Thursday, April 19, 2007


There is not another silica based crystal that is more individually unique than the Agate family. Many of the family members, Carnelian, Petrified Wood, Blue Lace Agate, Fire Agate, etc., have their own stories. We’ll look at the Agate family as a whole in this article, and revisit some of the other’s in future (or past) issues.

Agates are named for the Achates River near Sicily. They are found all around the world, in almost any area there has been hydrothermal activity. Highly pressurized hot water rich in silica that filled crevices, vugs and empty bassalt stones.

Unlike other Quartz crystals that form in this manner, Agates, are not left undisturbed. Instead, over hundreds or millions of years, the process repeats itself again and again. Creating concentric or vertical layers inside the stone.

The center of an Agate is usually hollow, but not always. Often containing botryoidal (rounded), terminated or stalactite crystals. It is not uncommon to find Amethyst and Citrine points inside Agate geodes from Brazil. Occasionally, a layer of Quartz will grow over this central formation. The entrapped crystals create a beautiful rainbow effect when struck by light.

The outer covering of an Agate is a perfect disguise for the beauty that waits within. The surface is rough and pitted. Those pits were escape routes for pressure and the steaming silica mixture. These relief valves sometimes cause interruptions and swirls in the forming bands of the Agate. Ensuring that each crystal would have a perfectly unique pattern.

This crust is actually much more fragile than the crystal within. Over the centuries it will weather away, washing the final gemstone into rivers and stream beds. Creeks and shallow streams are wonderful places to find Agates. A friend in West Virginia is constantly picking up Carnelian from a stream near their home.

An Agate geode can be as small as an apple seed; the largest ever mined was a two ton geode in Brazil.

We have been attracted to Agates for as long as we’ve been decorating ourselves. Mithradates, an ancient king of Pontus is famous for a 4000 piece collection of Agate bowls. During the renaissance a revival of Agate bowl collecting financed the rise of hundreds of lapidaries along the Nahe River valley in what we now know as Germany.

Though the mines in the region have long been worked out, many of the cutting houses still remain, importing gems and crystals from around the world.

Agates seem to have been used as power tools since our earliest civilizations. Magicians in Persia used the crystal to divert dangerous storms. In ancient Asia, Agates were used to see the future. Studying the circular patterns helped open the pathway between your conscious and subconscious mind.

Ceremonial Agates were sometimes carved with serpents or men riding snakes. They were used in protective rituals to guard against possession, harmful spells or demons. Romans wore Agate to please gods that brought bountiful harvests. Early Britons used the gem to prevent skin disease. In the middle East, talismans of Agate were worn to keep blood healthy.

Nine of the United States chose an Agate as their state’s gem; Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, Washington, Arizona, Tennessee and Mississippi.

Many of the individual Agates, such as Carnelian, Blue Lace Agate or Fire Agate have their own traditions and histories. In general, this is a very loving crystal. Agates want to be with us. I believe this is why they are so easy to find.

All Agates have excellent protective, and healing energies.

Do you have a hard time coping with crowds? Or bad drivers? Hate going to the mall? Carrying an Agate will help protect you from the negative energies that can rise up when dealing with large crowds of humans.

The wide range of colors, make Agate a wonderful stone for working with your individual Chakras. Use a Carnelian with your base, a Blue Lace Agate with your throat or a finely banded specimen for your crown.

Sucking on an Agate was believed to relief thirst. Minute amounts of water can become trapped inside crystals, giving you a small emergency ration.

Placing an Agate under your pillow may aid with insomnia and can stimulate pleasant dreams. If you have to deal with numbers, a crystal on your desk will help you be more precise. You’ll also be more analytical in your approach to situations.

As Spring approaches, try adding some Agate to your gardens. Many historical traditions believed it brighten flowers and improved the yield of fruits and vegetables.

If you have never worked with stones before, people friendly Agates are a wonderful gem to start with.

1 comment:

tiga rasa said...

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