Agate is a semi-precious gemstone and belongs to the Chalcedony family and can be distinguished only by its color and stripes. The word ‘agate’ is derived from a Greek word which means ‘happy’. Agate is available in a wide range of colors. This stone is said to have been discovered along the banks of the river Achates, now known as river Drillo, by the famous Greek naturalist and philosopher- Theophrastus. The river still remains the major source of this stone today. Agate is said to be one of the oldest stones to be used in jewelry and has been used for making jewelry, pestles and mortars since the Babylonian civilization. In ancient times, it was used in armulets and talismans as people believed that it brought courage, confidence and gave power to the wearer to vanquish enemies and reach heights of fame.
Agate looks amazing with the stripes or bands that are naturally formed and no other natural stone can be found with such stripes. The thickness of the stripes or bands in agate varies from one to another, but stay regular throughout the nodule. Certain agate crystals may be found with a cavity in the center that may be filled with smoky quartz, amethyst or rock crystals. Agates should be protected against scratches and hard blows as they are susceptible to break easily compared to other stones.
The physical property of agate matches with that of quartz and is identical in chemical composition with that of opals, bloodstones, tiger-eyes, jasper, and flint stone. These stones are found from the nodular masses of rocks such as volcanic lava. They are available in wide ranges of colors of green and blue. The bands of agate distinguish it from other stones. These stones are often used in making beaded necklaces, pendants and chocker sets. Not only is this stone used in making jewelry, it is also used in making commesso- a Florentine mosaic which is used in building. Agate has been mined in Idar-oberstein, Germany since 1548. It is also found in Uruguay, India, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Mexico, Brazil, Italy, China, Egypt and Scotland.
Types Of Agates
There are different types of agate stones available. These agates are named according to their appearance.
Moss Agate and Tree Agate
This is named so, as they contain green moss like inclusions in them.
This is named so, as it resembles snake skin.
This is named so, as it is fiery red in color.
Blue Lace Agate
This is named so, as there are bands of translucent blue and white seen in the stone. This quality makes the blue lace agate look beautiful.
This is named so as there are bands resembling the jutting-out corners at the bastions of old fortresses. The other name given is ‘dry-head agate’.
These are also called as ‘black and white banded agate’ as there are black and white bands seen in this stone.
These agates are seen with landscape like images throughout the nodes.
The bands in this agate form the shape of an eye and looks natural.
The bands formed are reddish brown in color and so the name.
This agate is formed from the organic matter of the fossilized wood. Agates are called as ‘anniversary stones’, as rings made out of agate stones are given as gifts for anniversaries, especially the 12th anniversary. Moss agates are given as anniversary gifts for the 14th anniversary.