I forgot to mention that we learned about a cool gem called Ammolite while we were in Banff/Canmore! It's Alberta's official gemstone, and it's found primarily in the eastern Rocky Mountains. It is one of the rarest gemstones in the world, formed by the fossilization of Ammonites (ancient shells). It is one of several biogenic gemstones (meaning it comes from a living organism). Ammolite looks kind of like opal, and shines all kind of crazy colours. When I first saw them in the tourist shops, I thought they looked like they had to be treated or altered by humans in order to get such bright colours, but it turns out that they are all natural! I was also told that within 4 or 5 years, there will be none left! So sad.
Photos courtesy of Wikipedia!