Gemstones Tools


Moss agate

Agate sources

Since the beginning of times, the sources of agate are mixed with the ones of humanity.
This stone was already used as a tool since the Upper Palaeolithic and polished since the Neolithic, period which marks the start of a production economy.
Ancient sources of agate, and still currently producing, are in India in the Deccan region and in the Cambay region (ancient Khambat) in the province of Gujarat. Today, actual Indian sources are more diversified, but Cambay always remains a major centre of cutting and trade.
The stones of Yemen with their dark red tints were famous in Ancient Egypt.
The agate followed all trading roads to Rome where it was very appreciated.
Nowadays, we can find agate everywhere in the world. The agate mine near the river Nahe gave birth to the cutting centre of Idar Oberstein in Germany.
Originally, the river was used to power the grinding wheels. When in the nineteenth century the Nahe agate deposit was exhausted, Idar cutters started to develop the agate deposits of Brazil, which sparked the discovery of Brazil's rich deposits of other gemstones, in particular amethyst, citrine, tourmaline, and topaz.
The small town of Idar-Oberstein is still the main source for the finest agate carving work in the world.
In addition of Brazil, Botswana, India, China, Russia, Mongolia and United States are the main sources.
Moss agate is found mainly in India and the United States.

Agate varieties

According to its genesis, agate can take an infinity of colours and forms; we will only see the most common. Carnelian, chrysoprase and onyx are individually described.
Moss agate with its huge variety of subjects and sceneries is found mainly in India and in United States.
Fire agate and its inclusions of goethite or limonite produce a similar effect to the one of opal. It is founded mainly in Mexico and in the United States. The agate of Suleiman with its white colour finely veined of beige is still found in the Cambay area in Gujarat province, India.
The rare blue Wallis agate has very little bands, therefore very even, and possesses a distinctive translucent blue grey colour. It has been discovered in Africa and owns its name in tribute to Mrs Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor, who was a big lover of it. She entrusted the Cartier house to show these agates among other gems: sapphires, rubies and diamonds. Hence, she contributed to this stone renown.
The Lace agate known for its pattern of very narrow bands of colour going in all directions, is found mainly in Mexico and for the blue variety in Africa.
The agate of Botswana naturally displays fine lines of grey and crimson.
The Condor agate, also rare and occasionally found in Argentina, possesses multicolour bands where blue is mixed with red, which is seldom found in a natural agate.
The Jasper stones are mixtures of agate with other minerals in small quantity which will give varieties of known and less known opaque stones. Bloodstone is generally the most known. Other beautiful varieties are leopard jasper and snake skin jasper, both found in the United States.

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