Agate is one of the birthstones for this month and unlike most birthstones it comes in a wide variety of colours which got us thinking that we should find out a bit more about this popular and varied gemstone.
The variety of agate colours and patterns fascinate the LJS team, especially when adding new stock (like these) to the pop-up shop
According to Geology.com an agate is “a translucent variety of microcrystalline quartz. It is used as a semi-precious stone when it is of desirable quality and color. Agate generally forms by the deposition of silica from ground water in the cavities of igneous rocks. The agate deposits in concentric layers around the walls of the cavity or in horizontal layers building up from the bottom of the cavity. These structures produce the banded patterns that are characteristic of many agates.
“Agate occurs in a wide range of colors which include: brown, white, red, gray, pink, black and yellow. The colors are caused by impurities and occur as alternating bands within the agate. The different colors were produced as ground waters of different compositions seeped into the cavity. This banding gives many agates the interesting colors and patterns that make it a popular gemstone.”
Agates can be found in several countries around the world. In fact, some countries have their own websites about their agates such as Scotland and Argentina.
With so much to choose from we took a look at some the types of agate that stand out from the crowd.
Binghamite or silkstone
A type of agate stone found only on the Cuyuna iron range in Minnesota, USA. The formation of the stone occurs near deposits of iron ore. (From heartofstonestudio.com)
A pretty semi-translucent type of agate embedded with green formations that look like moss. Moss agate sometimes can be found with black ‘moss’ also, but more often is found in the green variety. (From Pure Gemstones)
Irridescent fire agates are found in Mexico and get the brownish colour from iron. (From Mystic Merchant)
Mexican crazy lace agate
The complex bands pf colour in this agate give it a fabric-like pattern (from Sam Silver Hawk)
And finally some spectacular agate jewellery.
We love this cuff with slabs of agate. Unfortunately we can’t track down who originally made it from the Pinterest link – we’d love to know.
And like the cuff this folder formed copper bangle with fire agate, it really shows off the stone.
Fire agate and copper bangle by John S Brana
We hope you enjoy exploring the world of agates – and please do share your pictures with us of any agate jewellery you have, via twitter @jewelleryschool