Many treasures are found deep beneath Alberta soil but few are as spectacular as ammolite.
This rare, world-renowned 70-million-year-old gemstone found on ammonite fossils is currently found exclusively in southern Alberta. It’s the stone that inspired the success of the innovative Calgary-based firm KORITE.
“As pioneers of this industry 35 years ago, we are the only fully integrated mine-to-market company that finds and cuts the gemstones before creating and selling the jewelry,” says company president Jay Maull.
It is one of three minerals officially recognized as a gemstone by the World Jewellery Confederation in the past 300 years, Maull says. KORITE gems are now sold in more than 28 countries as rings, pendants, art and more.
“And we have 50 years of proven resources, so our potential to grow is quite considerable,” he says.
KORITE is 100 per cent Canadian-owned, with 200 employees working in distribution and manufacturing worldwide. They have participated in trade missions with Calgary Economic Development and leadership is anticipating expansion into more countries.
“We have been rather insulated from the current economic conditions due to our focus on international markets,” says Maull. “Europe, Asia and the U.S. are all significant markets for us.”
The gem is especially notable among feng shui experts and enthusiasts who believe the stone has absorbed a substantial amount of the earth’s and the universe’s positive cosmic energy, also known as qi (pronounced chi). They believe that qi is present in the vibrant colours found in ammolite.
The privately-held KORITE controls more than 90 per cent of the world’s known resources of the gem, and its mining practices are praised as ecologically responsible.
During reclamation, soil layers displaced to reach the fossils are carefully replaced in the same order they were removed and native grasses are restored.
“We are very proud of the fact that after we are through, landowners tell us that they can’t even tell we have been there,” says Maull