The chemical composition of agate is SiO2; it can contain Fe Al Ti Mn V and other elements, showing a variety of colors, concentric circles, and regular strips, and can be divided into sardonyx, striped agate, moss agate, fire agate, Onyx, etc. Among them, red agate is the top grade of various agates, so in “Ge Gu Yao Lun”, there is a saying that “agate is not red for a lifetime.”
It is said that because the rough shape of agate is similar to a horse brain, it is called “agate”. Whether in the Old Testament or Buddhist scriptures, there are records of agate deeds.
Agate is a colloidal mineral, in mineralogy, it belongs to chalcedony. Since ancient times, agate has been welcomed by people, and one of the ancient “seven treasures” is agate. Agate has been decorated and used by people since ancient times because of its beautiful stripes. Among the unearthed jade, strings of agate balls are common, and most of them are ornaments.
Agate is generally translucent to opaque, with a hardness of 6.5 to 7 degrees, a specific gravity of 2.55 to 2.91, and a refractive index of 1.535 to 1.539. Agate has a very remote history and is one of the earliest gem materials used by mankind. In various strata of geological history, agate can be formed in either igneous rock or sedimentary rock. Therefore, there are many agates. my country’s agate production areas are widely distributed, almost in all provinces, mainly Heilongjiang, Liaoning, Hubei, and other regions. It is also abundant in Europe, North America, and Southeast Asia the world. The most famous producing areas in the world are India, Brazil, and other places.
Agate is mainly produced in volcanic rock fissures and cavities, but also in sedimentary rock layers. It is a colloidal aggregate of silica. Like crystal and jasper, it is also a kind of quartz mine, and its chemical composition is also silica. Its hardness is higher than that of the crystal. Agate itself has the characteristics of hard, dense and delicate, different shapes, high finish, beautiful colors, and rich colors. It is the finest material for carving fine arts and crafts, and the craftsmen use advanced technology and perfect art. The combination gives it unique ideas, rich themes, ingenious designs, and superb carving skills. Makes the artistic effect of its performance extraordinary and super vulgar.
There is a catchphrase in the jewelry industry—agate is not red for a lifetime. This shows how important the red color of agate is.
In fact, agate is rich in colors and types, but red is the main color in agate. Because there are few natural red agates and the color layer is not deep, the red agate is mostly burnt agate. Its red colors are red, purple, deep red, maroon, sauce red, yellow-red, and so on. In addition, the color red and bright like brocade is called brocade agate, and the red and white are called brocade agate or safflower agate. For jade carvings, the block size is the top priority, and for jewelry inlays, the color is better.
Agate is a large variety of jade carvings. It is used in a large amount. It is mainly red. It is cleverly lined with other colors and textures to make the characteristics of agate outstanding. Other colors are also used as the main color, and the effect is very obvious. Skilled jade carving masters use extraordinary skills to make ordinary agates become precious art treasures.
The mineralogical name of agate is chalcedony. The ancients called the red agate red jade, or “qigong”. Agate has many jade colors, so it is called Chiyu.
In the East, it is one of the seven treasures and seven treasures. Agate can be divided into chalcedony and agate. The rough stone with uncomplicated color is called “chalcedony”, and the rough stone with straight and parallel stripes is called “striated agate” (truncated agate). According to the color of the rough stone, it is called sardonyx and crimson agate. Recently, the dyed black agate is generally referred to as agate.
The legend of agate
According to legend, Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, lay down in the shade of a tree while sleeping. Her son Eros secretly cut off her sparkling nails and took them to the sky happily. Eros, who flew into the air, accidentally dropped his nails, and the nails that fell to the ground turned into stone, which was agate. Therefore, some people think that having agate can strengthen love and adjust the relationship between oneself and the lover. In Japanese mythology, the jade ancestor Shimei Yuming dedicated to Amaterasu is a crescent-shaped green agate, which is also one of the three Japanese artifacts!
Identification knowledge of agate
As agate is becoming more and more popular in society and the demand is increasing, the phenomenon of mixed fish and dragon is inevitable. In order to avoid being deceived and buying satisfactory agate works, consumers need to master a certain knowledge of agate identification. Agate stone has a natural color, but also post-processed and dyed. The natural colors are mainly red, amber, and white. Among them, red is the best. The blue and purple agate jewelry sold on the market is not in its natural color. It is dyed after processing and will fade after a few years. Most of the dyed agate is naturally variegated, and it is not easy to directly process into jewelry.
How to distinguish true and false agate jewelry? It can be done in the following aspects.
1) Color: The color and luster of real agate are bright and bright, while the color and light of fake agate are a little bit worse. The color of the natural red agate is distinct, and the bands are very obvious. If you observe carefully, you can see densely arranged small red spots at the red bands. Most of the fake agate cigarette pots imitated with stone have a petal-shaped pattern on the bottom, forming a “chrysanthemum bottom”; while the dyed blue agate is bright and uniform in color, giving people a fake feeling.
2) Texture: The fake agate is mostly an imitation of stone, which is softer than the real agate. Traces can be drawn on the fake agate with jade, but the real agate cannot. On the surface, real agate has few flaws and more inferior quality.
3) Process quality: The production process of high-quality high agate is strict and advanced, so the surface brightness is good, the inlay is firm, regular, and there are no scratches or cracks.
4) Grade: Water gallbladder agate is the most precious variety in agate, characterized by a closed cavity in the agate containing water.
5) Transparency: The transparency of real agate is not as good as the synthetic one, it is slightly chaotic, and some can see natural water lines or “clouds”, while the synthetic agate has good transparency and is as transparent as a glass ball.
6) Weight: real agate jewelry is heavier than synthetic agate jewelry.
7) Temperature: real agate is warm in winter and cool in summer, while artificial agate changes with the outside temperature, it also becomes hot in hot weather, and it also becomes cool in cold weather. How to choose agate jewelry? First, choose the color according to your favorite. Red agate jewelry is the most precious. If you choose an agate necklace, you must pay attention to the color of each bead to be the same, there is no variegation, the size of the beads should be matched, and the finish should be better. Then, lift the necklace up to see if it is vertical and whether each bead hangs on a line. If the necklace is bent, it means that the eyes of some beads are biased and the processing technology is rough.
Classification of agate
Agate can be classified as follows
(1) Divided by color
The red agate is the ancient red jade. There are eastern red agate and western red agate in red agate. The former refers to the red agate formed by heat treatment of natural iron-containing agate, also known as “burning agate”, which includes bright red and orange-red. East red agate is named because it came from Japan in the early years. The latter refers to natural red agates, among which there are dark red ones and bright red ones. The agates unearthed in ancient China are all western red agates. Most of the agates come from the West, hence the name.
Refers to blue or blue and white agate. This is a kind of agate with a very beautiful color. Large pieces are good materials for jade carving. The color of the premium ones is dark blue. The second is light in color. The blue and white ones are also very beautiful. When there is a fine band structure, they belong to the sardonyx species. At present, most of the blue agate products on the Chinese market are artificially dyed, and the colors are uniform and easy to distinguish from natural ones.
3. Purple agate
Purple Agate. It is mostly a single purple, and the high-quality ones are like amethyst in color and bright. The second one is pale, or not bright enough, commonly known as “boring”. Purple agate is rare in nature, and it is also dyed.
4. Green agate
Green agate, green agate is not seen in nature. At present, almost all green agates on the Chinese jewelry market are artificially colored. Its color is dark green, and some colors resemble jade, but those with experience can easily distinguish it from jade. The color of green agate is “thin”, the texture is not emerald, and the texture is brittle; the color of jadeite is “thick” and the texture is emerald, with great toughness.
Black agate. Black agate is rare in nature. At present, the black agate on the Chinese jewelry market is artificially colored. Its color is strong and black, which is easy to mix with other black jade. It is distinguished by its hardness greater than obsidian.
Mainly white or five-color agate. Among them, the so-called white agate produced in Northeast Liaoning Province actually belongs to white chalcedony. It is mostly used to make beads and then artificially colored, which can be colored into blue, green, black, and other colors. Large pieces of this white agate are also used as raw materials for jade ware, and they are partially dyed into a pretty color for use. However, some white agates are also produced in nature. Because of the incorrect color, especially those that are off-white, they are generally not welcome, but they can also be used to make some cheap and low-end tourist products or souvenirs.
7. Other colors of agate
Other colors of agate can be named according to different colors.
(2) Divided according to texture structure
1. Sardonyx: Agate with fine-grained belt structure, also known as “onyx”. It is a kind of agate with various colors intertwined in the form of ribbons. Because the interlaced ribbons are as thin as oil silk, it is called sardonyx. Some are red and white, some are blue and white, and some are black and white. They are as wide as a band or as thin as silk. They are very beautiful. They were called truncated agate in ancient times. Sardonyx is also a variety often used in the jade carving. Sometimes the fine lines can be as fine as silk, and there are many variations in color. The following varieties of sardonyx can be further divided: onyx, red onyx, red and white onyx, black and white onyx, brown and white onyx, Brown, and black onyx.
2. Banded agate: agate with a wider band. Those who appear in a single color, that is, the aforementioned red agate, blue agate, etc. However, colorless band agate may not always be artificially colored. At present, in the Chinese jewelry industry, band-shaped agate is generally not used for artificial coloring, and it is preferred to use non-lined bands, which are actually raw materials in chalcedony for this kind of coloring.
(3) Divided by texture or other characteristics
1. Transparent agate: agate that is transparent like water. Among all kinds of agate, the higher the transparency, the better the quality. Agate that is completely transparent as water is rare and translucent is usually the best.
2. Opaque agate: The agate that can not penetrate the light is called opaque agate.
3. Translucent agate: agate between 1 and 2. This species is most common in agate.
4. Walled agate: In sardonyx or banded agate, if there is an angular structure that resembles an “urban wall”, it is called Walled agate.
5. Moss agate: When agate is mixed with chlorite minerals, it sometimes forms a mossy or dendritic pattern, which is called moss agate.
6. Cloud agate: agate with cloudy texture.
7. Fire agate: This is a kind of agate that contains iron oxide plate-like crystals in the agate strip. It is named fire agate because the minerals contained in it flash red in the sun.
8. Glittering agate: Agate with many black or dark bands due to the mutual interference of agate bands.
9. Water gall agate: Agate contains natural liquid varieties. The liquid is usually wrapped in the center of the globular agate. It is named because it often resembles the gallbladder of an animal. The central part of agate has different characteristics, some are solid, some are careless, some are hollow without water, and some are hollow with water. The agate with water in the center is called water gallbladder agate, which is a precious species of agate and a rare treasure in ancient times. Water gallbladder agate is good for boldness and more water, the higher the transparency, the better.
Since ancient times, China has divided the agate varieties very finely. In addition to the above varieties, there are “Jinjiang Agate” with brocade flowers on the base, “zygote agate” with a line of white on the pitch-black base, and “descendant agate” with two origins. “, there are light-colored splashes of “water agate”, “spotted agate” with purple variegation, “bamboo leaf agate” with bamboo leaf-like patterns, “curly agate” with earthworm-like pink flowers, and so on. However, these varieties and names are generally rarely used today and are often seen in historical records.