Agate is a mineral of the Quartz family, a microcrystalline category of silica that is available in stripes of multitude of colors. Because of its colorful appearance it is also known as ‘the earth rainbow.’ The name ‘agate’ is derived from the Achetes River in Sicily where this multicolored stone was first found by the Greek naturalist and philosopher Theophrastus.
This gemstone is found all over the world and mainly in Egypt, India, Uruguay, Madagascar, Mexico, Scotland, China, Germany, Nepal, Mexico, Italy and several European areas. Germany’s Idar-Oberstein mine is the most famous place known for agate depositions and has been active since 1548. The colors of the stone vary with respect to the area of occurrence. Plus, their cost is also subjected to their availability and appearance.
This gemstone was widely used by the ancient civilizations for embellishing armory, statues and especially in the art of hardstone carving. The first prehistoric civilization that became famous for the use of this gemstone in their jewelry, signet rings, seals and beads was the Sumerians. This gemstone is also considered a protective stone and was mounted in the armory of warriors with the belief that it would keep them safe.
Archeological discoveries at the Knossas site have revealed that agate played an eminent role in the Bronze Age Minoan culture. Moreover, the remains of ornamentations and healing amulets found at the Neolithic sites revealed that their people strongly believed in the healing properties of this stone and used it widely in the objects of their daily use.
Agate bowls held special significance for the Roman and Byzantine Empire. Royalties took pride in their collection and Mithridates, king of Pontus were known to have a collection of two to four thousand agate bowls. On the contrary, the Arabs and Persians used this stone in their finger rings. They’d adorn it with their names or a Quranic verse with the faith that its power would protect them from unforeseen calamities.
Currently, several European museums have these artifacts on display.
Various Types of Agates
The main feature that distinguishes this gemstone from others is its striking and vivid appearance. Plus, the fact that it is available all over the world in a multitude of swirling colors makes it all the more desirable. Here is a brief overview of some common types of agates.
Crazy Lace Agate
Also known as the ‘happy lace’ or the ‘laughter stone,’ this particular type of stone is considered as the ‘joy bringer’. The stone is primarily of white color with bands of white, yellow, red, scarlet, creamy browns and grays spread wide across it.
In some cultures it is believed that keeping a dish of crazy lace agate at a party can promote laughter and joy whereas at workplaces it can create a feeling of harmony and promote direct communication. This category of agate is also known for relieving fear of ghosts and insects. Another legend says that placing this happy lace stone under an old spider’s web for 24 hours every month attracts love and happy experiences.
This mysterious version of agate is known to have a fiery positive effect on its wearer. The crystals of this gemstone are brown with igniting flashes of green, gold and orange. In ancient civilizations this stone was held as sacred as fire gods and was believed to contain the heart of fire, which explains its wide use in alchemy.
Fire agate is also known as the ‘spiritual flame of spiritual perfection’ and that is why it was used in historical civilizations to induce confidence and courage in shy children and timid adults. The fire-y properties of this stone are also associated with passion. People fed up of life are advised to wear or hold on to a crystal of fire agate to awaken the essence of life and to promote stability.
The color variations in moss agate are different from other types of this gemstone; they are not banded or striped but rather clouded. The crystal is mainly bluish, green in color with splashes of red and milky white patterns all over.
Moss agate is considered the stone of agriculture and gardeners, and it’s famous for its healing properties. Tribal priests in ancient times used this gemstone to induce strength and courage in the warriors believing that it enabled them to interact with the human organic system. Even now, this stone is used to speed up the recovery process, regulate blood circulation, and reduce digestive and intestinal problems. Drinking moss agate water regularly is known to cleanse the lymph system and kidneys. Plus, it promotes insulin production in the body.
Blue Lace Agate
The cool and calming banded sky blue tones of this precious gemstone are known to stir emotions and exude positivity. Blue color is generally associated with emotional strength and serenity and this stone affects all these areas of life. Crystals of blue lace agate placed in agitated or angry environment can nullify the negativity of a situation and create a calming effect. This is why it is also known as the ‘stone of diplomats.’
Blue lace agate has the power to treat high blood pressure problems, epilepsy, thyroid, arthritis, sore throats, hereditary bone deformity and stress related headaches. Keeping a crystal of this stone on the forehead can reduce fever but in case the fever returns, the patient should consult a doctor. The stone is dedicated to Nerthus, Hanwi and the Sioux Moon goddess (the night sun) and due to this it is widely believed that keeping a crystal of blue lace agate under the pillow is effective against sleepwalking.
It is also known as tree agate, which is derived from a Greek word meaning tree-like. The base color of dendritic agates is gray, white or colorless with fern like green and brown textures present in the center from the intrusion of manganese or iron. This gemstone is connected with tree spirits, woodland and the Greek dryards.
Dendritic agate is considered the stone of abundance. Some of the ancient civilizations used to bury crystals of this stone during plantation in the fields to ensure an abundant and good harvest. Moreover, it is believed to bring abundance of positive and calming energy in life. The gemstone is also associated with Mother Nature and is known to induce powers that promote self discovery along with inner growth.
This gemstone contains extremely close bands of varying shades of red and scarlet with splatters of yellow, brown, milky white and golden colors on the surface. Its striking appearance makes it the most praise-able and admired agate among all. In addition, it’s rare availability further increases its value. Laguna deposits are mainly found in a four mile area of the mountainous range in Chihuahau, Mexico.
This gemstone is associated with creativity and stability. Many writers and artists place this stone in their rooms since they believe it enhances imagination and help keep writer’s block at bay. Educators, intellectuals, and counselors can also benefit from this precious stone, especially the ones who deal with mathematical endeavors.
Agate is the birthstone of Geminians and of people born in September. When the energy of the stone collides with the inner energy of the person’s birthstone, it radiates positive effects; therefore, improving all areas of that person’s life.