Yellow Skin Agate
Agate consists primarily of cryptocrystalline silica with alternating microgranular quartz. It is characterized by its fineness of grain and variety of color. Although agates may be found in various kinds of host rock, they are classically associated with volcanic rocks and can be common in certain metamorphic rocks.
The stone was given its name by Theophrastus, a Greek philosopher and naturalist, who discovered the stone along the shore line of the river Achates in Sicily, sometime between the 4th and 3rd centuries BC.
Agate is one of the most common materials used in the art of hardstone carving, and has been recovered at a number of ancient sites, indicating its widespread use in the ancient world; for example, archaeological recovery at the Knossos site on Crete illustrates its role in Bronze Age Minoan culture.
Most agates occur as nodules in volcanic rocks or ancient lavas, in former cavities produced by volatiles in the original molten mass, which were then filled, wholly or partially, by siliceous matter deposited in regular layers upon the walls. Agate has also been known to fill veins or cracks in volcanic or altered rock underlain by granitic intrusive masses. Such agates, when cut transversely, exhibit a succession of parallel lines, often of extreme tenuity, giving a banded appearance to the section. Such stones are known as banded agate, riband agate and striped agate.
In the formation of an ordinary agate, it is probable that waters containing silica in solution—derived, perhaps, from the decomposition of some of the silicates in the lava itself—percolated through the rock and deposited a siliceous gel in the interior of the vesicles. Variations in the character of the solution or in the conditions of deposition may cause a corresponding variation in the successive layers, so that bands of chalcedony often alternate with layers of crystalline quartz. Several vapour-vesicles may unite while the rock is still viscous, and thus form a large cavity which may become the home of an agate of exceptional size; thus a Brazilian geode lined with amethyst and weighing 35 tons was exhibited at the Düsseldorf Exhibition of 1902. Perhaps the most comprehensive review of agate chemistry is a recent text by Moxon cited below.
The first deposit on the wall of a cavity, forming the "skin" of the agate, is generally a dark greenish mineral substance, like celadonite, delessite or "green earth", which are rich in iron probably derived from the decomposition of the augite in the enclosing volcanic rock. This green silicate may give rise by alteration to a brown iron oxide (limonite), producing a rusty appearance on the outside of the agate-nodule. The outer surface of an agate, freed from its matrix, is often pitted and rough, apparently in consequence of the removal of the original coating. The first layer spread over the wall of the cavity has been called the "priming", and upon this base, zeolitic minerals may be deposited.
Many agates are hollow, since deposition has not proceeded far enough to fill the cavity, and in such cases the last deposit commonly consists of drusy quartz, sometimes amethystine, having the apices of the crystals directed towards the free space so as to form a crystal-lined cavity or geode.
When the matrix in which the agates are embedded disintegrates, they are set free. The agates are extremely resistant to weathering and remain as nodules in the soil, or are deposited as gravel in streams and along shorelines.
Agates can also be found in sedimentary rocks. They need a cavity to form, so they are typically seen in limestone, dolomite, and shale which may have shells, tree branches, or roots in them that later decay away. With the void created, silica-rich fluids can enter the cavity and precipitate chalcedony in curved bands forming agates. Other quartz classes like amethyst or opal may then form the inner-most band inside the geode.
Agate brings about emotional, physical and intellectual balance. Aids in centering and stabilizing physical energy. Has the power to harmonize yin and yang, the positive and the negative forces that hold the universe in place. Agate is a grounding stone as well as a spiritual stone, allowing for one to bring their spiritual experiences into their everyday reality. Agate is believed to improve mental functions and can help where issues of clarity and stability are concerned. Agate is also helpful in overcoming negative emotions by bringing love into the chakras. Although they work very slowly and deliberately, this gentle nature of Agate helps it to have a lasting impact.
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