All about the Volcanic Stone – Agate

For an agate to be regarded as real and precious, the main requirement is that it must have bands all over it. This makes it easy for it to be distinguished from other varieties of chalcedony. However, there are some types of agate, such as moss agate and dendritic agate which do not have bands on them to be called as agate, but they have inclusions of few other colors which appear like bands in some cases.

How it is formed

Agates are known as semi precious gems that originate from chalcedony of the quartz family – a silicon dioxide formation arranged in the form of small quartz crystals.  Agates are naturally formed in volcanoes when cave water rich in silica keeps dripping through the cavities between the rocks. This silica water keeps accumulating in small holes in volcanic rocks and over a long course of time, this silicate matter ends up filling the holes completely. The layers of silicate matter form themselves in the form of microcrystal.  These layers are responsible for the bands found on agate. Differences in colors of agate are due to changes in temperature, pressure and the matter collected during the formation of agate.

Agate in History

If we look back in ancient times, we can find agate among the artifacts discovered from Neolithic regions. History tells that agate was used in carving items, such as ornaments and amulets. Agate has been used in Greek and Egyptian empires because of its medicinal properties, which later spread to Russia through Middle Eastern countries. A Greek philosopher Theophrastus was the one who found agate on the Shore of Dirillo River, in Sicily, somewhere around 3rd and 4th BC.   

The historical backdrop of Agate generation links back to German town of Idar-Oberstein, which has developed to be known as a vital gemstone center. Agates and Jasper were found in the Idar-Oberstein area, and cut and cleaned by neighborhood artisans. When large deposits of agate were found in Rio Grande do Sul, in 1800s, it was shipped to Germany for getting cut and cleaned. The nearby Agate cutters of Idar-Oberstein were appropriate for this work due to their skills and excellent craftsmanship. This is why Idar-Oberstein is important in terms of agate refinement. Agate can be found almost everywhere in the world. It is commonly available and yet equally demanded because of its beautiful unusual color bands and buttery appearance.

Throughout the course of history, agate has been regarded and revered by masses. It hasl also been used in almost all cultures and civilizations, In Islamic culture, it has been worn by prophets, whereas in Babylonian civilizations, agate was used for protection and strength. It was used in the breastplates and swords in ancient times. Not just that, it is believed that agate is a grounding stone, which balances the yin-yang energy in one’s body. It is used to ward off fears and insecurities and help with the feelings of envy and jealousy as it grounds all the energies in our bodies, which are not beneficial. It also represents the 12th and 13th wedding anniversary.

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