Saturday, March 16, 2013

Agate gemstone overview


This is just an overview of agate in general. There are many different wonderful and unique types of agate.  Like jasper I will post more details on each variety of agate in post to come.
Agate comes in a rainbow of colors. I love using agate beads to make unique jewelry creations. With the variety of colors the creational possibilities are endless

General and Scientific

Mohs Hardness of 7 with a trigonal crystal structure.
Agate /ˈæɡət/ is a microcrystalline variety of silica, chiefly chalcedony, characterised by its fineness of grain and brightness of color. Although agates may be found in various kinds of rock, they are classically associated with volcanic rocks and can be common in certain metamorphic rocks.
The stone was given its name by Theophrastus, a Greek philosopher and naturalist, who discovered the stone along the shore line of the river Achates (Greek: χάτης) sometime between the 4th and 3rd centuries BC. Colorful agates and other chalcedonies were obtained over 3,000 years ago from the Achates River, now called Dirillo, in Sicily.

Ancient use

Agate is one of the most common materials used in the art of hardstone carving, and has been recovered at a number of ancient sites, indicating its widespread use in the ancient world; for example, archaeological recovery at the Knossos site on Crete illustrates its role in Bronze Age Minoan culture.
Most agates occur as nodules in volcanic rocks or ancient lavas where they represent cavities originally produced by the disengagement of volatiles in the molten mass which were then filled, wholly or partially, by siliceous matter deposited in regular layers upon the walls. Agate has also been known to fill veins or cracks in volcanic or altered rock underlain by granitic intrusive masses. Such agates, when cut transversely, exhibit a succession of parallel lines, often of extreme tenuity, giving a banded appearance to the section. Such stones are known as banded agate, riband agate and striped agate.
In the formation of an ordinary agate, it is probable that waters containing silica in solution—derived, perhaps, from the decomposition of some of the silicates in the lava itself—percolated through the rock and deposited a siliceous coating on the interior of the vapour-vesicles. Variations in the character of the solution or in the conditions of deposition may cause a corresponding variation in the successive layers, so that bands of chalcedony often alternate with layers of crystalline quartz. Several vapour-vesicles may unite while the rock is still viscous, and thus form a large cavity which may become the home of an agate of exceptional size; thus a Brazilian geode lined with amethyst and weighing 35 tons was exhibited at the Düsseldorf Exhibition of 1902. Perhaps the most comprehensive review of agate chemistry is a recent text by Moxon cited below.
The first deposit on the wall of a cavity, forming the "skin" of the agate, is generally a dark greenish mineral substance, like celadonite, delessite or "green earth", which are rich in iron probably derived from the decomposition of the augite in the enclosing volcanic rock. This green silicate may give rise by alteration to a brown iron oxide (limonite), producing a rusty appearance on the outside of the agate-nodule. The outer surface of an agate, freed from its matrix, is often pitted and rough, apparently in consequence of the removal of the original coating. The first layer spread over the wall of the cavity has been called the "priming", and upon this base zeolitic minerals may be deposited.
Many agates are hollow, since deposition has not proceeded far enough to fill the cavity, and in such cases the last deposit commonly consists of drusy quartz, sometimes amethystine, having the apices of the crystals directed towards the free space so as to form a crystal-lined cavity or geode.
On the disintegration of the matrix in which the agates are embedded, they are set free. The agates are extremely resistant to weathering and remain as nodules in the soil or are deposited as gravel in streams and shorelines.

Mystical healing and magical

Agate is said to enhance one's perceptiveness and to stimulate analytical capacity, and to provide balance between one's physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual states. Agate is also said to alleviate hostilities and promote goodwill.
Agate is believed to help discern truth, accept circumstances, and is a powerful emotional healer. Legend says that Agate improves memory and concentration, increases stamina and encourages honesty.

It is believed to prevent insomnia and ensure pleasant dreams, to enhance personal courage and protect one against danger. Agate provides a calming influence, improves perception, concentration and helps to develop and increase one's analytical talents.
Agates are among the oldest good luck and healing stones. In general agate enables the wearer to choose between true friends and falls ones. It is said to avert storms and lightning, protecting children from danger, especially in preventing falls, and to bring prosperity.

Agate is said to help treat disorders of the pancreas and to improve circulation. It is also a balancing and cleansing stone that can help bridge the gap between head and heart. Different types and colors of agates are said to have additional properties.
Powers: Strength, courage, longevity, gardening, love, healing and protection

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banned agate
The numerous types of agate - vaguely distinguishable by color or marking - are used in various types of magic. Though any type of agate may be worn for the above uses, these particular stones have traditional energies. A list of some of the major ones and their magical attributes are as follows:

Banded Agate (energy: projective, element: fire) For protection, restores bodily energy and eases stressful situations.

Black Agate (energy: projective, element: fire) A protective stone, wear for courage andd successful competitions.

Black and White Agate (energy: projective, element: fire) Worn as an amulet, this agate guards against physcial dangers.

Blue lace agate
Blue Lace Agate (energy: receptive, element: water) Wear or carry this stone for peace and happiness. Place in your hand to destress the entire body.

Brown or Tawny Agate (energy projective, element: fire) Long ago worn by warriors for victory in battle, today is is used for success in any undertaking. Prized in Italy and Persia as a guard against the evil eye. Also a fine wealth talisman.

Creamy Yellow Agate (energy: receptive, element: sun) Helps to lighten moods when used properly within a spell.

yellow agate
Mustard Yellow Agate (energy: receptive, element: sun) Useful in contacting the creative side of the mind and building an inventive mood.

Green Agate (energy: receptive, element: earth) This agate is generally worn for improved health of the eyes.

Moss Agate (energy: receptive, element: earth) Due to this stone's curious marking, the moss agate is especially the gardener's talisman. It is also worn to relieve a stiff neck, lend energy to the depleted, and for healing purposes. It is also used in spells involving riches, happiness, and longevity. Wear this stone to make new friend and to discover "treasure".

red agate
Red Agate (energy: projective, element: fire) Also known by many as the "Blood Agate" this stone was worn in ancient Rome to guard against insect bites and to heal the blood, as well as to promote calm and peace. It is also said to drive away spiders.

Grey with White Stripes Agate (energy: receptive, element: water) is often used for intellectual pursuits.

Brecciated (broken pieces, usually brown and red, held together by quartz) Used for optimism, tranquility, helps to avoid negative behavior and is a vibrational changer.

Enhydritic (nodules with water trapped inside) Used to contact water devas, and to balance emotions.
Enhydritic

More to come on this wonderful versatile gemstone

               1. Madagasker agate       
2.  Asia agate          
3.  Moss agate
4.  India Black Skin 
5.  Plume agate       
6.  Blue Lace agate          
7.  Banded agate             
8.  Plume agate             
9.  Montana agate          
10. Red agate 
11. Crazy Lace agate
12. Argentina agate
13. Montana agate
14. Dry Head agate
15.Mexican Lace Agate
16.Laguna agate
17.Banded agate
18.Graveyard Point agate
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