Agate - To know Gemstones better
Agate is Usually banded in layers, or stripes, some varieties have "eye" markings, or specks of color. The individual bands can be different colors or monochrome. Agates belong to the group of microcrystalline quartz. Most agates occur as nodules in volcanic rocks or ancient lavas, in former cavities produced by volatiles in the original 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. Concentric bands of Agate form in nearly every color the earth can produce, including a colorless form. This is why it is called the earth rainbow.
The name comes from “Achates River” on the Mediterranean island of Sicily. Theophrastus named it when he came across, while it was a Greek colony before it was conquered by the Romans.
We know agate has been used as long as man has made jewelry. Agate has been discovered with the artifacts of Neolithic people, and was used as healing amulets and ornamentation dating back to Babylon. Its medicinal uses continued through the ancient Greek and Egyptian civilizations, and spread throughout Africa and the Middle East into Russia. Even in the Middle Ages, it was customary to tie an agate to the two horns of an ox to positively influence the harvest. Sardonyx, a variety of agate, is one of the twelve gems embedded in the foundations of the walls of Holy City Jerusalem. In the Bible, the second book of Moses mentions agate as one of the gems incorporated into the breastplate of High Priest Aaron. Also, agate was once attributed the ability to make things invisible.
Some interesting facts about Agates:
- The largest and heaviest agate found so far weighs over 60,000 kilograms. This enormous gemstone is 2.70 meters high, 5 meters across and nearly 5 meters thick. It was discovered in China in 2009 and made the Guinness Book of World Records.
- Agate carving dates back to 3500 years ago. An agate seal was unearthed in Pylos, western Greece dated to 1450 BC and called the Pylos Combat Agate was so detailed that experts believe it could only be carved using a magnifying glass.
Agates come in a wide variety of natural colors, brown, red, lilac, pink, yellow as well as black, gray and white.
Let’s mention some properties of agate:
- Mineral: Microcrystalline quartz
- Chemistry: SiO2
- Refractive index: 1.53 - 1.54
- Specific gravity: 2.60 - 2.64
- Mohs Hardness: 6.5 - 7
Agate is the mystical birthstone for September and the zodiac birthstone for Gemini. It is also an alternative 12th wedding anniversary gemstone.
How to care and clean this stunning jewelry.
- Use warm soapy water and a soft brush to clean your stone very easily. Agate is quartz and its hardness and durability, so keep these in mind:
- Don’t use any other objects that are harder than agate for scrubbing or cleaning.
- Do not use any household chemicals when caring or cleaning your agate gemstone or gemstone jewelry pieces as with most gemstones.
- Avoid any prolonged exposure to extreme heat as it may cause permanent damage to the gemstone.
- Agate should be stored inside a fabric lined box or wrapped in a soft cloth.
- Baabak Mor