Monday, June 7, 2010

Tree Agate

Tree Agate

Birthstone Month:
Agate is associated with the birthstone month of May.

Agate is associated with the zodiac sign Gemini.

Chemical Symbol:

Chemical Make-up:
Agate is a Silicon Dioxide and is a variety of Chalcedony, which is a member of the Quartz family. It is scientifically classified as either a cryptocystalline or a microcrystalline variety of Quartz.

History & Lore:
The name Agate is believed to derive from the Greek word given to a stone that was found thousands of years ago in the Achates River in South-western Sicily, now known as Dirillo River.

Some of the earliest primitive tools that were created by man's ancestors 2.5 million years ago were made of various types of Quartz, including Agate. Agate has also been used as a gemstone and for other ornamental objects dating back thousands of years. Early Greeks used Agate in the form of amulets as protection from the dangerous elements of the sea.

In medieval times Agate was worn to bring God's favor and make one agreeable and persuasive. It was also believed to bring protection from all dangers and to be able to bring about victory and strength.

Agate has commonly been used to cure insomnia and to bring about pleasant dreams. It is also said to enhance the wearer's courage, improve perception and concentration, and to provide protection from dangers. Agate is believed to enhance trust and honesty, and to assist with acceptance to circumstances and emotions. In addition to this, Agate is believed to be able to improve memory.

Tree Agate is a centering stone that aids in communication and finding peace in the world. In addition to this, it is believed to be a stone of introspection, helping the wearer view the world more clearly with a broader viewpoint.

Tree Agate tends to be one of the more sought-after varieties of Agate, yet remains relatively inexpensive.

It is documented that Agate was originally mined in the Nahe River Valley in Germany in 1497. These findings gave rise to the cutting center of Idar-Oberstein, Germany. When the deposits of Agate began to dry up in the Nahe River Valley in the nineteenth century, deposits were found in Brazil which sparked the discovery of the country's wide and varied gemstone deposits. There are also known sources of Agate in Australia, China, Congo, Egypt, Iceland, India, Italy, Madagascar, Mexico, Nepal, Russia, the United States, and Uruguay.

Agate is rated at 6.5 to 7 on Moh's Scale of Hardness. There is not any specific care required, but general gemstone precautions are always a good idea so that the original condition of the stone can be retained.
Tree Agate is an opaque, white stone containing dendrite inclusions that appear like dappled, green leaves.

Tree Agate found with distinctive or extraordinary tree-like patterns and in larger sizes will demand a premium.

Common Cuts:
Tree Agates are most often found cut into free-form and calibrated cabochons.

Routine Enhancements:
Tree Agate is not known to be enhanced.

Care & Cleaning:
Agate can be cleaned using warm soapy water and a soft brush. As with most gemstones, Agate should be kept away from household chemicals and from prolonged exposure to extremes of heat that can cause damage to the stone. Agate should be kept in a fabric-lined box away from other jewelry items so as to avoid damage / scratching.

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