Agate is a semi-precious stone. Its characteristic feature is its stripe structure. Its wavy stripes in different colors create incredible patterns that can sometimes be combined with images such as landscapes, castles, lakes or mountains. Thanks to its original patterning and its widespread use, agate was one of the first gemstones to be used for jewelry and decorative objects.
The most common hypothesis for the origin of the name "agate" is the river Agates in Sicily, where the oldest deposits were mined.
There are over 150 types of agate! The most common are agates with concentric stripes, the Brazilian type. Less common is the Uruguayan type with straight stripes.
Since ancient times, agate has been used to make seals and various vessels, as well as decorative and ornamental items. Artisans have carved cameos from agates, cleverly taking advantage of the layered structure and varying coloration of the stone strips. Agates were used to decorate altars, tabletops, and walls. The largest agate work is in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. It is a bowl with a diameter of 75 cm.
Agate deposits are found all over the world: in South America, in Africa, in England and Mongolia, in the Transcaucasus and Ukraine, in Russia and Poland. The largest deposits are in Brazil and Uruguay.
The size of natural stones varies from one centimeter to several dozen centimeters. Small agates can be easily found on the surface, while large stones are very rare.