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The word Agate comes from the Greek name for a stone originally found in the
Achates River in Sicily (currently known as Drillo River). Agate has been found
with the remains of Stone Age man in France from as early as 20,000-16,000
B.C. and the Egyptians used agates prior to 3000 B.C. for talismans, amulets,
seals, rings and vessels. Early civilizations used eye beads to protect them from
evil and bring good luck. They created eye beads by carving a hole through an
Although agate is found all over the world, the most exceptional specimens come
from Southern Brazil and Northern Uruguay. However, the moss agates of
Colorado and Montana are equal in beauty and some beautiful specimens have
been found in Mexico and California, U.S. A geode type of agate, called "Thunder
Egg" by Native American Indians, is found in Oregon. Fire agates come from
Mexico and Arizona. Commercial deposits exist in China, Mexico, India,
Madagascar, and the U.S. along the shores of Lake Superior agates are found
all over the world where highly pressurized hot water rich in silica filled crevices
The outer surface of an agate is rough, pitted and ugly. It masks the beauty of
the crystal inside. However, the crust is weak and somewhat fragile and over
centuries it is washed away allowing the gemstone to be discovered along rivers
Agate is a microcrystalline variety of chalcedony, which occur in nodular masses
in volcanic lava rocks. They form in concentric layers and fill cavities in a host
rock. The results are round nodules bands similar to tree trunks and may appear
as eyes, scallops, or as landscapes with dendrites that look like trees. This last
type is called Tree Agate or Moss Agate. Many fossils are actually agatized
material that replaced an organic substance such as wood. Many varieties of
petrified wood are used for jewelry an ornamental purposes because the original
structure has been replaced with agate.
Agate occurs in most colors including black, gray, brown, reddish, green, pink,
blue, and yellow from transparent to opaque. Today, many of these stones are
artificially dyed to enhance the depth of color and to produce more vivid tones
than those found in nature.
Ancient civilizations believed that wearing agate would make them invisible, thus
protecting them from danger. Farmers used agates to ensure good crops.
Romans wore agate to please the gods that would bring an abundant harvest. In
Persia, agate was worn to confer eloquence and magicians used the crystal to
divert dangerous storms. In ancient Asia, agates were used to see the future.
Early Britons used the gem to prevent skin disease. Agate talismans were worn
in the Middle East to keep the blood healthy. Sucking on an agate was thought to
relieve thirst. Another legend says that any person who looks upon an agate can
not remain secretive and is obligated to tell the truth.
Agate is said to have mystical powers to guard one against danger, to cure
insomnia, to ensure pleasant dreams and to help with clarity enabling one to see
the world through a broader perspective. It attracts good fortune, increases
concentration and promotes good will. Agate is reported to be an aid in
overcoming flaws, fears, and loneliness. It is believed to remove curses and
spells and helps to eliminate bad luck. Many believe that agate has a calming
effect during times of stress and that it gives a sense of strength and courage. It
is thought to stimulate fertility and to be advantageous in relieving bone marrow
ailments and allergies. Artists and writers have used agate to enhance creativity.
For centuries agate was known as a powerful healer, a bringer of good fortune
and wealth. Hindu mystics believe that agate helps children overcome fears.
Because agate has been known and regarded around the world for thousands of
years, its beneficial and healing properties are diverse and almost innumerable.
Only some of the reputed benefits found in literature are:
Aids self confidence, aids communication and public speaking, aids digestion,
aids with arthritis and headaches, aids in overcoming addictive behaviors,
banishes fear, brings good luck, calms the mind, cures inflammation, fever
reduction, general healing, heals ulcers, improves circulation, improves courage,
improves hearing, improves memory, improves throat conditions, improves
vitality, lessens headaches, longevity, love, marital and romantic fidelity, physical
strength, reduces stress and emotional tension, stimulates the intellect and