Fake Ammolite: How to Identify and Avoid Counterfeit Stones

Fake Ammolite: How to Identify and Avoid Counterfeit Stones Ammolite, a rare and vibrant gemstone derived from the fossilized shells of ammonites, is celebrated for its captivating iridescence.

With its rich hues ranging from deep blues to fiery reds, it’s no wonder that this gemstone is highly sought after by collectors and jewelry enthusiasts alike.

However, the allure of ammolite has also led to the production of fake ammolite, deceiving buyers and tarnishing the reputation of genuine ammolite dealers.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the origins of ammolite, the differences between real and fake ammolite, and practical tips to help you avoid counterfeit stones.

What is Ammolite?

Ammolite is a rare, opal-like organic gemstone primarily found in the Rocky Mountains of North America, specifically in Alberta, Canada.

It originates from the fossilized shells of ammonites, ancient marine mollusks that lived approximately 70 to 75 million years ago during the Late Cretaceous period.

The unique geological conditions in the Bearpaw Formation allowed the mineralization process to preserve the vibrant, iridescent layers of these shells, resulting in the formation of ammolite.

The Allure of Ammolite

The primary appeal of ammolite lies in its stunning play of color, which can exhibit the full spectrum of visible light.

This iridescence is caused by the microstructure of the aragonite crystals in the fossilized shell, which diffract light in such a way that it creates a mesmerizing rainbow effect.

Ammolite’s rarity and unique beauty have made it highly valuable, both as a gemstone and a collector’s item.

The Rise of Fake Ammolite

Due to its high value and demand, ammolite has become a target for counterfeiters.

Fake ammolite can be produced using various materials, including plastic, glass, and synthetic resins, which are then dyed or coated to mimic the appearance of genuine ammolite.

These imitations can be quite convincing, especially to the untrained eye, making it essential for buyers to be aware of the differences and know how to spot a fake.

Identifying Genuine Ammolite

1. Color and Iridescence

  • Real Ammolite: Genuine ammolite displays a vibrant and dynamic range of colors that shift and change with the angle of light. The colors are deep and rich, often with a metallic sheen.
  • Fake Ammolite: Counterfeit stones often lack the depth and range of colors seen in real ammolite. The colors may appear flat, dull, and uniform, without the characteristic iridescence.

2. Texture and Surface

  • Real Ammolite: The surface of genuine ammolite can be slightly uneven and exhibit natural imperfections due to its organic origin. It may also have a protective coating or backing to enhance durability.
  • Fake Ammolite: Fake stones typically have a smooth, flawless surface without the natural imperfections of real ammolite. The texture may feel plasticky or glass-like.

3. Weight and Density

  • Real Ammolite: Ammolite is relatively lightweight due to its organic composition and the thin layers of aragonite.
  • Fake Ammolite: Imitations made from glass or resin can be noticeably heavier than genuine ammolite.

4. Price

  • Real Ammolite: Genuine ammolite is rare and expensive. If a piece is being sold at a suspiciously low price, it’s likely a fake.
  • Fake Ammolite: Counterfeit stones are often sold at significantly lower prices to entice buyers.

5. Certification

  • Real Ammolite: Authentic ammolite often comes with certification from reputable gemological laboratories, verifying its authenticity and origin.
  • Fake Ammolite: Counterfeit pieces rarely come with legitimate certification. Be wary of dubious or generic certificates.

How to Avoid Fake Ammolite

1. Buy from Reputable Sources

  • Purchase ammolite from well-known, reputable dealers or jewelers with a proven track record. Avoid buying from unverified online sellers or marketplaces where authenticity cannot be guaranteed.

2. Request Certification

  • Always ask for certification from recognized gemological laboratories. Certificates should provide detailed information about the gemstone, including its origin and authenticity.

3. Do Your Research

  • Educate yourself about ammolite and its characteristics. Familiarize yourself with the visual and physical properties of genuine ammolite so you can spot inconsistencies.

4. Seek Expert Opinions

  • If in doubt, seek the opinion of a gemologist or a professional with expertise in ammolite. They can provide valuable insights and help you verify the authenticity of the stone.

The Impact of Fake Ammolite on the Market

The proliferation of fake ammolite has significant repercussions on the market.

It undermines consumer confidence, damages the reputation of genuine dealers, and devalues the gemstone.

For collectors and enthusiasts, it’s crucial to stay vigilant and informed to ensure the integrity of their collections.


Ammolite is a mesmerizing gemstone with a rich history and unparalleled beauty. However, the rise of fake ammolite poses a challenge for buyers and collectors.

By understanding the key differences between real and fake ammolite and following the tips provided, you can protect yourself from counterfeit stones and ensure that your investment is genuine.

Always buy from reputable sources, request certification, and educate yourself about this unique gemstone to fully appreciate and enjoy its true splendor.

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