The characteristic banding of agate, giving every stone a unique appearance, distinguishes it from quartz to which it is related. A variety of chalcedony, agates were formed in igneous rocks, where pockets of gas were trapped in the molten lava. Water containing chalcedony seeped into these cavities, and when the chalcedony solidified, it left traces of concentric layers behind. Numerous colours can be found, often in river beds, from white, pink, red, yellow, blue, green and dark brown to black. The name was given by the Greeks, from the River Achates (in modern-day Sicily), where agates were first discovered.
Did you know?
- Agate was well-known even in biblical times, and it has been recovered in a number of ancient sites.
- Agate is often given to celebrate a 12th wedding anniversary, while moss agate is associated with the 14th year of marriage.
- Wearing agate is believed by some to cure insomnia and to guarantee pleasant dreams.