The Types, Properties and Value of Agate

Agates are among the most precious gemstones, even though they are not widely available. Each agate stone has its pattern and color, making each unique. Agates may be found in various colors; however, they are most commonly seen in red, green, and blue hues.

The value of an agate stone is determined by the color of the stone and the rarity of that hue. Red agates are the most valuable, followed by green and blue agates, which are costly. If you’re fortunate enough to come across an agate that has a variety of hues, the value of the stone will be much higher!

In other words, if you’re ever out exploring nature and come across an agate rock, take a closer look since it may be worth a lot more than you think. Agates have recently risen in popularity in the gem and jewelry industries, particularly in the United States. Their distinctive striping and hues distinguish them as a standout choice for various items.

But what precisely is it that makes agates so valuable? And what is it about them that is making them more popular? In this blog article, we’ll look at the worth of agates as well as some of the factors that have contributed to their current resurgence in popularity.

What Is the Monetary Value of an Agate?

The majority of average-quality, conventional agates are inexpensive. Their prices are determined more by labor expenses and beauty than by the actual weight of the stone, which is commonly sold by the pound.

Landscape agate and fire agate are often the most Costly agates by kind. However, Lake Superior agate, agate geodes, and crazy lace agate are among the most valuable agates available.

Typically, a pound of rough agate may be purchased for as little as a few dollars (assuming it is not a remarkable or unusual kind). It will cost roughly $2-$10 to purchase a little one to two Inch tumbled agate (like Sardonyx, Snakeskin Agate, Blue Lace Agate, Tree Agate, and Botswana Agate, so on).

For the same size, a high-quality Mexican fire agate could cost more than $50, and some can cost up to $1000. Landscape agate or moss agate of superior quality can range in price from $20 to more than $200, based on how visually stunning the landscape is, to begin with.

The agates dendritic and moss are technically not agates since they do not contain bands of color, yet they are nonetheless marketed as agates in some places.


What Exactly Is Agate?

Agate is a gemstone found in various decorative and jewelry items. Made of silica and Chalcedony, it has a crystalline structure. Agate is a vividly colored grainy stone formed by silica crystals, primarily Chalcedony, known to the natives as agate.

It was given the title “Agate” in honor of the river “Achates,” where it was discovered first. Achates is a town in the region of southern Sicily.

It is most commonly found in volcanic rocks or lavas. When lava erupts from volcanic rocks, agate has a remarkable ability to fill up the fissures that have formed. Transversally delicious agate exhibits a parallel line network as it is seen from different directions.

These lines show somewhat on the agate’s surface and split the stone into several portions. When such lines appear in agate, it is referred to as banded agate.


Types of Agate:

As you are surely aware, agate can be found in various shapes and sizes. These variations arise due to the stone’s chemical makeup, and they are differentiated mostly by their hue and inclusions.

Since describing and explaining each form of agate would require a whole article on its own, we’ve limited ourselves to listing some of the more prominent variations below.

Moss Agate:

Moss Agate
Moss Agate

The presence of visible impurities distinguishes moss agate. Because it does not have bands as ordinary agates do, it is related to the dendritic type. Moss agate is a white gemstone with greenish inclusions.

This is not the regular sort of agate that you would find. In contrast to the banded pattern, it is largely colorless, white or grey in hue, with brown/black divergent inclusions in the background.

Dendritic Agate:

Dendritic Agate
Dendritic Agate

Dendritic agate is frequently referred to as tree agate because its intriguing features are dendritic, which means they have a branching structure similar to that of a tree. If you’re prepared to spend a little more money on it (it is a more expensive form of agate), it is very well worth it because it is one-of-a-kind and fascinating.

Fortification Agate:

Fortification Agate
Fortification Agate

Typically, this is the most frequent form of agate and comes to mind when we think of agates. This type has the famous crystallized bands that follow the outlines of the hollow, and when cut, it appears to be a colorful cross-section of an ancient tree full of rings.

Plume Agate:

Plume Agate
Plume Agate

This kind of agate features feather-like inclusions, which are mostly visible on the surface and are thought to represent ferns or other fauna that may have been located on the walls of the rock hole during its development.

When polished and cut appropriately, these imperfections mix in seamlessly with the stone, resulting in spectacular shapes and vibrant hues.

Lace Agate:

Lace Agate
Lace Agate

In keeping with the name, this kind is suggestive of delicate lace, complete with ornate hoops and swirls on the ends. It is one of the most sought-after and rarest varieties of agate available. These are available in various hues, with red and blue being the most difficult to come by.

Fire Agate:

Fire Agate
Fire Agate

This exquisite and unusual form of agate is distinguished by its radiance, which gives it a unique appearance. Fire agates are ancient stones that were produced millions of years ago as a result of volcanic eruptions.

The stone itself appears to be flaming due to its reddish-brown tint, sometimes mixed with little shoots or swirls of color to create a fiery appearance. A premium might be paid for this gemstone since it is valued.

Enhydro Agate:

Enhydro Agate
Enhydro Agate

They can be found in nature. Enhydros are closely connected to including fluids, although they are made of Chalcedony instead of other minerals. Enhydros formation is still occurring now, as evidenced by fossils dating back to the Eocene Epoch. Volcanic rock locations are where we are most usually found.

Enhydro agates are made up of cryptocrystalline quartz bands arranged in a pattern. The agate has a hollow core, which contains some water to some extent.

Enhydro agates may also include debris or petroleum, among other things. Because the hollow is not filled, it can sound when the agate is disturbed. The size of agates varies. The world’s largest reported agate was discovered in Fuxin City, China, measured 63 cm in diameter, and weighed 310 kg.

Enhydros are generated when silica-rich water percolates into volcanic rock, depositing layers of crystalline minerals on top of one another. During building up layers, the mineral creates a hollow in which the moisture becomes trapped.

The cavity is subsequently filled with silica-rich water, which hardens to create the creature’s shell. In contrast to fluid inclusions, the chalcedony shell is porous, enabling water to enter and escape the cavity at a very slow rate.

Most of the time, the water contained within an Enhydro agate is not the same water that existed at creation. Debris can become trapped in the cavity of an Enhydro agate during the production process of the stone. The types of debris found in each agate are unique.


What Is It About Agate That Makes It So Valuable?

As I explained before in this article, various elements influence how much agate is worth. The following are the most important considerations:

Weight:

Weight
Weight

The weight of the agate determines the price of both raw and tumbled agate. Many websites will list the weight (in carats, if it isn’t raw agate) of each agate they are selling next to each one they have for sale.

For rough agates, the relationship between weight and price is linear – for example, if one Pound costs Ten Dollars, two pounds will cost Twenty dollars, and so on.

For high-quality polished agates, the weight may make a significant difference in pricing — for example, whereas a 15-carat unique stone would cost Fifty Dollars, a 25-carat stone of the same grade might cost Four Hundred Dollars.

Clarity:

When an agate is clear, it is regarded as superior to other types. On the other hand, dendritic, plume, and moss agates are exempt from this rule. With these stones, the inclusions found inside provide their beauty – and hence raise the cost of the stone as a result. They would not have landscapes or intriguing patterns if these inclusions were not made.

Shape:

Shape
Shape

If the rough agate is smooth and spherical, it is worth more than if the edges are irregular, harsh, or jagged. If an agate has been cut expressly for jewelry usage, the asymmetry and skilled cut increase the gemstone’s value.

Color:

Because one of the most distinguishing characteristics of true agate is its band of hues, the presence of striking colors boosts the stone’s value.

Colors such as grey, light, and black are less expensive, but vibrant red, orange, white, and blue are more expensive. Colors are also distinguished by their brightness/intensity; this is critical.

Rarity:

If an agate isn’t as popular as the others, and it can only be obtained from a single site or has a limited supply (for example, fire agate from Mexico), the price of the stone will rise.

Appearance as a Whole:

Appearance as a Whole
Appearance as a Whole

Any stone with intriguing bands, patterns, or drawings is instantly valued and pricey because of its uniqueness. This characteristic is frequently the most important.


What Is the Most Valuable Type of Agate?

However, dendritic and fire agates are often valued more than the other varieties because there’s no such thing as “the most valuable agate.”

An average-quality Blue Lace Agate with very fine bands and rich color, on the other hand, can be significantly more expensive than an average-quality Fire Agate of the same size but poorer quality.


What Characteristics Should I Look For While Purchasing an Agate?

What Characteristics Should I Look For While Purchasing an Agate
What Characteristics Should I Look For While Purchasing an Agate

Fakes and dyes are the two things you should look for when shopping. You could come across a shard of glass that is being offered as an agate on the market from time to time.

Although this is not a typical occurrence because agates are not particularly costly in the first place, you should exercise caution and only purchase from a trustworthy vendor or shop.

Dyes, on the other hand, are an entirely separate subject. Many agates found naturally have relatively drab colors that most people never would find aesthetically pleasing.

Agates are frequently colored in chemical solutions to improve their hues to circumvent this difficulty. If you see incredibly vibrant, neon-like greens, shades of red, or blues, it is quite probable that you are looking at a dyed agate.

Many individuals find no problem with this and continue to purchase the items; however, some believe they aren’t worth purchasing because the colors aren’t the original ones. Finally, everything boils down to a matter of taste and desire.


How Should You Take Care of Your Agate?

Agate has a hardness grade of 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale, making it a fairly durable stone. This implies that only materials with a higher scratch or damage rating will scratch or ruin agate.

It is recommended that you store your agate in a fabric bag away from direct sunlight to avoid any harm, particularly discoloration, to the stone.

Because most agates have been dyed to enhance their natural color, additional caution should be exercised when cleaning the stone. Avoid using strong chemicals to clean agate jewelry. Instead, use gentle soapy water to clean the stone.


Conclusion:

Agate is a form of quartz that has been around for millions of years and has many different colors. During the ancient Egyptian period, it was used to carve amulets and other artifacts, which people believed would protect them from evil spirits or bring them good luck in their lives.

Agates may be found in various colors, including reds, oranges, yellows, greens, and whites. If you’re searching for a low-cost method to add some color to your jewelry collection, or if you’re seeking something that’s both stylish and timeless at the same time, then get to shopping!

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