Agate is the most beautiful natural stone and has been formed over 1,000’s of years from mineral deposits in the ground and it is a stunning semi-precious stone that is available in many colours and is used in the designing of unusual jewellery for many years.
The natural stone of Agate occurs in cavities in the rock that have been form from erupting volcanoes. Agates are formed in bands that resemble the band growths you would see in a tree and are formed in a myriad of stunning natural colours making it an ideal stone to use in jewellery making. The Agate stones are created when gas bubbles from inside the cooling lava meets salted water. The gas bubbles mixed with the salt water when mixed turn into a gel. The sat in the water then attacks the iron that is in the lava and this is what then produces the stunning bands within the stone. The bands are beautiful and sometimes crystals are formed in the centre of the rock offering inspiration to jewellery designer to create unusual jewellery from this natural stone.
Because these stunning Agate stones are created by nature no two stones are the same each and everyone is unique and original making them truly stunning. Agates come in many colours but in its rough state and can be very dull so it does need a lot of polishing to bring out all its natural beauty. When the Agate has been polishes and cut it is used to create unusual jewellery designs in earrings, bracelets, necklaces and pendants. Some of the Agates are now dyed to offer us even more colours to create these jewellery pieces.
Agate can be found in many places all over the world but the main countries that this natural stone is mined are India, Brazil, China, Australia, New Zealand, Russia and of course Madagascar where the stunning Madagascar Agate comes from. Greek ledged tells us that this natural stone was found in the river Achates which in the modern world is known as the Drillo river which is located in Sicily. There has been evidence that stone age men of over 15,000 years ago used Agate in there tools and weapons. Today they have found new sources in Italy and the United States. It has become more popular within the jewellery business due to its stunning colours and that the price is more affordable than other semi-precious stones and because each piece is unique it means that unusual jewellery designs are achieved with each piece used.
Because Agate is a natural stone the colours can vary significantly with each stone and this is all depending on the distribution of the minerals within each band. The minerals in the stone are what determine the natural colours. Minerals that contribute to the colouring are: iron oxides which produce bright reds, browns, black and shades of green, magnesium will give us pinks, violets and again black, chromium creating stunning colours of green, yellow and red, titanium produces a deep blue, cobalt will give use reds and purples, nickel gives us green, and copper produces red, blue and amazing shades of green.
It is no wonder that jewellery designers are inspired by such stunning colours to produce unusual jewellery that is treasured by many women all over the world. All the large fashion houses have designs that include Agate in their collections. It can be made into beads so that they can be strung into jewellery necklaces or polished cabochons to make handmade earrings. Bracelets are carved from chunks of this beautiful natural stone and then highly polished. I have even see watches that have used pieces of Agate as the face. The possibilities for creating unusual jewellery from this amazing stone are endless.