Birthstones

Agate

What is Agate?
What exactly is Agate? The definition of an Agate is as follows:

  • This word is from the Greek name of a stone found in the river Achates in Sicily. This mineral is an impure form of quartz consisting of banded chalcedony and used as a gemstone. It is an un-crystallized variety of quartz, presenting various tints in the same specimen. Its colors are delicately arranged in stripes or bands or blended in clouds.

  • Many semi-precious gemstones are in fact forms of chalcedony including Agate, Onyx, Carnelian and the Bloodstone. Chalcedony is form of silica which is composed of very fine intergrowths of the minerals quartz and moganite and has a waxy lustre and might be semitransparent or translucent.

  • Agate is defined as a variety of quartz

  • Quartz goes by an array of different names including Onyx, Jasper, Aventurine, Tiger's eye, Amethyst, Citrine, Prasiolite, Rose quartz, Bloodstones, Milk quartz, Smoky quartz and Carnelian

The Colors of Agate
Agate come in a wide range of natural colors and shades including white to grey, light blue, orange, red and black. Color is mainly caused by the gemstone's selective absorption of certain wavelengths of light called the body color.

In gemstones, color consists of three components:

  • Hue - the first impression of the color
  • Tone - the lightness or darkness of color ranging from light to medium to dark
  • Saturation - the intensity of a gemstone's color which is measured from dull to strong to vivid

Birthstone Facts and Information about Agate
The following list provides Birthstone facts and information about this gemstone:

  • It is an alternate birthstone of the month of May

  • It is also the Wedding anniversary gemstone for the 12th year of marriage. Moss Agate is the anniversary gemstone for the 14th year of marriage.

  • Zodiac Sign: Taurus

  • Taurus dates: April 21 - May 20

  • Taurus - The Second Sign of the Zodiac: The sign of the Bull

  • Ruling Planet of Taurus: Venus

  • Alternate Birthstones of Taurus: Emeralds, Sapphires, Garnet and Diamonds

History, Symbolism, and Properties of Agate
The the Greeks and Romans had great faith in the talismanic and medicinal virtues of the Agates, wearing them to avert sickness, regarding them particularly as an antidote to the bite of an Asp, if taken powdered in wine, or as an infallible cure for the sting of a Scorpion if tied over the wound. They also brought success in love and friendship, great gain, and the favours of the great, if strung on a hair taken from a lion's mane.

Amongst Muslims it was believed to cure insanity if taken powdered in apple juice. In Elizabethan days there was great faith in its talismanic virtues, the Queen having amongst her jewels a large oval Agate engraved with scenes representing Vulcan at his forge with Venus looking on. This jewel was presented to her by Archbishop Parker, and was accompanied by a parchment giving in Latin a long list of its properties, concluding to the effect that as long as Her Majesty possessed this jewel she would always have a trusted friend.

Agate Jewelry
Agate jewelry is extremely popular especially for those nearest and dearest. All different types of jewelry containing Agate are available including:

  • Agate rings
  • Agate bracelets
  • Agate pendants
  • Agate earrings
  • Agate necklaces
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