Everyone who is interested in gems knows that no other stone can be confused with the stone agate. Of all the varieties of chalcedony, agates have the most attractive patterns of a wide variety of colors. A characteristic pattern is a closed-form line. Like a photograph, they represent the shape of the cavity in which they originated. The constituent substance of agates is silica. Accumulating consistently in any cavity, it freezes, emphasizing the lines of the birth phase of this wonderful gem. Therefore, it occurs in the form of veins, nodules, ghosts. Strips are irregular or spherical. The color of the layers is predominantly white and gray-blue, and there is also red (sardonyx) or multi-colored (onyx). Impurities contained in solutions at the birth of agates, and give it a different color. Hardness 6,5-7.

Everyone who is interested in gems knows that no other stone can be confused with the stone agate

Fig.1. Agates (Transcaucasus).

The name agate also does not have an unambiguous explanation. According to one version, the word "agate" has Arabic roots and comes from the word "agic" - the baby's hair, because on the cut stone one can often see a pattern - many fine lines. Another version connects the gem with the island of Sicily, where from ancient times these minerals were found near the river Agates (now Dirillo).

A large number of species of agates also identified many of its special names

Fig.2. Agates (Siberia (1), Transcaucasia (2,4), Timan (3,6), Central Kazakhstan (5)).

Thanks to its beautiful pattern and multi-color, agate has always been widely used. Its unique natural beauty was artfully preserved by jewelers in ornaments - earrings, brooches, rings, pendants. In the tomb near Alushta (Crimea) were found agate beads made in the 5th century BC. For business purposes it was used to make carved seals, cups, vases, snuffboxes and other smoking accessories, handles for umbrellas and knives.

Now, except for jewelry, agate is widely used in technology due to its hardness. From it, stones are made for precision instruments, bushings, thrusts, mortars, etc.

A large number of species of agates also identified many of its special names. Pink and black are named in color. The first of them, of the Saxon type, is similar to opal and has a delicate flamingo feather color. The second, Mexican type, decorates the subtle drawing with gray or black spots. In the iridescent (it is also called irising) layers are so closely packed that sometimes they are up to 600-800 per mm. In a thin plate cut across the layering, you can see the iridescent play of the colors of the solar spectrum.

Sometimes the origin of the names of varieties of agates can be "seen" in their intricate designs. Considering the bastion (synonyms - fortress or fortification) agate, you see the contours of the ancient bastions, which were built to protect cities from the enemy. And involuntarily one wonders whether nature has suggested to the person ways of protection or, having learned from him, immortalized history in stone?

Very beautiful moss agate, which is sometimes called "moss". The admixture of manganese contained in it, the mural painting depicts the branches of individual trees or bushes. If the composition includes green impurities of chlorite or actinolite, then the picture changes. We see a colorful green forest, thickets fern or moss, among which you can see the smooth surface of the lake. On some thin transparent agate plates we see that the moss seems to stretch from the bottom of the lake to solar rays, making their way through a thick layer of ice.

Agate, like many other stones, was endowed with magical power and wore as a talisman and amulet. It was believed that black agates protect themselves from danger and give power over the terrestrial forces, but they do not plunge the owner into sorrow. People also believed that they protect against poisons, exacerbate eyesight, give the owner strength and eloquence. Men not only gave agate jewelry to their beloved, but often they themselves had talismans from this stone: there was an opinion that he would give the representatives of the stronger sex love charms.

Agate is mined in many countries of the world. It is noteworthy that in the state of Wyoming (USA), a fluorescent moss agate is produced, which is called freshwater agate. In Russia, agate is mined in several fields.