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…

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.   

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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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