Agate Stone Overview
Agate stone is one of the most beautiful semi-precious gems, famous for its beautiful colors and patterns. It comes in over a dozen varieties, each with its own distinguishing feature.
Agate stone is prized for its beautiful colors and patterns and is often used in jewelry ornaments.
This article will discuss the different properties of agate, as well as its colors and meanings.
What Is Agate?
Agate stones are a famous rock formation made up of chalcedony and cryptocrystalline Quartz. They come in various colors and shapes, the most notable being their banded forms. They are formed from fine-grained microcrystalline Quartz, which makes them incredibly unique and beautiful.
How is Agate Formed?
Agate can form in two different ways:
Volcanic Formation: The significant formation of Agate is due to volcanic action. Gases get trapped within the cavities of volcanic and metamorphic rocks, which are then filled with silica-rich material. They are then deposited on the walls of the cavity layer by layer, creating Agate’s characteristic banding patterns. This process can take tens of millions of years.
Coldwater Formation: The limestone and dolomite strata of marine origin, rather than volcanic processes, produce some Agate. Coldwater agates are formed from silica gels that line pockets and seams inside the bedrock, similar to how volcanic-origin agates are formed. Cold water Agates come with banded grey and white chalcedony lines and are typically less colorful.
Is Agate A Crystal?
Yes, Agate is a natural cryptocrystalline crystal. It is a semi-precious stone with the same chemical formula as Quartz, silicon dioxide (SiO2). However, Agate is composed of many tiny crystals rather than one giant structure that gives it beautiful colorful banding.
What are the Physical Properties of Agate?
Agate is a translucent gem found in colors spanning the entire spectrum, ranging from gray and white to red and black. Deep green and blue tones are the rarest ones. Violet or grayish-blue hues are also possible, albeit uncommon.
More often than not, commercial Agate is colored artificially.
Agate rates a 6.5-7 on the Mohs hardness scale. It is a bit brittle, but it can be easily cut as desired for jewelry and ornamental items.
Agate crystal has a hexagonal crystal system which shows a conchoidal fracture system and no cleavage. Agate crystals typically form as banded or layered masses.
|Hardness (Mohs scale)
|6.5 – 7
|1.53 – 1.54
What Does The Word Agate Mean (Etymology)?
Agate traces its roots back to Ancient Greece. Theophrastus, a Greek philosopher and naturalist, found the stone along the Dirillo River’s or Achates’ shoreline sometime between the 4th and 3rd centuries BCE and gave Agate its name.
The word “agate” is derived from the ancient Greek word “akhatēs,” which was the name of a river in Sicily, where they found it about three thousand years ago.
Where is Agate Found?
Agate is not a particularly rare stone. Agate deposits are found throughout the world. However, it is primarily mined in five countries:
Other than them, Agate is also found in the following regions all over the map:
Most forms of Agate have a dull vitreous finish. It is a translucent gemstone that usually has a distinct banding pattern.
How to Pronounce Agate?
The word “agate” is pronounced with an emphasis on the first syllable. Therefore, it is typically called an AH-ghat (ˈæɡət/).
Types of Agate Stone
- Lace agate: Lace agate shows a lace-like pattern, making it one of the more expensive forms of Agate.
- Blue lace agate: It is more brightly colored and harder than the typical Agate. It is found in Africa.
- Crazy lace agate: It has an intricate pattern with a random distribution of complex circular patterns giving it a feverish quality.
- Turritella agate: Turritella agate is a variety of chalcedony formed when Turritella gastropods with elongated spiral shells are fossilized in freshwater bodies.
- Lake Michigan cloud agate: Lake Michigan is one of the few sites of limestone agate that form underwater. These typically have duller colors.
- Greek Agate: The first documentation of Agate was in Sicily. These agate form in the cavities of igneous rocks and show a tan-colored exterior giving them a pearl-like appearance.
- Brazilian Agate: Brazil has the largest deposit of Agate in the world. This Agate occurs in brownish tones inter-layered with white and gray but is often dyed artificially for ornamental purposes.
- Polyhedroid agate: The type of Agate has concentric layers in the shape of a polyhedron.
- Iris agate: One of the most valuable forms of Agate, it doesn’t show any banding but acts almost like a prism. When thinly sliced, it splits light into its constituent colors, giving a beautiful rainbow effect.
- Holley Blue Agate: The Holley blue agate stone is highly valued due to its light blue ribbon-like banding. Agate in this form is among the most valuable.
- Carnelian agate: Carnelian is an amber-colored gem formed similarly to Agate. When it shows banding, it is also classified as an agate.
- Botswana agate: Botswana agate contains visible pinhole-sized tubes.
- Fire agate: This gem is a red agate stone considered one of the more beautiful varieties. Fire agate show an almost glowing internal fire. This phenomenon occurs due to a layer of clear Agate present over a hydrothermally deposited iron oxide layer.
Some stones are mislabelled as agate but are, in fact, varieties of chalcedony:
- Moss agate: The moss agate does not have noticeable banding. Instead, it has a mossy exterior and green coloration due to the mixing of chalcedony and oxidized iron hornblende.
- Dendritic Agate: Fern-like patterns form on some agate when manganese and iron oxides are deposited in them. These stones are known as Dendritic Agate.
- Plume Agate: Plume agate is a multi-colored type of Chalcedony. The plume-like pattern inside of it denotes it. It is a unique and rare gemstone, making it quite expensive.
Agate Stone Value and Price
Agate stone is a reasonably common gem. However, it comes in a lot of varieties and shapes. Some rarer Agate types are valued much higher than the more common types. Several things can affect the price of agate.
While all of these factors play a role in determining the price of an agate stone, they are not the most definitive parameters. Often, the cost of the stone can skyrocket if the color patterns are unique.
Keep in mind that these factors can clash with one another. For example, a fire agate stone with incomplete banding might not be worth as much as a blue lace agate with some interesting color patterns.
Since the price of an agate stone is affected by many factors, it can vary greatly. In general, the price ranges are as follows:
Lower Price Range: $2- $10
Higher Price Range: $50- $1000
How Can You Tell if an Agate Stone Is Real?
Agate is not a particularly precious stone. It is relatively cheap compared to some rarer gems; however, some types can be costly. The deciding factor in the price of Agate is the coloration and pattern. So, if you want to buy an agate, it is crucial to verify the reality of the stone itself.
You can identify a fake agate by paying attention to four points:
- Color: The color of natural Agate is not very vibrant. It will likely be a fake agate if it pops too much and looks shiny. Additionally, if a concentration of color is present in fractures or cracks in the stone, then the color is not natural.
- Hardness: A genuine agate cannot be scratched by a simple kitchen knife. If it already has scratches or is easily scratched, then it’s a fake.
- Transparency: True Agate is transparent. The presence of muddy clouds of opaque colors indicates that it is not real.
- Bubbles: The presence of bubbles inside the Agate also means it is not real.
What Does Agate Symbolise?
Agate is a symbol of wealth, health, and longevity. It also has ties with harmony and rebalance.
Agate is a varied stone that has many meanings in different civilizations.
According to Pliny, Romans used the Agate stone to make mortar and pestles to grind up medicines to infuse them with its powers.
Ancient Mesopotamians used agates as seal stones, considering them a symbol of power and authority.
In China, Agate is believed to be the solidified blood of their ancestors. It is often used to ward off evil and protect the house.
Indian and North African people believe Agate is made from the blood of demons. This is why they use it as protection against evil spirits.
The Romans used Agate for medicinal purposes. It helps with the following pathological conditions:
- Skin and eye problems
- Fluid imbalances
- Digestive issues
- Emotional and mental balance
- Uterine Diseases
Remember that the agate stone doesn’t cure any diseases, but it infuses ingredients to help heal the sick. This reason is why the Ancient Romans ground medicines with it.
- Agate is a stone of many colors. It shows a variety of patterns and colorations. However, all the different gems have the same composition. This property is why it is known to connect people with their inner selves.
- The central aspect of this stone is the transmutation of toxic emotions. Jealousy, anger, bitterness, and resentment are known to have psychosomatic effects on the body. The presence of this stone will have a powerful cleansing effect on all these emotions.
- Self-acceptance and forgiveness are also aided in the absence of those unpleasant feelings.
Agate jewelry is one of the most common jewelry items throughout the ancient world. The Greeks first documented and named the stone, but people worldwide found and used it.
In the bronze age, owning agate pendants, beads, necklaces, and rings was common practice.
Which Birthstone is Agate?
Agate is not a birthstone. However, it is linked to the Gemini zodiac. Therefore, people born from May 22-June 21 can use Agate instead of their birthstone (Green Onyx/ Moonstone) if necessary.
Agate Chakra Linkage
Agate comes in many colors and types, which correspond to different chakras. Typically, all kinds of agate link to the third, fourth, and fifth gates, i.e., throat, heart, and sacral chakras.
How To Clean Agate Jewelry
If you have agate jewelry, it’s essential to clean it regularly. While not the most delicate gemstone jewelry material out there, agate can still get dirty over time when exposed to the environment.
If you’re wondering how to clean agate jewelry so that your piece stays looking new for as long as possible (and maybe even gains value), here are some tips from experts:
- Soak in water for a few minutes before cleaning any piece of gemstone jewelry. The soaking process will loosen up any oils or dirt accumulated on your gemstone surface over time.
- Use a microfiber cloth instead of a cotton rag for cleaning purposes. The latter could leave lint behind on your pendant or ring if not appropriately handled during cleaning scenarios.
- Use soft toothbrushes if necessary; these are great at removing dust from hard-to-reach places such as crevices where two components meet together.
- Use the microfiber cloth afterward to dry it and give it a nice shine.