Agate is a micro-crystalline form of silica, generally consisting of chalcedony. Agates can be found in many locations, but are generally associated with volcanic areas.
Physical Properties of Agate
Agate colors and patterns can vary a great deal. Some are white or grey, while others are pale blue, orange, red, black, or even banded with more than one color present. They are translucent, with some being nearly opaque and others being relatively easy to see through.
Agate stones are very smooth and waxy in appearance. Some agates are hollow, with small crystals forming inside. When these are broken open, the interior cavities with their crystal formations are exposed. These agates are known as geodes.
There are many different classifications of agate according to mineral content and appearance. Some of these include moss agate, blue lace agate, pink agate, orange band agate, purple agate, titanium agate, fire agate, Botswana agate, blue band agate, and black band agate.
Once you have seen the different types of agate, you will learn how to recognize them quite fast, as most of them are quite distinct.
List of Gemstone Meanings: For our full list of gemstone meanings.
Agate was named by a Greek philosopher and naturalist named Theophrastus, who discovered it along the shore of the river Achates around the 3rd or 4th century BC. Since agates are quite common, they have long been used in hard-stone carving around the world.
Archaeologists have unearthed beads, carvings, decorative dishware, jewelry, and other items from archaeological sites in Crete and other locations. Agate played a prominent role in Bronze Age Minoan artistry, and marvelous pieces have also been recovered from Byzantine Empire sites.
Agate is very hard and resists acids, so it is has been used to craft mortars and pestles for mixing and crushing chemical compounds. It also has a history of use in leather burnishing.
Metaphysical Properties of Agate
Agates have long been associated with good luck, balance, and confidence. They also can symbolize prosperity and protection, as well as patience and inner calm. In folk remedies, agate is connected to fertility, headaches, and nerve restoration. When using agate in Feng Shui, place in the center of a room for balance, in the west for health to protect children, in the southwest for fertility, and in the east for family.
Different types of agate have different meanings. For example, blue lace agate is associated with air (as an element), grace, and elegance. Fire agate is associated with relaxation and meditation. Moss agate symbolizes a connection to nature.
Disclaimer: Agate should not be used instead of regular medical treatment, but in addition to it. Always seek professional help when dealing with health related problems.