Agate is a stone of riddles and fantasies, a mineral with unique properties, a talisman of all wandering and seekers of enlightenment, a muse of all masters of glyptic and pioneers in decorative art.
With its unique patterns, the stone excited the imagination of the masters from the time of Ancient Greece, and continues to do so today. How many secrets has this stone revealed to us, and how much more does it have in itself?
History of Stone
Agate for several millennia in a row inspires the masters of their unique crAsotoy.
- On the finds of archaeologists it is possible to say with confidence that already in the V century BC.e. Mesopotamian masters made from agate beautiful intaglios. Often they were used as seals.
- Among connoisseurs of agates was Alexander the Great, whose interest in this ornamental stone contributed to the development of jewelry crafts in the IV century BC.Thanks to the great commander and conqueror, hundreds of copies of the beautiful stone from the territories conquered by him were delivered to Alexandria. History knows the name of the famous master Pirgotel, who worked at the court of Alexander the Great and was famous for his unique agate cameos.
- In the beginning of the III century BC.e. Sicilian architects used agates for decorating the palaces of the rulers of Syracuse.
- A new wave of the popularity of agate occurred in the 11th-13th century.
- Europe in the Renaissance gave us works from the agates of the skilful stone carver Donatello Pisano and the famous masters of the brothers Vittorio.
- In Russia, agate became known at the end of the 17th century thanks to Peter I.
- Empress Catherine II became the founder of the famous collection of agate stones. So, for example, in 1787 the collection of the Hermitage was supplemented by a generic collection of gems by Louis Philippe Joseph of Orleans( Paris).In total, the collection includes fifteen hundred different gems.
- Not only great empresses inspired agate. He bewitched with his beauty and brilliant masters. So, the famous Faberge made from agate various carved items: buckles, seals and bottles.
Description of mineral
Agate is a kind of quartz, in its structure it is fine-grained chalcedony.
Externally, the mineral is not noticeable, but it's worth looking at the slice, as a gaze of a unique world of zigzag and concentric patterns and a variety of colors opens.
In nature, agate amazes with its abundance of colors. One stone can combine dozens of different shades.
There are several assumptions about the origin of the name of the stone.
- Some scientists claim that the name of the stone was in honor of the river Akhates, in the area where for the first time and started to extract these beautiful stones.
- More likely is the assumption that its name is from the Samitic word "ahit", the Arabic "akiq" or the Greek "agate", which translates as "happy."
Agate is difficult to classify by color, as each stone is unique and individual. Typically, agate varieties are distinguished by their unique pattern:
- floral agate - agate with inclusions of red, brown, yellow or green, which resemble flowers in shape;
- frosty agate - white agate with inclusions in the form of "frosty" patterns;
- rainbow agate is the most beautiful varicoloured variety of agate with a unique color game depending on the angle of illumination;
- fire agate - striped agate with inclusions of goethite crystals of red color and "rainbow effect" of color play;
- is a cloud agate agate of delicate pastel shades with inclusions that resemble clouds in shape;
- agate "swallow" - layered agate, which combines layers of brown, red and orange colors;
- point agate - agate, containing minute inclusions, which create a "dot" pattern;
- eye agate - agate with a pattern in the form of concentric circles, shaped like the eye. Very popular jeweler stone;
- bastion agate - no less popular jewelry stone with a pattern reminiscent of a bastion or fortress;
- Brazilian agate - agate with inclusions forming concentric layers;
- disc agate - agate with inclusions of round or oval shape.
One of the most valuable agates is the so-called "moss agate", which is mined in India. This mineral is colorless, and contains inclusions of green hornblende, creating real masterpieces on the surface of the stone in the form of landscapes.to contents ^
Chemical composition and physical properties of the stone
Agate belongs to the class of silicates and belongs to the group of quartz. Chemical formula of the mineral: SiO2.
The chemical composition of agate includes silica with a large number of different impurities. Often the layers of agate are formed by chalcedony, sometimes they contain admixtures of opal, quartz and other minerals.
By its formation, agate is a kind of filament that fills the voids in the volcanic rock. Agate layers arise due to the diffusion of solutions through silica.
Semi-precious stone agate has a wide variety of colors, but in nature most often there are aggregates with alternating white and gray-blue layers. In untreated stone gloss at the break has a matte color, whereas in polished agate, the gloss is glassy. The natural mineral is opaque and resistant to various acids.
The hardness of agate on the Mohs scale is 6.5-7 units, and the density is 4.7 g / cm3.to contents ^
In the beginning of the 19th century, agate was mined only in Germany, now agate deposits are known all over the globe.
The main suppliers of this semiprecious stone are: Russia( the Urals, Ola Plateau, Chukotka), Georgia( Akhaltsikhe), Tajikistan( Adrasmane), Armenia( Ijevan).Also, agate is mined in the Crimea.to the table of contents ^
The healing properties of the mineral
Long ago people believed in the healing power of agate.
In the Middle Ages, agate was used as an effective antidote. In the Renaissance, it was used in the form of a thirsting agent. Modern lithotherapists recommend ornaments with agate with:
- psychological and psychiatric diseases;
- for insomnia;
- cardiovascular disease;
- liver disease;
In everyday life, agate acts as a soothing agent. It is good for people who are in constant stress situations.to contents ^
Magic properties of agate
Ever since the days of Ancient Greece, agate has served as a reliable talisman from bad weather. Going on a long voyage, it was customary to take a piece of agate with him, and then, the Greeks believed, the whole path would be illuminated by the sun's rays.
To date, agate is a talisman of eloquence and foresight. In addition, it is believed that agate attracts success and develops the subtlety of feelings. With the help of agate, fraud can be detected. Also, the stone makes its possessor more sensitive and attentive to others.
It is believed that black agate gives its master power over the hell itself. Jewelry with this mineral can get rid of alcoholism and even addiction.to the table of contents ^
Agate and zodiac signs
Astrologers recommend copper jewelry with agate to people born under the sign of Taurus.
Cancers and Aquarius agate should be worn along with gold or silver. Sagittarius and Aries stone is contraindicated, since it affects them negatively. Often they become nervous and irritable.to the table of contents ^
Application of the gem
Agate is a semi-precious stone, it is often used:
- In jewelry. Skilled craftsmen decorate brooches, rings, bracelets, pendants and other jewelry with agate.
- In artistic carving. Stone acts as an excellent ornamental material. Agate smoking accessories, various souvenirs and business accessories are popular.
- In construction. To date, the mineral is used as an expensive lining material.
- In the interior of premises. From the agate they make various objects of decor, they are encrusted with furniture.
- In industry. Agate is made of bushings, mortars, pistils and weight prisms.
Interesting facts about the stone
- Often, agate is called the "Eye of the Creator".There is a legend that once a black sorcerer overcame the White Eagle, and the bird's eye, touching the ground, turned to stone. And to this day the White Eagle with the help of this stone continues to observe the actions of people.
- 1 cm² agate can hold up to 7000 different layers.
- In the Austrian museum there is a unique whole agate dish with a diameter of 75 cm.
- The Hermitage collection houses the famous antique cameo of Gonzaga, the first mention of which dates back to 1542.True, in the collection of the Hermitage cameo came only in 1814.
- The collection of the Armory Chamber of the Moscow Kremlin houses the Panagia of Ivan the Terrible. In the center of this agate cameo is the image of John the Baptist in the image of the winged Angel of the Desert.
- The National Library of France houses the unique "Great French cameo".Its height is 31 cm. The creation of the masterpiece dates back to the beginning of the 1st century AD.e.
- In Paris, in one of the collections of the city museum, there is a vessel, the diameter of which is 12.5 cm. The masterpiece is carved from solid agate and was executed by decree of Ptolemy II himself.
How to distinguish natural agate from forgery
Agate is falsely rare, but to understand that you are holding a real stone, you should remember:
- Natural stone has quiet tones, and its color inclusions smoothly pass into each other. This ornamental stone has a rich color, and the transitions have a clearly distinguished face, the shades are usually contrasting.
- It's easy to identify artificial agate by simply clenching it into a fist. As a rule, a natural stone will remain cold for a long time. In contrast, the fake stone will quickly heat up.
- More often the others forge black agate, using thus the pressed crumb. Define the fraud quite easily - you need to hold a needle on the stone. The baby is fragile enough and the stone will crumble under such an experiment.
- Do not forget, natural stone can not be monochrome, there are always different stripes in it.
- There is another way to detect forgery. To do this, simply put half the stone in the water and observe it. If through the time the test side faded or lost its shine and beauty, then the stone is artificial.
Like all jewelry, agate is best stored in cases with soft upholstery, which reliably protect decorations from direct sunlight, humidity and dust.
Agate stone is sensitive to sharp temperature changes, as well as to various chemicals.
This stone is best cleaned once a month with a mild soap solution and running cold water. After this, the stone should be wiped with a soft cloth.to the table of contents ^
Pictures of agate stone and its products