What is Agate?
Agate is formed in the cavities of igneous rocks, through deposits of silica which settle into the characteristic banded patterns we see in all forms of this semi-precious stone. It measures 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness.
It is formed from microscopic crystals of quartz laid down in bands, often in different colors, which is what makes it an attractive choice for gemstone jewelry.
When the cavities are lined with crystals, they form geodes of Agate.
Agate occurs in a wide range of colors, including brown, blue, cream, clear, grey, pink, and green.
Each color has its own unique metaphysical properties in addition to the qualities shared by all members of the Quartz group of crystals.
The colors and bands characteristic of Agate is the product of groundwater seeping into the cavity when the gem was formed.
The water contained different minerals at different times, and the banding on the stone provides a record of water chemistry change over time.
The Origin: Where Is Agate Found?
Agate is a common stone found in USA, India, Morocco, Brazil, Africa, and the Czech Republic.
The History & Lore of Agate
Agate has long been recognized as providing a gateway into the spiritual dimensions of other worlds.
Moss Agate was used in the Middle Ages by Witches and by Seers in Europe to help crops to grow and to usher in abundant harvests.
In the 19th Century, the main area of production for Agate was in Germany, and the Agate mined here was of exceptionally high quality.
The gem cutters in this area were highly skilled and their craftsmanship with Agate meant that it commanded a high price. This area is now mined out.
It is said that some tribes of Native Americans believed that, during thunderstorms, pieces of rock known as “thundereggs” fell from the sky.
This is how Agates came to acquire the alternative name of thundereggs in some regions.
Sailors used Fire Agate to protect them from storms at sea.
In Ancient Rome, it was believed that Agate, ground into a powder and mixed with water, would neutralize the venom of poisonous snakes.
Description of Agate
Agate comes in a variety of colors, and its distinctive characteristic is the bands of color running through each stone.
These bands can sometimes present as swirls and can be clearly defined or less noticeable, depending on the quality of the stone in question.
It is a member of the chalcedony group of crystals and is formed from microscopic crystals of Quartz.
Agates have been used as gemstones across the ages, and some are still made into marbles.
Agates can be cut into a variety of shapes, including paperweights, small statues, sculptures, cabochons, and beads.
They take polish very well and are a popular tumbled stone.
How to Identify Agate
Agate is a form of chalcedony and is fairly easy to identify. It can sometimes be confused with Jasper, also a form of chalcedony.
The main difference between the two is that Agate is translucent, meaning that you can see through it, even if it is foggy.
Jasper is always completely opaque and you will not see light through it.
Some Agates on the market are fakes, so it is as well to know what you are looking for when buying Agate.
If the stone is remarkably cheap or has unexpected colors, it is probably a fake.
It is impossible to scratch a real Agate with a steel knife and the inclusion of round bubbles in the stone is a sign that is not genuine Agate.
If the stone appears dull, it is probably made from plastic.
Types of Agate
Agates are almost always banded, but one color predominates and it is this that gives each type its unique qualities.
Blue Lace Agate
Blue Lace Agate has a soft, cooling, healing vibration that is soothing for both mind and body.
It is especially helpful for the Throat chakra and promotes free expression of thoughts and feelings.
It is one of the great nurturing stones and helps to neutralize anger, infection, inflammation, and fever.
Dendritic Agate is a wonderfully evocative stone, holding shapes within its structure that resemble the twigs and branches of trees.
It is called the Stone of Plenitude and brings abundance and fullness to all areas of your life.
This stone creates a peaceful environment and encourages enjoyment of each moment.
It has an especially powerful connection with the planned kingdom and can strengthen your connection with nature.
Fire Agate has a deep connection to the earth.
It brings feelings of safety and security during difficult times and helps you to stay anchored and grounded.
It is also a strongly protective stone, especially against hostility or ill-wishing from others.
Moss Agate is strongly connected with nature and has a stabilizing influence on the emotions.
It is said to encourage you to see beauty in everything and to refresh and support a tired or disillusioned soul.
Moss Agate is said to help reduce sensitivity to extremes of weather and to counteract the effects of long-term illness.
Botswana Agate is found only in Botswana and is excellent for anyone connected with the elements of fire and smoke.
It focuses on solutions rather than problems and allows you to see the bigger picture.
This variety of Agate is particularly useful in helping the bloodstream and body to assimilate oxygen, benefitting the circulatory system and the skin.
Flower Agate is a variety of agate that is light pink in color (though the hues of pink may vary) and has inclusions of white Chalcedony that resemble the shape of flowers – both the seeds and the blossoms.
Flower agate is deeply connected to your sense of purpose as well. It helps heal circulatory system issues.
It can also get rid of obstacles your blood has been carrying for generations, especially through female ancestors.
How to Clean and Care for Agate
Agate is a robust stone and can be safely cleaned with mild soapy water and a soft cloth.
When you wish to restore its original vibration, you can clean it with water to remove surface dust and debris, then place it in close proximity to an Amethyst cluster.
You can also leave Agate overnight in moonlight to bring back its original vibrancy.
Buyers Guide: Tips & Advice
When shopping for Agate you will be guided by your personal preference regarding color and appearance.
Agates are semi-precious stones once they have been tumbled and polished, and come in so many colors.
With such a wide variety of patterns, that the one you eventually buy will come down to personal preference.
Even sellers are swayed by their own subjective opinion when it comes to setting a price.
You may be buying Agate for healing purposes rather than as jewelry.
In this case, you will want to research the metaphysical properties of each variety before making your choice.
Agate Quality Factors
Agates are not always of gem quality, as the raw stones can be found in sizes that make them suitable for carving into worktops or garden furniture.
Rough Agate is sliced into smaller pieces and polished to form much smaller stones, which are of gem quality and can be used in jewelry.
These are usually between 2 and 4 carats in weight. The value of Agates of this size depends on the other quality factors of colors, banding, and pattern.
When these are similar, the larger-carat weight stones will be priced higher than the smaller ones.
The banded appearance of Agate is what gives it its distinctive look.
Generally speaking, the sharper the definition of color between the bands, the better the stone’s quality.
It comes in a wide variety of colors, from brown to bright red and from pink, through green to blue.
Personal preference should be your guide when buying Agate, although the darker the saturation of color in a specimen the higher the price.
If you are buying clear agate, then the more translucent the stone the better.
Look for eye-clean Agates with no visible inclusions, unless you want Dendritic, Plume, or Moss Agate, in which case it is the inclusions that enhance the value.
Agates can be cut into cabochons and beads. It is also found in shapes such as pear, square, and Emerald.
A good cutter will fashion the stone so that its banding is shown to its best advantage.
Agate and Chakras
Chakra healing or balancing is enhanced by Agates of all colors.
The throat chakra responds especially well to Blue Lace Agate and the Base chakra can be activated, cleansed, and balanced through the use of Fire Agate.
The Heart chakra benefits from the gentle vibrations of both Dendritic and Moss Agate.
To use Agate in a chakra balance, simply place the relevant stones over the chakras and set your intention to open, cleanse and activate each chakra in turn.
One of the most effective ways of doing this is to visualize each chakra as a flower growing from a central stem.
The stem begins at the base of the spine and travels up to the crown of the head.
Along this stem, each chakra can be imagined as a flower, with two heads, one facing forwards and one pointing behind.
On each in-breath imagine the flowers opening their petals and drawing in fresh, clean energy.
On the out-breath, the petals close slowly, expelling negative or stagnant energy, which can be visualized as a light gray mist leaving the body.
Agate Healing Properties
Physical Healing Properties
Physically, Agate helps the digestive processes and is effective in alleviating gastritis, acid reflux, and IBS.
It heals the eyes and the uterus, cleanses the lymphatic system, and supports the healthy function of the pancreas.
Agate is said to heal blood disorders and strengthen blood vessels.
Mental & Emotional Healing Properties
Agate is an excellent aid to concentration, sharpening the intellect and promoting clarity of thought.
It is said that Agates with bands of clear crystals can stimulate memory function.
Agate has a love of truthfulness and will support you in speaking your own truth without hesitation or fear.
Agates are grounding stones.
They aid in bringing the emotional, physical, and mental bodies into alignment.
They also aid in centering the energies of the body so that harmony is achieved between all aspects of the self.
Agate is said to harmonize the energies of Yin and Yang, positive and negative, that hold the Universe in place.
Agate is a soothing and calming stone that works slowly but powerfully over time to bring great strength.
Its multiple layers are said to help bring hidden information to light.
It is also prized by those who work with nature, whether in landscape management or horticulture, as an aid to healing the planet and strengthening defenses against pests and diseases.
Spiritual Healing Properties
The spiritual benefits of Agate include raising the individual and the collective consciousness to the Divine.
Agate promotes quiet contemplation and teaches patience.
It helps in the assimilation of life experiences leading to greater personal insight and spiritual development.
How to Use Agate
Agates of all colors can be worn as rings, earrings, and necklaces.
Wearing Blue Lace Agate around your throat is beneficial if you have difficulty in speaking out or communicating.
Fire agate can keep you grounded, and Moss Agate is ideal if you are nurturing plants or flowers.
In-Home and Office
Having a piece of Agate in the home is an excellent way to bring in cool, calm energies that encourage harmony and peace among the inhabitants.
Best Crystal Combinations with Agate
Blue Lace Agate and Smoky Quartz
This combination of crystals is especially good for relieving stress and anxiety.
Blue Lace Agate is soothing and nurturing.
The vibration of Smoky Quartz brings both comfort and strength to anyone suffering from fears, anxieties, or worries.
When you combine the two stones you bring in energies that support you in facing your fears and sorting out solutions to practical problems.
Read more about the best crystal combinations for Blue Lace Agate
Moss Agate and Amber
This pairing can be very effective in helping you to manifest your wishes and desires.
Amber has a strong connection with the earth, as does Moss Agate, and both are excellent grounding stones for higher energies.
When you send your intentions out into the Universe you are automatically contacting the higher energies of the cosmos, so be sure that you ask for what you want!
Be precise, positive, and clear in stating your desires, hopes, and wishes.
Keep your requests in the present tense, and act as if you have already received the things you asked for.
The vibrations of this pair of crystals will amplify your intentions and speed up the manifestation process.
Final Thoughts & Conclusion
Agate is a robust stone that can be put to many uses.
If you own a piece of Agate jewelry, you will be aware that its beauty lies in the eye of the beholder.
Plume, Moss, and Dendritic Agate can display inclusions that are almost mystical in nature.
Fire Agate helps with manifesting, while Blue Lace Agate has a cooler, more gentle vibration that brings peace and harmony to your environment.