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   xoxoxoBruce  Saturday Apr 18 04:58 AM

April 18, 2009: Ammonite

The stunningly beautiful, 100-million-year-old petrified shell of an extinct Canadian marine creature is expected to fetch a small fortune at an auction next month in France, the latest sign of exploding interest in the brilliantly coloured ammonite fossils of southern Alberta.

The latest showcase specimen, a 17.3 inch (44-cm) wide spiral of shimmering rock unearthed in the fossil-rich Bearpaw shales south of Lethbridge, is valued at about $135,000 ahead of Christie's April 7 sale of natural history artifacts at its auction house in Paris.

A second, smaller Bearpaw ammonite still encased in stone has an estimated value of more than $80,000 and is being offered at the same sale.
I believe this is the smaller ($80,000) Bearpaw ammonite.

I'd love to see that in person. I'd assume the picture was taken in ideal light, probably for the auction catalog... or is that catalogue in that price range?
I'd like to see how it looks in different lighting conditions.

While ammonites can be found in many countries, the conditions creating the dazzling hues of the Canadian fossils "existed only in one place in the world -- right here in southern Alberta," says Mr. Pare.

The Bearpaw shales of Alberta and Saskatchewan and the adjacent U.S. states were formed as the seabed of an ancient inland ocean. The multi-coloured stone found in the preserved remains of the ammonite -- a species believed to be related to the modern-day octopus, squid and nautilus -- were traditionally used for decorations by people of the Blood Nation, native inhabitants of the region who continue mining the substance today.

Mr. Pare says the ammolite shards extracted from the Korite mine near Lethbridge came from ammonite shells that were fractured through millions of years of geological change. But about 50 times a year, fairly intact fossils are discovered and sold to museums or collectors around the world.
Each one needs a Canadian export license.

Shawnee123  Saturday Apr 18 07:50 AM

But about 50 times a year, fairly intact fossils are discovered and sold to museums or collectors around the world.
Who wants to go with me to Alberta for a treasure hunt?

Trilby  Saturday Apr 18 08:55 AM

eh, you can't make a ring out of it.

Meursault  Saturday Apr 18 11:46 AM

oh. i thought this thread was going to be about a religious sect....

jinx  Saturday Apr 18 02:28 PM

Wow, it's beautiful!

Here's mine.... not quite as colorful, but it was only like $3 or something...

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