Ammonite Pair (Origin Madagascar)
Ammonites are coiled shell fossils related to the Nautilus and even more distantly to the squid and octopus. They are about 50-100 million years old and they are extinct.
Ammonites gained their name via the ancient Egyptian God Amun because Amun was associated with the Ram (a symbol of fertility) and the snake (a symbol of transformation and transmutation) and ammonites can be seen to resemble the coiled horns of a ram or a coiled snake.
It seems that these beautiful fossils were held special to many civilisations. In ancient Greece some would place an ammonite under their pillow to help sleep and stimulate dreams. Similarly in Ethiopia it was believed that possession of an ammonite would lead to prophetic dreams. In Australia the Aborigines would often carry ammonites as they believed the fossils contain magic powers. In India ammonites were sometimes used to represent the God Vishnu and in some Himalayan tribes they were known as "Wheels of God'.
To some Native American tribes they were known as 'life within seed, seed within shell' and were used in some spiritual ceremonies. In the middle ages in England these fossils were often referred to as snakestone. And in ancient China they were called Jiao-shih, or horn stones.
So there is an element of connection to all these past traditions and ceremonies when you hold an ammonite. And apart from anything they are just great to look at!
Dimensions: These vary with each pair
Approximate measurements: At widest point
Small: 35 - 40 mm
Medium: 50 - 55 mm
Large: 60 - 75 mm
These are beautiful fossils each one unique in colour and size varying from light sandy brown through shades of green brown to rich brown. Ammonites come as matched pairs making up the whole fossil. They are highly polished and feel really smooth to the touch on the flat part.
Staff Review by Brett Almond
I find these ammonite pairs fascinating. They have been found as a fossilised shell - ie. a shell shaped rock. Then they are carefully cut in half and polished revealing the patterns inside. If I stop being Director of Holisticshop.co.uk one day then I think I would like the job of "Ammonite Cutter in Halfer", as it must be fascinating what you are going to find each time you open another one.
The inside is very smooth, however, you will find that there are occasional small holes in the surface. These can be caused by the natural chambers inside the ammonite shell. These look nice too as they really bring to life that this being, was once alive, millions of years ago!
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