Other Names: Achates
Origin of Name: Greek Achates, as it was first found along the shore line of that river.
Meaning of the Stone: Providing Balance, (etymologically there is no meaning of the name)
Family: Microcrystaline Silica/ Chalcedony Quartz
Region: All regions, mainly Africa, Asia, South America, Egypt,Germany, India,Italy,Mexico, USA
Color: white, grey, blue orange, red, black and varieties in between
Fracture: Conchoidal, containing sharp edges
Hardness (Gravity): 6.5-7 (2.58-2.64)
Crystal System: Rhombohedral Microcrystaline
Similar minerals: Turritella Agate, Moss Agate,Eye Agate, Chalcedony,Beryl
1. Legend and History
Historical findings have shown that the Agate stone was first discovered around the 4th and 3rd century BC, by a Greek philosopher, Theophrastus, around the shores of the Achates river, thus obtaining it’s name. It’s use was widespread in that period, and it was most commonly used for hardstone carving.
Agate was also believed by Ancient populations to hold certain supernatural powers, such as making the wearer of this stone invisible and discern truth. Legend also has it that Agate prevents insomnia, improves concentration and memory, enhance ones courage, and protect against danger.
In reference to star-signs, it is believed that Agate is extremely advantageous to those born under the sign of the Gemini, as it calms them and keeps them focused.
2. Origin in nature and use:
Agate belongs to the chalcedony family formed through layers of quartz; most agate stones occur from volcanic residue such as rocks, or parts of molten lava. Agate stones are, due to their origin in nature, found in the form of rounded nodules and usually display a central cavity when sliced. Most forms of the stone have natural colors although they can be heated or dyed for an added, decorative, effect. In order for agate to be formed the existence of volcanic ash, water (rainfall or underground) manganese, iron and mineral oxides along with silica is necessary, whilst the various colorations are also dependent of the type of mineral oxides.
3. Interesting Facts:
Agate and Chalcedony share a similarity not only in the gemstone family, but also in reference to their names, as both are used interchangeably, although Agate is the primary name for for those varieties of Chalcedony which are banded. Historically, agate is the oldest stone which has been recorded, and is thought to be the appropriate gift for the 12th and 14th wedding anniversary, in the form of either rings, earrings, or pendants; bracelets and necklaces can also be decorated with agate stones as they may release more of their energy while in contact with the body.
4. Care and Storing:
If the correct care and storing is not provided to an Agate stone, as well as any other precious stone, it may lose it’s shine, and be prone to damages. Frequent cleaning of the stone is recommended by means of a soft cloth and water; furthermore, if the weather allows, Agate stones tend to clear beautifully if left in rain water over night, you must be cautious however that the water is clean, and not acidic. Another fact which the owner if such stones must be aware of, is that chlorine may severely damage agate, thus it is best to remove all agate jewelry prior to entering a swimming pool. Storing of agate, and all precious stones, is best in a cool dry place, in a jewelry box, or soft velvet pouch, so as to mitigate scratches and loss of shine.