Agate is the name given to numerous varieties of Chalcedony, a mineral of the Quartz family.
The stone was given its name by Theophrastus, a Greek philosopher and naturalist who discovered the stone along the shores of the Dirillo River or Achates in Sicily between the 4th and 3rd century BC.
Agate occurs in a wide range of types and colours which include brown, white, red, grey, pink, black, blue, green and yellow, all caused by impurities. Usually banded in layers or stripes, some varieties have “eye” markings or specks of colour, some have fossilized inclusions and others are solid. They are found all around the world and bring a wonder and magic with their swirls of coloured bands.
Historically, Agate was discovered with the artefacts of the earliest Neolithic people and was used in healing amulets, jewellery and ornamentation during the Ancient Egyptian, Babylonian, Greek and Roman civilisations and continued to spread its popularity throughout the ages. The banding that characterizes Agate has made it the perfect medium for the carving of cameos and intaglios and during the reign of Queen Victoria, Scottish Agate jewellery became the height of fashion.
Agate sparked a world-renowned stonecutting and polishing industry in Idar-Oberstein in Germany that flourished from the 15th to the 19th century and still exists today.
Metaphysically, Agate is highly regarded as a stabilising and strengthening influence and is excellent for balancing emotional, physical and intellectual energy.