Agate Gemstones

Agate is a type of quartz, but with remarkable colours and patterns running through it. When highly polished, these gemstones are very striking indeed. Lapidaries in the Idar-Oberstein region of Germany are known to be the best in the world in cutting fine Agate gemstones. Agate gemstones make wonderful, unusual brooches or pendants. It's also possible to find lovely Agate beads, which make wonderful necklaces and bracelets.

Agate Gemstones and Beads available to buy on eBay

About Agate

Agate dates back to Ancient Greek times. The stone itself was named by a Greek naturalist and philosopher called Theophrastus. He was the person who discovered the stone in its original form, which was lying on the banks of the Achates River as he strolled along it.

Agate can come in an amazing variety of colours and patterns. It is found in rocks such as volcanic lavas. It is a variety of quartz, but is distinctive in that Agate will have bands of colour and pattern running through it. Perhaps it can be described as a geometrical marbling. These gemstones are sometimes dyed or treated to enhance such colour bands. Dyeing Agate isn't unusual or dishonest, and can be done in a very subtle and sympathetic way. However the fact that a stone has been enhanced in this way should be disclosed by any vendor.

Agate Gemstone

You may see 2 specific types of Agate gemstones: Moss Agate and Fortification Agate. Moss Agate is usually translucent, with a milky white or grey look, with mossy patterns running through it. Fortification Agate has very regular line patterns around the edges of the stone, which can be seen when the stone is sliced. The names comes from the idea that these lines give the impression of a plan of a fortification. There are also highly sought after "Scene Agate", also called "Landscape Agate". This is where "scenes" have been created inside the stone by dark iron oxide inclusions. These scenes often give the impression of a tree, for example.

Typical Agate Uses

Agate is usually thinly cut and highly polished. It makes wonderful pendants and brooches. Large agates can be carved into ornaments and even bowls. Agate is highly prized in many cultures, and for some it is believed agate offers protection from evil. Agate was popular in the early 20th century with designers of Art Nouveau jewellery, and this influence can still be seen in many contemporary pieces of agate jewellery today.

Agate Jewellery

Thinly cut agate can be used to great effect in pendants, brooches and bracelets. Agate was popular in the early 20th century with designers of Art Nouveau jewellery, and this influence can still be seen in many contemporary pieces of agate jewellery today.

Agate Occurrences and Origins

Agate is found in Brazil and Uruguay, as well as India, USA and also China. There are even some Agates to be found in Scotland and Italy. Probably the most famous Agate occurrences came from Germany, where it had been mined for 100s of years. Sadly these mines are exhausted, but the region of Idar-Oberstein still leads the world in cutting and treating Agate to create the finest Agate gemstones.

Agate Gemstones