Skip to main content Skip to Search Box

Definition: agate from Philip's Encyclopedia

Microscrystalline form of quartz with parallel bands of colour. It is regarded as a semi-precious stone and is used for making jewellery. Hardness c.6.5; r.d. c.2.6.


Summary Article: agate from The Columbia Encyclopedia

(ăg'ĭt), translucent, cryptocrystalline variety of quartz and a subvariety of chalcedony. Agates are identical in chemical structure to jasper, flint, chert, petrified wood, and tiger's-eye, and are often found in association with opal. The colorful, banded rocks are used as a semiprecious gemstone and in the manufacture of grinding equipment. An agate's banding forms as silica from solution is slowly deposited into cavities and veins in older rock. The stones can be artificially stained to produce combinations of color more vivid than those found in the natural state. The cutting and staining of agates has long been centered at Idar-Oberstein, Germany. Important sources of agate are Brazil, Uruguay, and the United States (Oregon, Washington, and around Lake Superior). The moss agate or mocha stone contains visible impurities in the form of dendritic shapes that resemble moss. See onyx.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, © Columbia University Press 2017

Related Credo Articles

Full text Article agate
The Penguin English Dictionary

/agət, agayt/ noun a mineral used as a gem composed of quartz of various colours, often arranged in bands [ French agate via Latin from...

Full text Article agate
Academic Press Dictionary of Science and Technology

Mineralogy : SiO 2 , a variety of chalcedony found in various low-intensity colors that are arranged in alternating bands, irregular clouds,...

Full text Article agate
The Macmillan Encyclopedia

A banded or concentrically patterned form of chalcedony . The banding is due to intermittent deposition in rock cavities and the colours,...

See more from Credo