Agate is the banded form of Chalcedony (cryptocrystalline quartz) mostly formed in cavities of molten rock. The characteristic bands in Agate usually follow the pattern of the cavity in which the mineral has formed, and the colours of those bands are determined by the different impurities present. Most vivid and brightly coloured Agate is dyed or stained to enhance the natural colour.
When microscopic quartz crystals are deposited in layers these tiny quartz crystals sometimes form within the stone. These crystals are called drusy and add to the beauty and uniqueness of the stones.
Agate can be found all over the world but the main sources are in the south of Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul) and in the north of Uruguay. Other deposits are in Africa, Australia, China, India, the Caucasus, Madagascar, Mexico, Mongolia, and the United States.
Traditional legends, gemstone folklore and healing properties of Agate
There are many healing properties, myths and legends attributed to Agate. In antiquity many cultures believed it was a stone of protection. According to some Agates are considered to be grounding, calming, cleansing and protective. They are also said to be harmonising, balance physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual energies, and awaken talents. Help give self-confidence, improve concentration and ease emotional trauma. Agates are also believed to prevent insomnia and bad dreams, enhance personal courage, and give strength and inspiration.
Agate is the Zodiac stone of Gemini and therefore is believed to be particularly beneficial to people born under that sign as it helps them to remain calm and focussed.
Other forms of Agate:
Blue Lace Agate is a delicate light blue with a fine inter-layering of colourless Agate which can give it a lacey effect.
Botswana Agate has beautiful dark and light banding and comes in variations of browns and greys.
Brecciated Agate is an Agate broken but naturally cemented together by quartz.
Fire Agate has inclusions of red to brown haematite that give an internal iridescence and “fire” to polished stones.
Indian Agate has colours and inclusions that vary from greens to beiges to browns. It is thought that Indian Agate is a great aid for meditation and it is a powerful healing stone.
Mexican Lace Agate, sometimes called Crazy Lace Agate, is a beautiful multi-coloured Agate.
Moss Agate has green banding and moss-like inclusions.