Agates, though technically a mineral are fascinating rocks and I enjoy collecting them. I also appreciate the beauty and versatility of a product called "Agateware," a type of stoneware or pottery and the beautiful jewelry made from agate. The story of agate is as ancient as time itself and is steeped with mystery and legend. Read more…
My grandmother’s dinnerware included a tea service and every now and then she and I would have a tea party and drink our tea from those lovely cups. It was cobalt blue with shades of green, and white and looked marbled; and it was so beautiful. Rowley Pottery also made more utilitarian items like mixing bowls, soup tureens, coffee mugs, crocks, vases and heavier dinnerware aside from the finer Wedgewood china.
My mother had a dutch-oven made of agateware and agateware mixing bowls when I was very young. I remember scrapping cookie batter from those marvelous bowls; and I remember breaking one, knocking it off the counter and watching it shatter on the floor. My mother wasn’t happy and neither was I.
Remember those marbles you played with as a child? If you happen to still have a bag of them lying around the house you probably have some agates called “Aggies” among them. They are to be treasured. They are made from agate, a semi-precious rock.
When I was in college I took an extra-curricular course in the craft of pottery making. I learned about the various clays including agate based clay and learned to throw pots, fire them, glaze the pots and re-fire them for hardness and durability. It was an interesting and fun course. I tried making a few pieces of agateware by thin slicing the clay and layering it together and then rolling it up tight to make my multi-colored clay to work with. I used the earthy colors and made a vase, trinket box and a cookie tray. They came out rather nicely and I got a good grade. Of course they couldn’t touch Wedgewood but they were nice and I valued them because I had made them myself. I had created agateware. Pottery is a fascinating craft and it all begins with clay, some of the best being agate based clay, those same pretty and fascinating stones I have in my collection.
Agate, though generally considered a rock is technically a mineral in the family of quartz associated with volcanic action, primarily the same as chalcedony but contains large amounts of magnesium, zinc, iron, manganese, cobalt, quartz silicates and carbonates giving agate its beautiful variations in color from shades of gray, brown, reds, yellows, white, greens and blues that form striations or marbleizing in the rock. There are both sedimentary and metamorphic rocks that resemble agate but are not true agate.