Various types of agate gemstones have been valued throughout history, all the way back to the Neolithic Era. It is believed these stones were originally used as amulets of healing. Agates were used as healing stones in Ancient Greek and Egyptian civilizations as well. It's said the Greek philosopher Theophrastus gave agate its name because he found the stone in the Achates River of present day Sicily, Italy. The River has since been renamed to the Dirillo River.
Agate is a birthstone associated with the month of May, June and even September, depending on the culture. Agate as a general gemstone is also connected to the Zodiac signs Gemini and Capricorn.
Fossil Agate Metaphysical Properties
Agates, especially fossil agates with their visible ties to the past, have a deep connection to the Earth and home. The fossilized life inside the stone is said to be key in the power of this particular agate. Agate in general encourages stability, self-confidence and composure. Fossil agate, and another agate called turritella agate, contains ancient sea life and are said to help protect against danger and allows travelers to feel a connection with loved ones back home.
Fossil Agate Geological Properties
Agates are a variety of chalcedony, and are a microcrystalline quartz. This distinctive form of agate is actually made from pieces of broken shells that have rested in a bed of mud for millennia. Due to pressure and other environmental factors, the amalgamation transforms over time into a stone full of primordial life. Fossil agate features hues of cream, light grey and pink on a dark background.
Fossil agate is not to be confused with turritella agate, though they both contain fossilized sea life. Turritella agate is easily recognized by the embedded sea creature sand snail markings that perfectly compliment the black, brown and cream tones of the stone. The spiral shells of the Elimia tenera make up the stone's swirling brown and white patterns. Turritella agate is mostly from North America.
Mycrocrystalline quartz, banded chalcedony--often infused with iron and aluminum
Grey background with pink and white swirls
6-1/2 to 7 (Mohs)
2.60 - 2.65
1.544 - 1.553
Proper Care of Fossil Agate
Agates in general are a hardy stone, making it easy to clean fossil agates with warm soapy water and a brush. Gently remove dust, debris, makeup and other contaminates to keep your agate looking its best. Harsh cleaners and ultrasonic machines are not recommended for cleaning agate. Thoroughly dry agate in jewelry to prevent any extra moisture from causing tarnish in connecting metal components. Store agate jewelry away from other jewelry since the hardness of the stone could end up causing scratches on softer gem materials.
To learn more about fossil agate and other gemstones, order your copy of Walter Schumann's revised and expanded edition of Gemstones of the World.
Designing with Fossil Agate
Fossil agate is fun to design with, especially since you get a sense of being where people and creatures from a far earlier time had also been. Everything about this agate speaks of something far older and more lasting than we are. The pink and white swirls through the grey background of these beads give them a lovely time-aged mottled effect that pairs perfectly with vintage-inspired jewelry creations. Include fossil agate beads with shell or wood beads to heighten a sense of oceanic beauty and of ancient sea life. Play up the specific colors of each bead by pairing with like-colored gemstones. For instance, if you want to highlight the pink shades of fossil agate, try including morganite, pink sapphire, pink opal or tourmaline gemstones.
**Please note that all metaphysical or healing properties listed are collected from various sources. This information is offered as a service and not meant to treat medical conditions. Fire Mountain Gems and Beads® does not guarantee the validity of any of these statements.
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