Information about Agate
Pretty much everyone has heard of Agate, but do you actually know what is is?
There are a great variety of natural types of Agate, as well as even more man-made, altered, and fake pieces. This has led to the nomenclature being quite difficult to get to grips with for the beginner collecting minerals and rocks.
Simply put – Chalcedony is a form of Quartz with microscopic crystals – otherwise known as ‘microcrystalline Quartz’.
Agate is a transparent form of Chalcedony, typically with banding or stripes – but not always. Jasper, on the other hand, is not transparent, due to inclusions and impurities. I will go into a little more detail further down this post.
Black Agate is a dark Agate, translucent. It can range from dark brown to black, and sometimes has white bands.
Botswana Agate, simply, is an Agate from Botswana. It is typically a dark brown or grey banded Agate, but can be pink too!
Blue Lace Agate
Lace Agate contains a range of swirling patterns, mainly eyes, swirls, and bands. Blue Lace Agate is found in Africa, and is one of the most popular types – however, it seems to be getting rarer and rarer.
Blue Storm Agate
Blue Storm Agate is hard to define – while it is sold as seperate, it seems to be similar or identical to Blue Lace Agate. The specimens we have seem to have more swirls than bands, though.
Crazy Lace Agate
Lace Agate contains a range of swirling patterns, mainly eyes, swirls, and bands. Crazy Lace Agate is multi coloured – typically light brown and red. It comes from Mexico.
Dendritic Agate is an unusual variation. As it isn’t banded, many would not consider it a true Agate.
It contains small plant like traces or Iron or Manganese, which are called Dendrites.
Fire Agate is a gorgeous iridescent mineral from America and Mexico – quite rare, and very prized. Lower grades can be found relatively cheap, but the expensive pieces are gem grade and are usually cut into cabochons or polished.
Iris Agate is an
Red Line Agate
Turritella Agate is an interesting translucent Agate with embedded fossil shells. However – Turritella is an incorrect name. The fossils have been found to be the freshwater snail ‘Elimia’. However, Turritella is by far and away the most commonly used name, and ‘Elimia Agate’ would confuse most customers.
Primarily, Agate is used as a decorative material. It does, however, have some uses in industry and crafts.
High quality leather burnishing tools and jewellers bezel setting tools are often made of Agate – as are some specialist types of bearings.
However, decorative usages like carvings and jewellery are by far and away the largest use of Agate.
Agate was named somewhere in between the 3rd and 4th century BC by a Greek philosopher, who found it in the ‘Achates’ river.
An especially interesting historical tit bit about Agate is that it was mentioned by Pliny the Elder, a Roman author – specifically mentioning artificial methods of colour enhancing Agate. This means during the time of the Roman Empire, they had the same problems we do today – unscrupulous stone sellers selling dyed pieces!
Hazards and warnings
The danger with this material lies in the actual cutting process itself – Abalone dust is incredibly bad for you when inhaled. To be clear – most organic materials and most rocks and minerals also produce dust which is harmful to humans.
As with most lapidary work, the advice is to always work the material wet, to avoid dust propagation as much as possible, and to wear either a forced air respirator or a good quality particulate filter mask.
Spirituality and crystal healing with Abalone and Paua
We offer some collated information on crystal healing and metaphysical uses of crystals below.
This is gathered from multiple sources across the internet and a wide range of books, before being written out for you. This means you get the information they agreed upon, rather than the bits that may have been added… well, along the way.
It is important to note however, that we believe crystals and crystal healing should be used alongside medicine and treatment options, not instead of them. Crystal healing can be a great way to keep a positive mindset during hard times, and your mindset may absolutely make the difference and assist any other medical treatments you are undergoing.
With the exception of an allergy to a stone, or mishandling a toxic or poisonous stone, there should be no reason reiki or crystal healing can’t be done alongside traditional medical procedures.
Translations and Alternate Names
External links and further reading
For a significantly more in depth look at Agate, see the Mindat page on the subject.