Botswana Agate

Meaning and Properties


The most royal of agates, Botswana agate is famed for its history, scarcity and beauty. These stones are mostly found in the Bobonong district of Botswana and are famous for the extra fine banding of white, black, shades of grey and occasional touches of pink or salmon hues. While some collectors only consider banded stones to be agates, others will include any multicolored forms of chalcedony in their collections.

Banded agates such as this have been used for cameo and intaglio carving for thousands of years, with the layers of color revealed in carving paramount to the gemstone design. The banding revealed in agates is also appreciated for its beauty, while the stone's hardness is respected for its durability. Banded agates, worn plain as well as carved, have been used as talismans and amulets since the rise of the ancient Greeks. Agate jewelry was discovered in the grave of the "Griffin Warrior," dated around 1500 BC!

Metaphysical Properties

Arachnophobes, rejoice! Botswana agate is traditionally believed to ward off spiders. It's also commonly used to improve attention to detail, increase positivity and waken your sense of adventure. Agates were used in ancient times as talismans to protect the wearer from storms, to quench thirst and to bring good luck--all important things for surviving in the subtropics.

For proponents of energy work and crystal healing, Botswana agate is believed to be beneficial for anyone connected to fire or smoke. In its raw state, Botswana agate looks like the human brain, so it is also thought to be effective for brain-related conditions. It is believed to stimulate the crown chakra.

Geological Properties

Agate is a chalcedony which often includes fine banding of multiple colors. Botswana agate is no exception. The intricate bands were formed by repeated floods of slow-moving lava waves over lower levels of stone, laying down successive layers of silica/quartz one over the other. The weight and pressure caused tubes, pits and pockets to form in the lower layers, creating places where multiple layers could form in smooth round shapes.

This makes agate a gemstone which takes a long time to form. Botswana agate is especially desired for the extra fine banding patterns created by the landscape where it formed.

Mineral Information Microcrystalline quartz, banded chalcedony
Chemical Composition SiO2
Color Grey background, brown, light grey, white bands
Hardness 6-1/2 to 7 (Mohs)
Specific Gravity 2.60 - 2.65
Refractive Index 1.544 - 1.553

Proper Care of Botswana Agate

While agate is a strong and resilient stone, it is not invulnerable. It is best cleaned using warm soapy water and a soft brush or cotton cloth. Do not clean agates using steam as the stone is sensitive to heat.

Cosmetics and perspiration can negatively affect the surface polish of agate gemstones. Be sure to put agate jewelry on after applying make-up and perfumes, as well as removing it before swimming or engaging in sports.

Store agate jewelry in a separate pouch or box to prevent it from damaging other stones. Do not store in direct sunlight or in a warm location.

To learn more about Botswana agate and other gemstones, order your copy of Walter Schumann's revised and expanded edition of Gemstones of the World.

Designing with Botswana Agate

If there was ever a "man's stone," this is it. Often, men's jewelry gets limited to metals only or single-color gemstones such as red jasper or turquoise; Botswana agate breaks that monopoly and opens the door to elegant jewelry for adventurous, distinguished men who want something one-of-a-kind.

Set these distinctly banded agate cabochons into rings and tie tacs (for the man of distinction) and belt buckles (for the man of adventure) and you won't be able to keep them in stock. The cool greys of Botswana agate work beautifully with the warm tones of red and brecciated jasper, as well as the classic crisp white of mountain "jade" and bold neutrals of black onyx. These qualities also mean Botwsana agate is popular in unisex jewelry designs.

View more resources featuring botswana agate, including Design Ideas, Videos, Tutorials and more!

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