mineral called iron disulfide would replace organic matter in these ammonites, creating a beautiful gold patina, and tiny gold crystal druzy. The result is a beautiful deep brown stone with Pyrite–also known as “fools gold.” These stones have amazing, contrasting patterns and can make for a gorgeous cabochon. These cabochons with mineral replacements are called ammonites. They will be thicker cabochons for jewelry making. These cabs may either include the full ammonite creature, or one pocket of the ammonite’s shell–of course, depending on size.

When making a piece of jewelry from this beautiful stone, the artist has a great opportunity to mix silver and gold together to create a wonderful organic piece of natural jewelry.

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