Agate – Colors, Shapes & Sizes
Agate is a beautiful mineral that occurs in an amazing variety of colors, shapes and patterns. Agate is a unique stone that is part of the quartz family. In fact, Agate is Chalcedony or in scientific terms SiO2, which is Silicone Dioxide.
Agate is extremely beautiful and most noted for its banded and multicolored schemes. For instance, the bands on many Agate stones wrap around the stone like a tree’s rings in various colors. These stones have been sought after since the beginning of time and through the ages man has given them mystical qualities such as making one invisible or protecting one from sickness. Today, Agate comes in many different varieties on almost any type of jewelry piece.
Raw Agate is very ugly and dull. It is important to note that all Agate must be polished to give it its beautiful qualities. Most of the time raw Agate comes in round stones, most craftsmen will find the intricacies of each stone and draw out its true shape and beauty.
It is important to note that there are many types of Agate, in fact Agate types are created each year. They are mainly coined new terms for marketing purposes and can consist of the following names: Blue Lace Agate, Eye Agate, Irish Agate, Rainbow Agate and Snake Skin Agate, among many others.
These types of Agate are usually create into beautiful stones that are then placed on rings, as charms, bracelets, necklaces, brooches, dream catchers etc. Agate is very strong, resists acid and is an excellent stone to work with when it comes to jewelry. Agate is also used in beautiful mosaics and picture frames.
The Formation and Where Agate is Found
Agate usually occurs in cavities that have formed from volcanoes (especially ancient lavas). Agates are known to have bands that come in many colors and resemble the rings of a tree. Scientists say that Agate is created when gas bubbles inside of cooling lava include saline water. These gas bubbles with saline water turn into a gel. Since there is salt in the water, it attacks the surrounding iron in the lava and creates bands. These bands are extremely intricate and beautiful. It should be noted that no two stones are the same, making each Agate stone unique and more precious. Agate comes in many different colors and usually in its raw state is dull and rough. In order for Agate to show its true beauty it must be polished.
Agate is found all around the world including the United States. According to Greek legend, Agate was found in the river Achates, which is now called the Drillo River, located in Sicily. However, there is evidence that Stone Age men used Agate more than 15,000 years ago. Today, you can easily find sources in the Western United States, Mexico, Germany, Italy, Brazil, China, India, Africa, etc.
Agate – The History and Origins
One of the most popular gemstones around is Agate. Agate is extremely beautiful and one of the most varied gemstones available. Agate has been known to man for thousands of years and there is evidence that Stone Age man located in Western Europe from 20,000 to 16,000 BC had access and used this gemstone. Ancient Egyptians also were aware of this precious and beautiful gemstone as well.
One of the folklores on the origin of this stone equates back to the Greeks. “Agateec” is a word in Greek that means happy. Greek legend states that Agate was found in the river Achates which is located in Sicily. The name of the river has changed as is now called the Drillo River. The Drillo River is still today a major reserve and source of Agate.
Agate origins show that the Europeans were aware of the stone and used it quite often during the middle ages. For instance, Part of Germany known as the Idar-Oberstein district is well known for the abundance of Agate. While mainly for ornamental uses, Agate spread due to its beauty and unique properties. Many people thought that the stone had magical properties which enhanced its popularity and it eventually spread throughout Europe and North Africa where it is well known to this day and extremely valuable.
Agate continues to be popular today and always in demand due to the fact that practically every stone is different and unique. Agate is definitely one of the more beautiful precious stones available and will remain popular due to its attractive traits.