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Agate Types

and Characteristics

By Angela Dudley

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Agenda
 What is an agate?
 Formation
 Composition
 Features
 Regional agates
 Start your own collection!

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What is an Agate?

 Sedimentary
rock
 Formed by
silica gels
 Originates in air
pockets of
basalt
 Banded variety
of Quartz
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Iron Oxides = Color

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Formation
 Lava flows along
fault lines
 Cools and hardens
 Empty gas pockets
left behind
 Silica and other
minerals fill
cavities
 Layers are
deposited
 Crystallization
occurs 5
Identifying Features
 Waxy luster
 Banding
 Plasticity in
bands
 Color contrast
 Glow
 Pockmarks
 Crystals

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Escape Tubes
 Internal
pressure forces
silica gel from
the cavity

 Demonstrates
plasticity and
slow
solidification
time
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Desirable Qualities
 Waterwashed
texture
 Inclusions
 Peeling
 Shadow banding
 High contrast
colors
 Sharp band
definition
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Waterlevel
 Flat parallel
banding

 Indicates
horizontal
plane at
time of
formation

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Bullseyes
 Bands
wrap
around
tubes

 Tubes are
previously
deposited
minerals
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World Distribution of Agates

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Where should I look for
agates?
 Rock bars on
riverbeds
 Gravel pits
 Landscaping
aggregate
 Rock
outcroppings
 Gravel roads
 Agate beds
 EBay
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Moss
 No organic
material
 Substrate is clear
or milky
 Green and black
caused by chrome
 Red caused by iron
 Dendritic plumes
from iron and
manganese
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Dendritic Plumes
 Formed when
mineral particles
become trapped in
silica gel

 Heat and pressure
cause particles to
move

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Fire Agate
 Originate in
California

 Very thin layers

 Breaks light into
color spectrum

 Colors = fire
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Opal Hill Mine

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Lake Superior
 Red bands caused
by iron oxide

 Found around Lake
Superior and
glacial drift

 Official state gem

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Minnesota Gravel Pit

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Fairburn
 Originate in
South Dakota
 “Holly leaf”
banding
 Large color
variety
 Natural patina
or faced
 Official State
Gem
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Fairburn Agate Bed

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Blue Lace
 Originates in Kenya
and Namibia

 Sky blue to
periwinkle

 Blue color caused
by dolomite

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Botswana
 Originate in
Botswana

 Purple, apricot,
pink, gray and
brown

 Round or oval
pattern
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Laguna Agate
 Originate in Mexico

 150 miles south of
the border

 Bright colors

 Tight banding

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Natural v/s Dyed Agate
Slabs

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How can I find one?
 Go after a hard
rain

 Look into the
sun

 Gaze with soft
eyes

 Watch for the
glow 25
What else should I look for?
 Arrowheads
 Pottery shards
 Fossils
 Petrified wood
 Antique
bottles
 Skulls
 Teeth
 Feathers
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What to bring rock hunting:
 Sturdy shoes
 Water and
snacks
 Bucket
 Sunscreen
 Ball cap
 Pick and shovel
 Patience
 Me
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Clean up and Presentation
 Soak in hot water
and Mr. Clean
 Scrub with a
toothbrush
 Lightly coat with
mineral oil
 Bake at 200 for 10
minutes
 Wipe gently with
towel
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Are they valuable?
 Common agates
bring $5 to $50
 Nice ones can go
for up to $500 or
more
 Museum quality
can bring $1,000
 The record is over
$13,000 for a
single agate!
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What do you do with them?
 Jewelry

 Crafts

 Metaphysical
healing

 Trade or sell them

 Collect and enjoy
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Conclusion
 What is an agate

 Various regional
agates

 How to begin
collecting

 Questions?

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