|__________| Infinite Scroll Is Supported on Google Chrome Browser | Bargain Basket Products - Save up to 30% | The knowledge from an enlightened person breaks on the hard rocks of ignorance - Unknown |
A distinctly banded fibrous chalcedony. Originally reported from Dirillo river (Achates river), Acate, Ragusa Province, Sicily, Italy. The banding in agate is based on periodic changes in the translucency of the agate substance. Layers appear darker when they are more translucent (this may appear reversed in transmitted light). This effect may be accompanied and amplified by changes in the color of neighboring layers, due to other co-precipitated minerals. In old agates that have been subject to weathering and chemical alteration the differences in translucency may disappear, such specimens may turn almost opaque. Agate is made of fibrous length-fast chalcedony, sometimes with layers of quartzine (length-slow chalcedony) fibers (Michel-Lévy and Munier-Chalmas 1892; Correns and Nagelschmidt, 1933; Bernauer 1927; Braitsch 1957; Frondel, 1978; Flörke et al. 1991; Graetsch 1994). In thin slices of agate the fibers are sometimes visible in transmitted light and may cause interesting optical effects (see Iris Agate). Because the individual crystallites in the fibers are not tightly interlocked, agate is slightly porous (e.g., Monroe, 1964), and can be dyed easily.
Two characteristic types of banding can be distinguished in agates (e.g. Graetsch 1994): 1. Wall-lining Banding. The individual bands run perpendicular to the orientation and growth direction of the chalcedony fibers. Since the chalcedony fibers grow from the walls to the interior of a cavity, a concentric, onion-like pattern develops. The changes in translucency reflect periodic changes of crystallite sizes and repetitive nucleation of new fibers at the growth front (Taijing and Sunagawa 1994; Cady et al 1998), as well as chemical composition (Frondel 1978; Heaney and Davis 1995). In addition to the visible bands, there are compositional bands of varying trace element and hydroxyl concentrations on the micrometer scale (Frondel 1978, 1985). Note that this type of banding is not restricted to walls of geodes: similar looking patterns of banding will develop around other structures that grew into the cavity, like crystals or moss-like inclusions. 2. Horizontal Banding (also called Uruguay-type banding). This type of banding is less common, and usually accompanied by wall-lining banding. The banding consists of fine, irregularly spaced layers of small chalcedony spherulites and sometimes quartz crystals that precipitated in the cavity. Horizontal bands can serve as spirit levels to determine the original orientation of the specimen in the host rock. When the difference in translucency or color between the layers is pronounced, agates with horizontal banding can be used for cutting cameos and engravings. Note: Agate is not simply "banded chalcedony." There are other types of chalcedony that are banded that do not match the description above, banded flint, for example. Because the colours and patterns found in agates are so varied and so characteristic for the respective localities, there is a confusingly large number of ever-changing varietal and trade names. Roger Pabian's "Agate Lexicon" at UNL is a good source: Agates Lexicon http://snr.unl.edu/data/geologysoils/agates/agateslexicon.aspx There are a number of varieties of chalcedony that are called "agate" that do not match the definition given above. Good examples are "feather agates" and "fire agates". These are listed as varieties of chalcedony, not as varieties of agate.
The name is derived from its occurrence at the Achates River in southwestern Sicily.
Lustre: Waxy, Dull Transparency: Transparent. Vitreous when polished Colour: Colourless, gray, red, white, any colour due to embedded minerals, multicolour specimen not uncommon Streak: White Hardness: 6½ - 7 on Mohs scale Tenacity: Brittle Cleavage: None Observed Fracture: Conchoidal, Sub-Conchoidal Density: 2.6 g/cm3 (Measured). Varies with amount and type of impurities
Formula: CaSO4 Elements listed: Ca, O, S Common Impurities: Sr,Ba,H2O
Recorded ages: Phanerzoic: Ma to Ma – based on recorded ages. < br />