Agate are varieties of fine-fibered chalcedonies, which have a laminated coating. Layers of these can be concentric or linear. They look like contours of underground cavities – geodes, which often are the formation of agates.
According to one version of the name of these wonderful “striped” rocks derived from the ancient name of the river Ahates in Sicily, where in olden mined agate. According to another version, the word «Agate» comes from the Greek “ahates” meaning “happyness”. In any case, the word “agate” in reference to the mineral has been known for Theophrastus (IV century. BC. E.). It should be noted that in ancient times the Arabs and Persians all striped stones termed as “Jazz”.
Agate color ranging from milky white, yellow and green to almost black. If the white layers of alternating layers of yellow, red, brown, black or another color, then this kind of agate may have its own name. For example, the most beautiful, so-called “Eye”, or “points” agates with concentric layers arranged around a central point. Such stones are sometimes called “owl eye agate”. Curiously, in some agate zone width of 1 cm may contain up to 7000 different layers. Of course, such a delicate structure of the stone can be considered only under a microscope.
People with imagination can see in the agate stone whole world. In the countries of the East particularly valued the so-called moss agate (mocha agate) with patterns similar to wild forest undergrowth. Agate with tree stains and inclusions are called “ dendrites agate ” stones (Greek “dendron” meaning tree). Stones from the figure, acting as if the fog, known as the “frost” agates. Sometimes divorce on the surface of agate are sharp-angled bends. They vaguely resemble the plan of the fortress on the old map. Therefore, these stones are called “ruin” or “fortification” agate. Depending on options for coloring distinguish “cloud” and “feather” agate.
Paint of agates so diverse that even in the XVIII century Swedish chemist J. Wallerius argued that describe all its varieties is simply impossible. In fact, agates can not correctly classified according to color.It is individual for each stone.
Agate deposits associated with volcanic rocks (lavas and tuffs) and are found in almost all countries of the world. The Petrified Forest in Arizona, USA, with hundreds of acres of agatized wood in a multitude of colours, is one of nature’s most spectacular sights. Bodies of agate that fill round hollows in old volcanic rocks in parallel straight bands, rather than in curved fortifications, are called “thunder eggs”.
Agate is found worldwide, but Brazil, Botswana, South Africa, Mexico, Egypt, China, and Scotland are prolific sources and produce interesting varieties. Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana, are particularly abundant sources in the USA. In Russia, agates has long been mined in the Urals. The most beautiful stones mined in the territory of Uruguay, Brazil, India, Arabia and Sicily.
Agates have been worked since prehistoric times, and were among the world’s first lapidary materials.
Since ancient times agate gemstones used for making jewelry, beads, rings, earrings, brooches and bowles. Often made of agate intaglio – stones with carved patterns, which are usually used as a stamp. Cylinder stamps from agate existed in Mesopotamia had for 4000 years BC.
Greek master maded agate cameo from embossed. At the same skilled craftsmen using a layered structure of agate to emphasize the image detail. The person is usually cut from the white layer of agate stone, and black and brown layers were left for the hair and clothing.
Agate dimensions vary from a few centimeters to tens of centimeters. Most valuable agate gems are homogeneous in composition. An old legend tells that hurled into hell Satan dropped from his crown agate, which has turned into the bowl. Joseph from Arifey gathered it the blood of Jesus Christ drop by drop, for what became the founder of the Order of the Holy Grail. The legend is this agate bowl with a diameter up to 75 cm, and stored in one the treasures of the Vienna Hofburg.
An excellent agate bowl from the monastery of Saint-Maurice in the canton of Valais in Switzerland are worldwide known. According to legend, she transferred there as a gift to King Sigismund of Burgundy.
A remarkable collection of agate things kept in French museums, including the cup IX century, the antique busts of Alexander of Macedon and Constantine the Great, cameos “Psyche” and “Death of Cleopatra”.
Agate gems has long been used to create cameos. One such well-known product is a brooch of third daughter Russian Emperor Paul I – Duchess Maria. The brooch is decorated with cameo depicting the head of Pallas Athena with an olive branch on the helmet and the head of Medusa on the shield.
Agate jewelry – one of the most not-expensive semi-precious stones. Even large stones most valuable moss agate is estimated at tens, rarely hundreds of dollars in the world market.
The pavilion “Agate Rooms” was built in the Tsar’s palace for Russian Qween Catherine II, whose walls are decorated with “meat agate” – kind of jasper, which in ancient times was taken as agate. Catherine II in general very fond of agate, and in particular Abraxas gems, otherwise known gems of Basilides, the famous Gnostic. This agate, which is carved a figure with the head of a rooster, snake’s body and the human hand. In his left hand Abrakas holds the whip in the right side – a wreath and ring from the rod, which is embedded in a double cross. Such gems in the II century AD the Gnostics, followers of the Alexandrian religious sect, had a mystical significance. It was believed that such Abraxas agate healing gems brings happiness.
Today, it is usually cut as thin slabs, or polished as ornaments, brooches, or pendants. When cut for jewellery, it is cut en cabochon.
AGATE HEALING PROPERTIES
In ancient Rome agate gemstones were stumbling goddess Pomona, which was the patroness of crops and horticulture. Not by accident agate balls stands in gardens to protect plants. Therefore, in our day decorations of agate, you can give a friend to farmers or gardeners.
In ancient times it was believed that agate gives God’s mercy. It gives the owner the courage and longevity. In Europe agate talisman was a symbol of health, prosperity and longevity, in India – prosperity. It is believed that the agate jewellery make its owner nice and eloquent, and protect him from the wiles of the enemy.
Agate amulet may protect against energy attacks and vampirism, taking the negative energy. Coming home, a stone must necessarily “clean” by holding in the cold water, and thank you for the care and recovery. Ring with agate gives men the charm in the eyes of women.
Indian legends tell us that the agate jewelry gem can soothe the baby, it helps him feet sooner. Is also no accident agate is considered a guardian of wizards. In Georgia every newborn wear on the wrist bead of white agate, it kept the baby from the negative influences of the outside world.
White and yellow agate reinforce the good in man, softens his character, promote inner calm and confidence. Black agate is considered a man’s talisman, protecting the wearer from evil forces. They believe that agate exacerbate hearing and contribute to improving welfare.
According to Indian notions agate is able to stimulate a spiritual awakening of man, tune it into a thin wave of perceiving the world, opening the “channels of clairvoyance”.
In olden Eye agate is often used for inserts in the eyes of the statues for the manufacture of talismans and amulets “from the evil eye.” Was believed that agate amulet may keep its owner from a lightning strike and rescue in an earthquake. Pliny the Elder wrote that mocha agates helped athletes achieve sporting success and to pacify the anger.
Since ancient times agate was considered a healing stone and is widely used in medicine. In ancient Russian medical reference states that, if we burn agate, his ashes cure epilepsy, dismiss the “unclean spirits” and help to lead the natural sweetness.
It was believed that if the agate “put in the water and let soak for three days, and then give that a little water to drink during childbirth”, then the child would be “easy birth.”
Specialists lithotherapy argue that agate has a receptive energy yin. Jewelry with agates increase potency, to help with long-term protracted cough and sore throat. They believe that agate relieves cramps, helps fight fear, protects against infections and gastric diseases.
Blue agate has a positive effect on the thyroid gland, yellow agate healing the digestion, in particular acrimonious way. Red agate has a positive effect on the vascular system, helps to cope with endocrine disorders and viral diseases.
On the proposal of the ancients, a grey agate of ugly gray or reddish color founded by in the nests of the swallows, played a significant role in traditional healers to treat various diseases. In modern lithotherapy addition to the usual jewelry used agate healing balls for massage and agate pyramid.
Agate stones connected with the powers of Venus, Mercury, Moon and Saturn.
“Ayurveda” says that agate healing properties relieves kapha-infringement. In Sanskrit ‘kapha’ means bodily water, which is present in various organs and tissues (intercellular fluid to modern science). Kapha provides the energy for the heart and lungs, supports immune system (remember that in the extracellular fluid contains immunoglobulins). According to “Ayurveda”, agate contains elements of ether, fire and air. Depending on the color, agate can operate on any of the chakras. In the Middle Ages, water with powdered agate used in the form of lotions bites of snakes and scorpions.