Agate

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 agate disc.

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 and vugs.

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 and streams.

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 suppresses anger.