Agates have been discovered in numerous countries all over the world. In fact, it would be difficult to identify a country on the map that does not possess a single commercial source of this stone. The numerous sources of agate can be explained by the key ingredients that form this stone. This stone largely contains SiO2 or silica. Given that silicon dioxide is the most common mineral on the crust of the earth, the abundance of agates is expected. In geological history, i.e. several million years ago, water dissolved silica in rock formations and volcanic ash on the surface of the earth.
Slowly, the water evaporated and the dissolved SiO2 was left behind as a solid residue. Under geologic conditions of high pressure and temperature the salt was hardened and was converted to stones that we find today. The main reason that gives agates their usual patterns is that the silica was deposited in well-defined layers. Each layer contained a unique set of secondary minerals, some of which changed the appearance of the primary mineral – silica. In other cases, the inorganic solution had organic materials such as branches. As millions of years passed, the organic matter decomposed to be replaced with other minerals, leading to the formation of petrified wood. Agates commonly have a hardness rating just over 7 on the Mohs scale. The unit weight as compared to that of water of agates varies between 2.6 and 2.7.
Followers of metaphysical sciences state that agates enhance numerous benefits. Most commonly, agates can help in balancing energy, provide courage to the wearer, calm emotions, help promote healing after physical trauma, and provide assistance with the overall mental well-being and protection of the person. Kids more than most can benefit from its powers. It is for this reason that agates are considered to be the preferred stone for jewelry designs. Historically, agates have represented the strong. Soldiers leaving for war decorated their gear with agates because they believed that agate helped the win. Many also swear by the power of agates because they are known to make one creative and enhance the mind. These stones are noted to cleanse the aura by eliminating negativity. They are claimed to promote friendships, and aiding marital fidelity. So believers will often wear a silver pendant or some other item containing agate so that they may benefit from its energy.
There are numerous types of agates found on earth. However, certain forms of agates are more popular than others. Botswana agates typically exhibit bright colors and beautiful bands. These agates are often used in designs for fine and fashion jewelry. Fire agates from Central America are also used in jewelry designs. Fire agates are brownish-orange in color because of the presence of ferrous impurties within the silica matrix. These bold patterns provide their own uniqueness to gemstones jewelry designs.
When it comes to today’s jewelry designs, agates have ascended in importance because of the numerous patterns and colors in which they can be found, and because they are relatively inexpensive. As a consequence of their strong structure, most agates can be facet cut and polished quite readily. Vividly colered specimens are mounted in sterling silver settings to create beautiful affordable jewelry. Specimens are usually cut as cabochons. Beads can be elongated, as needed by the the designer’s call.