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Article: Agate


Etymology and Formation of Agate

  • Agate was named by Theophrastus, a Greek philosopher and naturalist.
  • The stone was discovered along the shore line of the Dirillo River or Achates in Sicily.
  • The discovery of agate was made between the 4th and 3rd centuries BCE.
  • Agate minerals form on or within pre-existing rocks.
  • The formation of agates can be difficult to determine accurately.
  • Agates are commonly found as nodules within volcanic rocks.
  • Cavities in volcanic rocks are filled with silica-rich fluids, forming agates.
  • Banded agate is formed by layers of chalcedony and crystalline quartz.

Types of Agate

  • Lace agate exhibits a lace-like pattern.
  • Blue lace agate is found in Africa and is hard.
  • Crazy lace agate is brightly colored with a complex pattern.
  • Moss agate exhibits a moss-like pattern and is greenish in color.
  • Dendritic agate displays fern-like patterns due to manganese and iron oxides.

Uses of Agate

  • Agate is commonly used in hardstone carving.
  • It is used to make ornaments, jewelry, paper knives, and inkstands.
  • Agate is used in decorative displays, cabochons, beads, and carvings.
  • Industrial uses of agate include knife-edge bearings and mortars and pestles.
  • Agate is used in arts and crafts, such as window panes and jewelry.

Characteristics of Agate

  • Agate is known for its durability.
  • It has a Mohs scale hardness rating of 6.5-7.
  • Agate has colorful, banded patterns and a wide range of hues.
  • It is found in various colors, including red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and pink.
  • Agate is generally more affordable than other gemstones.

Health Impact of Agate

  • Workers in the agate industry in India and China have been studied for respiratory diseases.
  • Silicosis, a lung disease caused by inhaling silica dust, has been found in workers exposed to agate dust.
  • There is an increased incidence of accelerated silicosis among workers exposed to agate dust.
  • Co-morbidities have been observed among silicotics in the agate industry.
  • Exposure to agate dust has been linked to respiratory morbidity in workers of quartz crushing units.

Agate Data Sources

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