Agate is named after the river Achates in Greece, where it was discovered and named by Theophrastus in ancient times, in about the 3rd to 4th centuries BC. It is the Mystical birthstone for September. It is also the birth stone for the Zodiac sign of Gemini. Agate is the accepted gemstone for the 12th and 14th wedding anniversaries.
Agate is found all over the world; including: Africa, Asia, Brazil, Egypt, Germany, India, Italy, Mexico, Nepal, and the USA. Agates are found in all colors of the rainbow, although green and blue are quite rare.
Agate is a variety of chalcedony formed from layers of quartz which usually show varicolored bands. It usually occurs as rounded nodules or veins. Often tiny quartz crystals form within the stone and add to the beauty and uniqueness of individual stones. These crystals are called drusy (sometimes spelled druzy). Lapidaries often cut just the drusy from an agate, and jewelers use these drusy cabochons as the main stone or as an accent stone in their jewelry designs.
Agate is a relatively inexpensive stone except for some varieties with unusual banded or scenic markings. In recent years, Montana agate has gained wide acceptance in jewelry, and well cut stones with nicely defined patterns often exceed the price of some of the more well known gemstones. Plume agate, which looks like it's filled with beautiful feather plumes, often brings high dollar. Other popular varieties include moss agate and eye agate.
Agate is a stone of balance, precision, perception and eliminates negativity. It is believed to discern truth, accept circumstances, and is a powerful emotional healer. Legend says that Agate improves memory and concentration, increases stamina and encourages honesty. It is said to be particularly beneficial to people born under the sign of Gemini as it helps them to remain calm and focused. Agate is believed to prevent insomnia and insure pleasant dreams, to enhance personal courage and protect one against danger. It provides a calming influence, improves perception, concentration and helps to develop and increase one's analytical talents.
Chemical Composition: Agate is a form of Chalcedony (silicon dioxide.)
Crystal system: Hexagonal
Specific gravity: 2.57-2.64
Luster: dull vitreous to greasy
Transparency: transparent or opaque
Fracture: conchoidal to splintery
Mohs-Scale Hardness: 7-9