Agate, a member of the quartz family, comes in many colors and patterns. It forms when silica-rich waters seep into cavities created by gas bubbles that become trapped in cooling magma. The silica is deposited in layers from the outside which gradually grow toward the center. The distinctive color bands of some agate specimens have formed due to chance variations in the distributions of pigmented impurities as the mineral progressively solidified. The patterns and colors of agate also vary according to different impurities and trace elements that may be trapped within. The most common trace elements within agates are iron compounds that will give it a distinctive red-brown color. Every agate is unique; even specimens growing in close proximity to one another reveal quite different coloring and patterned bands. Agate that is not completely filled often has quartz crystals in this hollow space.
Although agate will naturally be found in many colors, it is often dyed to enhance its color. This specimen to the right, sold as a bookend, reveals its characteristic banding, the quartz crystals, and how well agate accepts dye.
The name Agate comes from a river in southern Sicily. Historically agate was used to guarantee plentiful crops, cure insomnia, and ward off skin diseases. Agate is a powerful healer and protector which works slowly but brings great strength. Agate balances, grounds, and cleanses both physically and emotionally, enhancing self esteem, calming and strengthening the body and mind, and promoting inner peace.
In addition to these generic properties, specific colors and forms may have additional properties.
Fire Agate has a deep connection to the earth, with calm, grounding, energy bringing security and safety. Its protection is especially effective against ill-wishing. Holding a Fire Agate encourages introspection.
Tree Agate is white or off-white dappled with green flecks. This stone is said to encourage inner peace through certainty and to bring awareness of personal strengths, creating security and stability. Its metaphysical power is believed to be effective over a long period of time, thus unsuitable as a quick fix.
Bamboo Agate is a stone of creativity which balances yin and yang, instills harmony, increases intellect, memory, energy, strength and longevity. It is a good stress reliever which increases courage and self confidence.
Crazy Lace Agate is also known as Mexican Agate. In ancient times this stone was worn to placate the gods and to give courage. Crazy Lace Agate helps to improve the ego and self-esteem, and serves as a symbol of the spiritual love of good. It also helps banish fear, renew strength, balance physical energies, and relieve emotional pain. This variety will also illuminate the mind, allowing for more eloquence and provides insight.
Green Agate enhances mental and emotional flexibility and improves decision making; it is useful in resolving disputes.
Botswana Agate is found only in the African nation of Botswana. A beautiful stone with a grey background and brown, light grey, and white bands, this agate is excellent for fire and smoke connections. Use it to help quit smoking. Botswana Agate is a gentle cleanser, releasing feelings of constriction and repression and lifting depression.
Moss Agate is a translucent stone with branching markings like foliage or moss. This stone offers a stabilizing energy that is strongly connected with nature. Moss Agate refreshes the soul, attracts abundance, and balances emotions.
Wood Agate is a brown/wooden color, reminiscent of petrified wood. This agate helps recall past lives, grounds the user, and increases peace and wisdom. Wood Agate also Improves circulatory, skin, and hair problems.
Blue Lace Agate appears as pale blue with white or darker lines. Its soft energy is cooling and calming, bringing peace of mind. You may read more about blue lace agate in our The Blue Stones article.
Pink Agate promotes love between parent and child. See our The Love Stones article for more information on other pink stones.
Fossil Agate is formed naturally as a replacement of organic material, and often appears in neutral grays and browns with pink and white swirls.