Lucky Stones

As you may or may not know, Gimli is famous for its lucky stones. These specimens are stones with naturally occurring holes found on the beaches of Lake Winnipeg around Gimli, Manitoba, Canada.

closeup stones

Some call them crinoids but they are more likely to be gastropods. These “lucky stones”, which locals lovingly call them, are imprints and negatives of gastropods or snails. So this sign at the Lake Winnipeg Visitors Centre is a little off. Crinoids are actually found at Hecla Island.


Sign at the Lake Winnipeg Visitor’s Centre

To know more about these fascinating stones I sent some samples to Ask-a-Geologist. I got an identification from Jean Dougherty, Geological Survey of Canada.

The most prominent feature of the gastropod is the spiral-shaped shell. These can vary considerably in shape from a low whorl to a high whorl. Now imagine that these gastropods (snails) have died. Over time, the soft body of the snail would have rotted away leaving only the shell. Then imagine the shells having been buried in sediments at the bottom of some sea. Over millions of years, more sediment builds up overtop of them, and presses them into sedimentary rocks (this process is called diagenesis). The shell also undergoes a chemical transformation in which it is mineralized, becoming a rock. Depending on the rock type containing the fossil, either the fossil could be weathered away, leaving a hollow space where the fossil once was, or the rock could get worn away leaving the fossil, or some combination of these two. In the case of your samples, the third process happened. The fossil eventually dissolved and disappeared, leaving rock, but some of the rock was weathered away also. Depending on the degree to which the rock was worn away, you are still left with some amount of the fossil’s structure still visible. The spiral shell of the gastropod turns around a central hollow tube which gets narrower as you get to the point of the spiral. That is why, in some of your samples, the hole is wider on one side of the rock than on the other side of the rock they are what remains of that narrowing tube.

Lucky Stones are made into jewelry by local artisans.


One has to be lucky to find these stones. They are always light grey in colour. The trick is to look for the hole, not the rock. And knowing where to look for them is important as well.


Stones that have natural holes, called Odin Stones or Hag Stones, have always been considered mystical and sacred, with special healing properties, windows into the soul and doorways to other dimensions. These stones are reported to have extremely powerful magical properties, the most important of which is protection.

Submitted by Evelyn Ward de Roo