Agate…the Common Treasure: All About Agate

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.

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9 Responses to “Agate…the Common Treasure: All About Agate”
  1. Martin Kloess Says...

    On March 14, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    good write.

  2. Kharla Jolly Says...

    On March 14, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    Nicely written and extremely interesting! My Mother has a couple pieces of wedgewood, sitting in her window sill.

  3. dedyfajar Says...

    On March 15, 2012 at 12:16 am

    wthat thie mining of agate ?
    nice post ;)

  4. yaminraj Says...

    On March 15, 2012 at 7:00 am

    Hello.This article was extremely fascinating, especially

  5. Karen Gross Says...

    On March 15, 2012 at 11:44 am

    I am not a rock hound, but I love agate. Great write up.

  6. debasishetc Says...

    On March 15, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    You article is very nice. The information’s were useful. I have liked your article. Hope you will love to write my article “IS PEOPLE IN FACEBOOK ARE SLEEPING ???”

  7. FX777222999 Says...

    On March 15, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    Liked this article, gives more info about agates.

  8. Uma Shankari Says...

    On March 16, 2012 at 2:00 am

    Well presented and exhaustive info that I enjoyed reading. Wish you had included some pictures as well.

  9. Lynn Proctor Says...

    On March 19, 2012 at 12:59 am

    When I lived in Bandon, Oregon for a short while as a kid, we would find agates by the thousands on the beach, and take them in to small businesses (I can’t think of the term) that would tumble and polish them for you. You paid by the pound, and it took days to do. Many of the businesses on the coast highways and towns specialized in polished agates, and you could buy as many as you liked, very cheaply. These stones are so beautiful and so reasonable to purchase, I can see how I could become a hoarder of them. Agate addiction………there is no cure! Thank you for a lovely article.

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