News / Calgary

More shiny gemstones as southern Alberta's ammolite mine expands

The colourful rock is only found in this part of the world

The organic gemstone is said to come from the fossilized remains of ancient sea creatures.

Courtesy Korite

The organic gemstone is said to come from the fossilized remains of ancient sea creatures.

The world’s only ammolite mine, located here in Alberta, is expanding production.

If you’re unfamiliar with the striking, multi-coloured rock, ammolite is an organic gemstone created by the fossilized remains of ancient sea creatures.

“As they died, they floated down to the bottom of the ocean floor and were covered by volcanic ash from activity in this area,” explained Jay Maull, president of Korite, the company that owns the mine. “It either preserved the colours or changed the colours – we don’t know.”

A small pocket of land near Lethbridge is the only known place ammolite is found in the world. Korite has been around for 35 years, turning the gem into jewellery.

They’re opening up an additional eight acres of land to mine for ammolite. Currently, annual production sits at about 6 million carats – but now that will increase by 2 million by the end of the year.

“We’re expanding quite rapidly – we needed to expand the mine to keep up with demand,” said Maull.

The expansion will naturally create more jobs, and Maull believe it will also help to advertise Calgary across the globe.

“We do our part to bring awareness of Calgary, Alberta and Canada to people all over the world,” Maull said, indicating that the product is sold in 28 countries, but it’s source is always linked back to Calgary.

Korite just kicked off a deal in November to bring ammolite to Chinese consumers, as part of a Calgary Economic Development trade mission.

The company also partnered with the Stampede to sponsor the Stampede Royalty last year and will continue this year.

“Calgary is our home, this is where we’re from, this is where the company started. It’s 100 per cent Canadian owned, we’re here to stay and to grow with the demand,” Maull stated.

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