The exquisite agate is named after the Achates River in Sicily, which is now known as the Dirillo River. Agate can occur in numerous colours and can display delightful band patterns. I find the black variety an incredible gemstone to wear, as its simplicity makes it effortlessly beautiful alone or in combination with your other gemstone jewellery. Read on, if you would like to know more about the elegant black agate! ♡ Shiri
The spiritual qualities of the black agate include: Groundedness, tranquillity, concentration and protection. The black agate is said to be a calming gemstone, that can help alleviate worries and enhance your ability to concentrate. It is thought to keep you grounded through stressful situations. Some also consider this black gemstone to hold protective powers, making it a lovely companion to have with you in your everyday life.
In Europe, decorative bowls carved from agate became popular amongst royalty during the Renaissance. The small German town, Idar Oberstein, was an important source of agate until the 1800s and is still known to craft exceptionally beautiful carvings of the agate gemstone.
In ancient China, agate was considered to be a lucky gemstone. Agate in Chinese is “ma nao”, meaning “horse brain”, as the agate was said to originate from the brains of a fossilized horse. In many cultures, the agate has been believed to hold various protective powers. The beautiful gemstone was often worn as an amulet, believed to ensure the safety of the wearer.
The agate consists of alternating layers of chalcedony, appearing as bands of varying colours. Chalcedony is formed from microscopic crystals of quartz, making the agate a part of the quartz family. Agates are usually found in shades of grey, white, yellow-brown or red-brown, but can also display green and blue hues. This colour is determined by the presence of elements such as manganese and iron oxide within the gemstone. Its durable nature also makes it possible to artificially dye the gemstone in vivid colours. Agate is categorized at 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness.