Hey Folks! The last month's issue of Rock & Gem Magazine was all about agates and it's inspired me to cut some of my exotic agates and share some info about agate in general. Agate is basically quartz that has formed in layers in some kind of hollow cavity. That cavity could have resulted from a gas bubble in the earth, or a hollow space left by some other material that has eroded away, or between other layers of rock. Agates will almost always have some kind of layering. Quartz CRYSTALS can form in between or on top of layers of agate. Banded agate can also be found mixed up with jasper. Basically if quartz forms in larger crystals we call it some kind of quartz crystal, if it forms in banded layers then the quartz is agate, and if it forms in amorphous-mixed up deposits it ends up being a jasper. The best way to visualize how they form is to think of superheated silica juice from the earth shooting up from below and filling up empty pockets in the earth, thus forming layer over layer as it solidifies. Naturally, no two agates are ever alike!
When little tiny quartz crystal form on top of agate or inside of an agate nodule it's called "drusy" quartz. Drusy basically means "little tiny crystals". Not all drusy is quartz, but pretty much all drusy on agate IS quartz crystals. Here are two exotic beads I just made out of a really rare, exotic Brazilian agate geode. The top layer of drusy is a dark, mossy green, then there is a thick layer of clear agate, and then there is a layer of botryoidal (bubbly surface) brick red colored agate underneath that. These are the last pieces of this kind of material I have. I found one geode with this color combination years ago and this is all I have left. I've never seen colors and clarity like this in Brazilian agate and green drusy is rare!
This piece is snow white drusy, on TOP of larger sized quartz crystals, on top of translucent agate, also from a Brazilian agate nodule....
the back of this bead shows natural troughs that lead up to and open into the bead hole, allowing for more creative beading! It's unknown what caused the troughs, but agates form around all kind of things. I think a little cascading cluster of pearls coming out the back would look stunning...
This next piece is a white and caramel colored tube agate from Missouri. The drusy qaurtz crystals have had an atomically thin layer of titanium applied on top of them (in a laboratory) to create the rainbow irridescence. I used to get a lot of my material coated with titanium but haven't had any done in years. It has to be sent out to be done in a laboratory in a plasma deposition chamber. It's a neat effect! The tube agate in this piece looks a bit like a "lingam" pointed down into a crevasse below it that is evocative of a "yoni", I'm just saying....
I recently got just three pieces of this exotic agatized bamboo from Java. When they found these PERFECT, naturally hollow, agate cylinders in Java, they were trying to figure out how the agate formed in perfectly cylindrical cavities. They speculate that ancient bamboo stalks were buried and created cylindrical cavities that were then filled with silica and created these amazing carnelian cylinders! I didn't even have to drill them since there was a thin hollow tube down the center already! Natural botryoidal outsides....
and I just polished the ends. Even more amazing is the ONE piece I got that is TWO cylinders agatized TOGETHER! I think these would make great centerpieces for a double strand of some earthy colored pearls...
Banded agate from Botswana in southern Africa is famous for it's classic grey and white banding. I like the angles that this one formed at and the sort of "yoni-lingam" imagery at the wide center of the fork. Finally, here is some black and white banded agate where the black is caused by PSILOMELANE (sill-om-e-lane), which is heavy with manganese. There are also dark black, branch like dendrites in the psilomelane. The white agate probably intruded into and formed AFTER the psilomelane and chalcedony formed. This material is from the N. Mexico - Mexico border area and is quite rare... and again we see small amounts of drusy quartz formed within the vug of the agate bands!
That's all my agate sharing today. I have some pretty purple agates and other interesting pieces in process that I'll share with ya soon. If you would like to see more images of any of these stones there are multiples in my eBay store. Thanks!
Ecclesiastes 3:5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
Thank you David for sharing all you knowledge with us. If you keep it up we will all be very savvy in semi precious beads. And let me not forget also savvy in Bowlerite. I have to admit I was pretty dense on that term.And once again, you made the blind see.
Thanks again for all you share with us.
This time you REALLY got my attention!
I love agates, and now know so much more! You really know how the 'teach'!
Thanks so much!
Hi David! This was a nice read to go with my coffee. Thank you! I have 2 questions, if you don't mind.
1) When cracking open multiple geodes, what's the best & easiest way of telling what you have?
2) This may sound like a silly question, but a year ago while watching Cash & Treasures, Kirsten Gum pronounced Agate as being agat. How is it pronounced. Agat, or Agate, with the middle a strong?
You always have a way of making it easy for all of us to understand a bit better the wonderful world of rocks. Love the drusies
MelindaB ~ Juneau, Alaska USA
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Wow, I'm nearly speechless. I have always loved agates, but you're opening my eyes to a new love of geology.
My husband and I have always said 'When we win the lottery' we'd travel whereever we wanted to go. And lately I've added that I would buy beads wherever we go. NOW I think I'll have to consult with you as to where I can go to see natural formations of such beautiful specimens.
Thanks for sharing your knowledge and gems with us.
Hi David, thank you so much for this wealth of Inforamation. I love agate and druzy !!! This info. will help me be more knowlegeable. Your ideas are great too ! Thank you for sharing !!! Take care, keep safe and God Bless ! Merry Christmas !
Love ya', Gypsy
i love your titanium druzy. great colors :D
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