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…
Agate is a silicon dioxide and is relatively common and may be fairly readily found along brooks and streams and rivers and lakes as water worn and rolled smooth pebbles and stones. These pebbles and stones are wonderful to collect and use for tumbling to make your own beads and to carve your own designs in, similar to doing scrimshaw. I have seen some beautifully carved cabochons made from this fascinating rock though I have never tried this craft myself.
Because of the many variations in agate it is fun to collect and is a good starting place for beginning rock hounds. They are easy to identify and an attractive part of any collection.
Agates are primarily used as gem-stones cut into cabochons, made into beads and used for carving and making ornaments and in its clay form used to create pottery.
Agate has a harness of about 7 on the Moh Scale and a vitreous to waxy luster. It is commonly opaque but ranges to translucent. Agate us almost always compact and forms in nodules or veins and is frequently the principle component of geodes having a darker outer core and the inside banded in wavy bands and may have an inner cavity of cryptocrystalline quartz or clear quartz crystals in the center. Some agate may be slightly fluorescent depending on its mineral content.
This rock is a fascinating object because of its variety; the stripes, wavy bands and dendritic patterns that look like fossilized inclusions in the rock. Picture agate and Moss agate include these dendritic patterns that are in reality particles of various mineral inclusions that give the agate its fossiliferous illusion. Moss agate is commonly translucent green to gray-green in color with what appear to be fern-like inclusions.
The agate is considered to be a mystical stone found all over the world in all its rainbow colors. It is the birthstone for those folks born as Gemini’s in September and October in most countries around the world, the birthstone for May by the ancient Hebrews and Romans and for June by the ancient Arabic nations and is the 12th wedding anniversary stone. The historical use of agate can be traced back to very ancient times, at least to 3000 BC. Agate is claimed to promote healing and having a cooling and calming effect on people as well as promoting strength both physically and spiritually, according to legend.
Some of the most popular forms of agate and most easily recognizes are banded agate, crazy lace agate, moss agate, plume agate, blue lace agate, picture agate, red agate, eye agate, green agate, black agate or black skin agate, Madagascar agate, Mexican agate, Kentucky agate and Montana agate to name a few.
As a rock hound I have to say that agate is one of the most fascinating rocks I collect. The designs and patterns in the rock captivate the imagination. They are beautiful to behold.