(Last Updated on : 22/12/2012)
Agate is a semi-crystalline variety of quartz
. The colours of agate are arranged in strips or bands or blended in clouds and classified accordingly as moss, ribbon, dendrite, etc. This is a stone, widely distributed but not very popular. Agate was discovered with the Stone Age man in France 20,000-16,000 BC. The Egyptians used it prior to 3000 BC. Agate was highly valued by ancient civilizations. Cameos are cut from stones, such as onyx or agate, where different colours occur in layers. The background material is cut away, leaving the cameo design in relief.
The name of the gemstones
is derived from the Greek 'Agate', which means happy. According to another theory the word Agate comes from the Greek name of a stone found in the Achates River in Sicily, now known as the Drillo River, which still remains a major source of this stone.
Agate has irregular, sometimes circular bands of colour and often replaces fossil wood. Many fossils are agatized material where the original organic substance has been replaced by agate while retaining the original structure. Agates are identical in chemical structure to jasper
, flint, chert, bloodstone
, and tiger-eye
, and are often found in association with opal
. The colourful, banded rocks are used as a semiprecious gemstone and for making mortars and pestles. One will often see these in beads, agate pendants and necklaces.
Color of Agate
Agate is available in various colours. Agates range from transparent to opaque in a variety of beautiful colours. It presents various tints in the same specimen. The stones can be artificially stained to produce combinations of colour. These are more vivid than those found in the natural state. This is generally brown in colour. When used for ornamental purposes it has usually been dyed artificially as the porous nature of this mineral allows it to absorb material from solution. There is variety of brownish- orange agate that is known as cornelian, the green variety chrysoprase, the blue variety chalcedony and the brownish-red variety is known as carnelian. Black agate is known as onyx. Agate is the birthstone of Taurus that is bull. The time ranges from April 20 - May 20. Agate is the anniversary gemstone for the 12th year of marriage. Moss Agate is the anniversary gemstone for the 14th year of marriage.
Varieties of Agate: There are several types of agate. Varieties include Blue, Blue Lace, Crazy Lace, Green, Indian, Moss, Tree and Wood. The Moss agate or mocha stone contains visible impurities in the form that resemble moss.
Care and Treatment Of Agate: Agate cracks easily though it has a hardness rating of 7. When agate is present with all other gems it should be protected from scratches and sharp blows. Sudden temperature changes and household chemicals should be protected. Agate is one of the gemstones that used in Commesso. These are also called Florentine mosaic. Commesso is a technique of fashioning pictures with thin, cut-to-shape pieces of brightly coloured precious stones, developed in Florence in the late 16th century. The stones most commonly used are agates, quartzes, chalcedonies, jaspers, granites, porphyries, petrified woods, and lapis lazuli. Commesso picture are used mainly for tabletops and small wall panels, range from emblematic and floral subjects to landscapes.
Usage of Agate
Agate is used for inexpensive jewellery, ornaments and even ash- trays and precision instruments. It is found mainly in India, Brazil, Madagascar, China, Russia and Australia. This is the stone everyone should have for protection. This group of stones is variegated chalcedony. The agate is one of the oldest stones in recorded history. Agates attract strength. This is also a protection from bad dreams. It also protects from stress and energy drains. Agates have been used in jewellery from ancient time. They were used to ward off storms. They were prized gems in antiquity. The agates with banded colours were placed at the head of a sleeper to give rich and varied dreams. Agates have been thought to be good to harden the gums.
Healing Properties of Agate
The gemstone Agate also has the healing properties. Agate is used for stomach upsets. The agate should be placed on the solar plexus. The agate can't change emotions, but helps to change our level of acceptance of the emotion. Such as when someone is very sad the agate will let the person know that this will pass and help you get on to another and better day. This is why the Agate is considered as powerful as it gives us the strength to carry on. There are a number of superstitions surrounding the usage of these gemstones. Some of them can be mentioned as after wearing this it defends against the evil eye. It protects against storms, lightning, headaches and fever. It draws out the venom of insect and reptile bites. It cures fever and eye infections. It improves Eyesight and relieves inflammation and tiredness of the eyes. It staunches bleeding and also relieves skin irritations. It promotes fertility and helps in increasing athletic prowess. It renders the possessor eloquent, lovable, and invisible. It gives good health and long life. After wearing this one can turn an enemy's sword against himself. It makes someone lucky in love. It reveals where hidden treasure is buried. It ensures a good yield when tied to a plow or worn while gardening. Agate brings stability to anyone's life.