BLUE LACE AGATE (QUARTZ var. AGATE)
HISTORY, NAME, LOCALITIES: The agate variety of microcrystalline quartz has been utilized since prehistoric times to fashion tools and weapons. The name “agate,” pronounced AHH-git (rhymes with “tag it”), derives from the ancient Greek name for Italy’s Drillo River on Sicily, an important early source. Agate is abundant and occurs worldwide. Important sources are found in Brazil, Australia, Germany, Mexico, Canada, and the United States (Arizona, California, South Dakota, Nebraska).
MINERALOGY, PROPERTIES, OCCURRENCE: Agate, a variety of microcrystalline quartz [silicon dioxide, SiO2], is transparent to translucent, colored, and exhibits banded patterns. It is a tectosilicate or framework silicate with a Mohs hardness of 6.5-7.0, conchoidal fracture, and a specific gravity of 2.62-2.65 that forms as nodules or interior linings of geodes. Agate has an extremely wide range of colors and multicolored patterns that include bands, layers, and inclusions.
METAPHYSICAL PROPERTIES, LORE, USES: Over the centuries, many metaphysical powers have been attributed to agate. Modern metaphysical practitioners believe that it enhances the ability to discern truth, accept circumstances, recall the past, and focus mental energies. Agate is cut and polished into a wide array of jewelry and decorative items such as cabochons, beads, spheres, carvings, bookends, paperweights, and display pieces. Reflecting its popularity and familiarity, agate is the official gemstone or mineral of nine states.
COLLECTORS’ INFORMATION: Agate, usually in cut-and-polished forms, is widely collected for its beautiful displays of colors and patterns, no two of which are ever the same.