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Etymology and history of agate

Agate is one of the varieties of chalcedony, belonging to the group of quartzes. Its name is derived from the river Achates (today's name Dirillo) in southern Sicily in Italy, where Agates had existed since antiquity. Agates are present in the form of agglomerates of minerals or fill cavities among volcanic rock. A strong fiber construction is a defining characteristic, which allows us to differentiate between Agates and other types of chalcedony (compact, crystalized varieties quartz). The depth of the color bands depends on mineral impurities, although due to its porous construction, agate is often artificially colored or impregnated, to enhance natural color. Agates are characterized with a massive diversity, depending on the type of occurrence, structure, and color distribution, for example the fortress agate, mossy agate (a mossy stone) typically translucent and colorless, white or gray. It is mostly reground into thin plates or polished for ornaments, necklaces and brooches.

The agate description

Agates are most often formed in the so-called geodic rock masses, which are empty. They are formed from silicon dioxide (SiO2) and have a hardness marked number 7. Most Agates are formed during volcanic lava eruptions, by partially crystallizing in the empty rock. These stones are made up of parallel and adjacent to each other layers of different colors and shades. Color diversity is very high, which what makes Agates ideal for creating jewelry and various kinds of ornaments.

Agates in jewelry

Due to the variety of colors, jewelry made from agates is comprehensive in its application. Fashion designers often reach for these stones in their collections. Designers such as Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent use them in their fashion shows. Sizeable and colorful Agates look majestic in large necklaces and bracelets. Particularly fashionable, is jewelry in the color of aquamarine and different shades of blue, red and different shades of classic black with a tint of white.

Agate occurrence

The most famous agate occurrence district in mining and processing of agates Idar Oberstein in Germany, where the stone was acquired since 1548. Nowadays, the agates are distributed to those regions from huge deposits in Uruguay and Brazil. Mossy agate is present in India, and also in China and the United States. The most famous tree agates (stone formed from trees) occur in the Fossilized Petrified Forest in Arizona (USA). Agates are also found in Mexico, Italy, Egypt, India, Russia, and China.

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