Stromatolite, Mary Ellen

Patient Strength

Be resilient and calmly overcome challenges.

Understand connections and see solutions.

Show others how to live with dignity and respect.

Be a good steward of the planet and all its lifeforms.

Let Mary Ellen Stromatolite inspire a better future!


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Healing Properties of Mary Ellen Stromatolite

Spiritual: Stromatolite awakens us to the beauty of life, and ask us to cherish and protect it’s diversity. It encourages us think beyond ourselves, and think instead of the generations that will come after us and the world we want them to inherit. Stromatolite can aid us in exploring our ancestral lines and how our past affects our present. Stromatolite encourages us to look to the past for wisdom, to live with respect, and to look to the future with love.  Mary Ellen Stromatolites are particularly soothing to the spirit, bring courage and strength to nourish our life force.  It helps us to confront the realities of death and aging, with grace and dignity, and to see the beauty of the autumnal season of our own life. Mary Ellen Stromatolite gives us strength so we can thrive, no matter our life circumstances, and to continually move forward with passion and vigor.  Itromatolite is attuned to the Root Chakra and linked to the astrological signs of Aries and Virgo. It is connected to the Element Earth and vibrates to the number 1 and 8.

Emotional: Stromatolite has an exceptionally grounding and peaceful energy, which can teach us both patience and resilience. It reminds us that we are the sum of billions upon billions of ancestors, and that their strength and determination to survive and thrive is genetically gifted to us. With such strength in us, we can surely overcome any problem we face with grace and dignity. In turn, it is our responsibility to show others, particularly younger generations, how to live well.  Mary Ellen Stromatolite is particularly good for fathers and grandfathers who want to offer their loved ones a sense of security and stability.  It offers support during times of stress, and helps us to find our way out of anxiety and depression.  Mary Ellen Stromatolite reminds us to regularly take stock of our basic emotional and physical needs (food, rest, positive social interactions, etc.) and to make sure we are taking care of ourselves in these very practical ways.  This in turn provides us with a solid foundation for a happy and peaceful life.

Mental: Stromatolite is an incredible tool for mental agility, helping us to see both the macro and micro levels of any situation. Stromatolite encourages us to think about systems, connections, and to actively seek out practical solutions to problems big and small. Its calm energy encourages us to be patient while we research, learn, and experiment, thus allowing us to gradually put the pieces together and quietly work for the Greater Good of All.  Mary Ellen Stromatolite helps us to focus on what is most important right now, rather then dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.  It helps us to logically process our emotions, particularly fear and grief, and find practical solutions to any problem we might be facing.  It has a pragmatic energy that stimulates our own common-sense, which can help us to shake free of any mental disturbances, and find true peace of mind.

Physical: Stromatolite is used by metaphysical healers to treat bacterial infections. It is also believed to be useful for treating diseases and disorders passed down genetically. Mary Ellen Stromatolite is said to be particularly good for helping us to regain strength after injury or illness, and to reinvigorate the body and spirit.

Always use wisdom when considering crystal therapies for healing. 

Mineralogy of Mary Ellen Stromatolite

Mary Ellen Stromatolote, Mary Ellen Pit, Minnesota, USA

Rock Type: Metamorphic Rock (Marble), based on a sedimentary rock created by cyanobacteria
Major Minerals: Hematite, Red Jasper

Color: Red, Black, Silver
Gravity: Unknown
Hardness: 4-7
Luminescence: Unknown
Texture: Laminated layers
Transparency: Opaque

Location: Stromatolites were formed when the Earth’s continents were still fused together as a supercontinent. As a result, Stromatolites can be found all over the world. Some of the more notable locations include Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Madagascar, Mexico, Mongolia, Namibia, Peru, South Africa, and the United States.  Mary Ellen Stromatiles are found only in the Mary Ellen Mine, Minnesota, United States. Stromatolite Mine Locations

Rock Type: Stromatolite is not a mineral, but rather a very unique kind of sedimentary rock. An easy way to understand the difference is that rocks are like cookies and minerals are ingredients such as flour or sugar. Many different minerals are used to create a rock! Stromatolites typically form as Limestone, so their main mineral ingredient is usually Calcite. These Stromatolites are typically brown or grey, with black markings. Occasionally Stromatolites form as Sandstone, with the main mineral ingredients being Quartz or Feldspar. Feldspar-Sandstone Stromatilites appear vivid green with black markings, and are usually called Kambamba Jasper. Mary Ellen Stromatolites have a bright red color and are sometimes called “Mary Ellen Stromatolite Jasper”. Regardless of their color or mineral composition – what makes Stromatolites so unique is that these sedimentary rocks contain fossils of the earliest life forms on this planet!

Formation: Stromatolites are formed in shallow, salty water teeming with microorganisms, particularly cyanobacteria (blue-green algae). These tiny living creatures form massive colonies and sediments, such as sand and mud, get stuck to the sticky surface of this living mass of cyanobacteria. The sediments are gradually set down in layers and react to the trace minerals in the water. Over time, they form Limestone or Sandstone rocks, often shaped like a mushroom or a loaf. While underwater, the Stromatolite is “alive” – part cyanobacteria colony, part sedimentary material. If the water evaporates, or other conditions change, the cyanobacteria dies and the structure hardens further. At this point, it becomes a more typical sedimentary rock – but one containing microscopic fossils of the cyanobacteria. Stromatolites are some of the oldest rocks on the planet, with some examples dating back over 3.5 billion years! Stromatolites are still being formed today in a few rare locations. As a result, Stromatolite is often called a “living fossil.” (For more information, see the History Tab).

Mining: Mary Ellen Stromatolites are mined in an Mary Ellen open pit mine located near the city of Biwabik in the Mesabi Iron Range of northern Minnesota, USA.  The Mesabit Range is one of four distinct iron ranges in the area, which collectively make up the most important iron ore mining district in the United States.  The Mary Ellen Mine originally produced iron ore, but today it is principally worked for the Mary Ellen Stromatolites which are sold to collectors and for decorative purposes such as counter tops.


Open Pit Iron Mine, Mesabi Range, Minnesota, USA


Enhancements: All Mary Ellen Stromatolites are completely natural, enhanced only by tumbling, cutting, and polishing.

Synonyms: Mary Ellen Jasper

Map courtesy of TravelBlog
Photos: Mary Ellen Stromatolite, Mine, Mesabi Range

History of Stromatolite

Stromatolite was “discovered” relatively recently by the metaphysical community and so it is not included in virtually any ancient or modern lapidaries, texts that describe gemstones and their powers. Its name comes from the Greek words stroma (layers)and lithos (rock). While there are no known myths about this stone, it has a fascinating geological history!



Stromatolites are created by single-celled microorganisms called cyanobacteria, more commonly known as blue-green algae. Cyanobacteria are arguably the most successful living entities on the planet! They are the most genetically diverse, and occupy the broadest range of habitats, across all latitudes, including land, fresh and salt water, and extreme niches such as hot springs and hypersaline bays. The reason for this incredible diversity is that cyanobacteria has had the most time to evolve of any living creature. In fact, cyanobacteria are the oldest known example of life on earth – dating back at least 3.5 billion years (a billion years after the Earth first formed). They formed first and are still alive today, having survived all five of the Earth’s Mass Extinctions! From an evolutionary perspective, cyanobacteria are our oldest ancestor – the very original Adam and Eve. The reason we know all about cyanobacteria’s incredible history is because the oldest traces of cyanobacteria have been preserved in the fossil record – in Stromatolites.

While some Stromatolites are very old and have become simple fossil-bearing sedimentary rocks, other Stromatolites are still alive with active colonies of cyanobacteria. Modern Stromatolites have been found in hypersaline lakes and marine lagoons with an exceptionally high saline level, extreme environments that few other living creatures can stand. These modern Stromatolites are located in Australia, Bahamas, Belize,  Brazil, Canada, Mexico, and Turkey. The most well known are those in Shark Bay, in Western Australia and Exumas Bay in the Bahamas.

Shark Bay Stromatolites

Living Stromatolites, Shark Bay, Australia

Mary Ellen Stromatolites are found exclusively in the Mary Ellen Mine in the Mesabi Iron Range of northern Minnesota, USA.  The stromatolites and the mine, bear the name “Mary Ellen” in tribute to the girlfriend of the man who first claimed the stake.

Photos: Cynobacteria, Stromatolites of Shark Bay

Ethically Sourced Mary Ellen Stromatolite


The Miners sell to a rough Gem Dealer.

The Exporter sells to a Lapidary.

The Lapidary sells directly to Moonrise Crystals.

Moonrise Crystals sells directly to you.






The Supply Chain

The Supply Chain is clean and relatively short.

The Mine and the Lapidary are located in different countries, with one middleman involved. 



The Mine

This Mary Ellen Stromatolite is from the Mary Ellen Mine in Minnesota, USA

It was originally an industrial mine for Iron Ore, but today the primary product is Stromatolites for collectors.

Miners have safe conditions and are paid fairly.

Learn More: Ethical Mining



The Lapidary

This Mary Ellen Stromatolite was polished in Cape Town, South Africa.

The Lapidary is a family-owned business, founded by father and passed on to his sons.

Factory workers have safe conditions and are paid fairly.

The Lapidary is also the direct-importer & sells primarily at large gem shows.

Learn More: Ethical Lapidary


Sourcing Relationship

I have been doing business with this source since the earliest days in my business.  They are a major tumbling company and have more varieties, in more sizes, than any other known source.  The owners visit many small and industrial-size mines personally.  For artisanal-mined deposits in sub-Sahara Africa, the owners work with Gem Dealers who deal directly with the part-time miners.  The majority of these Gem Dealers are women.

Some, but not all, of their stones are labeled with country-of-origin.  For those that aren’t, I have to ask the owners personally.  They tend to get impatient with questions.  As I’ve learned more about mining practices in individual countries, I have become increasingly selective about what I will purchase from them.  However, they remain my preferred source for most of sub-Sahara Africa.

Safe Handling of Mary Ellen Stromatolite

Mary Ellen Stromatolite

What You’ll Receive: A 100% natural Mary Ellen Stromatolite

Selection Process: The stone I select for you will be carefully chosen for its beauty and appeal.  If combined with other stones, I always take time to choose stones that look and feel good together.

Origin: United States

Polishing Method: Drum polished. Each stone is unique and minor variations are what makes them beautiful..


  • Color: Bright red and silver
  • Polish: Shiny and completely smooth
  • Quality: AA
  • Shape: Irregular tumbled shape
  • Size: Average size is 1 in / 25 mm at the longest diameter
  • Transparency: Opaque
  • Weight: Average weight is .5 oz / 14 g / 75 carats

Shipping: Next business day – Domestic First Class averages 3-7 days.  International First Class averages 2-3 weeks.


  1. Jennifer S. (Colorado)

    This is a fascinating stone. With its red swirls in between metallic speckles, it gives the impression of looking into a foreign world. I just love it! Thank you!

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