Articles and Information on Crystals and Healing
Historically by definition true agate is a transparent form of chalcedony with only concentric banding but today the term agate is commonly used to include chalcedonies with many different kinds of mineral inclusions, designs, styles, structures and colours. Agates of many different types may be found throughout the world.
Agate is present primarily in volcanic flows and forms veins, masses nodules.
Iris agate isn't a particular type of agate, but rather a visual phenomenon that occurs rarely in certain agates. The iris effect is usually found in colourless banded nodular agates, often with a quartz filled centre. The iris effect is caused by extremely fine banding that diffracts light as it passes through the stone and produces a spectrum of rainbow colours. The iris effect is not visible to the naked eye under ordinary conditions, and the agate must be cut into very thin slices and viewed in front of a light source at the correct angle to see the fire within
Iris agate is a specimen only
Jasper is a form of Chalcedony, it is opaque, tough, fibrous and massive with a greater density of mineral inclusions such as iron oxides and earthy clays than agate. Jasper can occur as nodules or veins in bedded sedimentary or metamorphic deposits, and altered igneous rock deposits.
Jasper has many of the same type of styles as agate, although they are usually not quite as fine as those seen in agate due to the more granular and less transparent nature of jasper.
As with agates there is an almost infinite variety of jaspers that are found throughout the world.
Jasp/agate is a jasper that falls somewhere between agate and jasper due to the high amount of chalcedony present in the stone.
Jasp/agates tend to be very colourful, hard and well patterned and are a highly desirable lapidary stone
AGATE & JASPER PHYSICAL PATTERNS
Aggregate Stalks are finger like structures embedded within a crystal. They show as a row of inclusions or growths that emanate from one direction and in one plane.
Banded agates and jaspers are recognised by their parallel concentric banding and nodular shape. Most banded agates and jaspers are not overly colourful, usually occurring in subtle shades or white, grey or tan. There are exceptions though there are certain locations around the world where vividly coloured stones can be found with hues of vibrant reds, pinks, purples, yellow etc.
Brecciated Agate and Jaspers are stones in which previously broken angular pieces of agate or jasper are re-cemented with chalcedony to form a new type of stone. The re-cemented pieces are randomly arranged and the internal pattern often has a jagged mosaic look with clear lines of demarcation between the more solid fragments.
Clear crystals are transparent or translucent. The clear stones only apply to Agate. Jasper is opaque.
A cloud design has a single colour as the background with a contrasting colour making brush like strokes across the crystal which is reminiscent of wispy clouds in the sky.
Dendritic styles display sharply defined, two dimensional tree like branching patterns within the stone.
The very best dendritic agate has the dendrites floating in the clear chalcedony.
Dendritic jaspers tend to be earthy colours such as tan. brown white and creams with black to brown dendrites. Some dendritic jaspers tend towards a form of opalite.
A Dot pattern consists of random solid round dots of varying size and colour on a plain background.
An eye pattern contains spherulites or orbs of one or more concentric round rings that resemble eyeballs. An eye agate with one large eye is often called a bullseye agate or jasper.
A flame design is generally a crystal that has patterns shaped like flames or of fire. The flame pattern generally run along the outside edges of the stone with the flames pointing inward, with the centre of the stone usually fairly clear and transparent.
A floater design has a small floating banded section in the centre of a nodule that is surrounded by bands of chalcedony.
This design has two trade names flower or bouquet.
It is a nodular or veined crystal with inclusions that look like flowers, bouquets or round puffy plumes that vary in colour from yellow, brown and red; in a clear chalcedony.
A Fortification pattern differs from banded in that the bands are much more complex and irregular with scallops, angles, and sharp curving patterns and often containing other inclusions.
Fortification is generally grey or white with other mineral inclusions making up the distinctive colour patterns.
A fossiliferous design contains fossil remnants of ancient plants, marine life, shells or skeletons. Colours may include grey, white, black, brown, green, and red.
A lace design is a pattern on an Agate or Jasper that could have one or all of the following patterns. They could be swirls, banding, scallops and zig zags. When the lace design has over 90% of zig zags in the crystal then called lattice.
A lattice pattern has a design of angular bladed sections in a zigzag or lattice like pattern within the stone.
Moss Agate or Jasper is a vein or nodular stone that contains colourful and delicate inclusions, that resemble seaweed, moss, strings, or filaments on a clear (Agate} or white (Jasper) chalcedony background.
Moss agate can occur in a variety of colours including green, red, yellow, orange, black and white. The moss inclusions are created by different mineral impurities such as manganese, chlorite, or iron oxides,
Mottled stones have an irregularly marked or blotchy appearance. It can come in a wide array of colours including red, green, brown, yellow, orange and gray.
An orbicular style is usually Jasper and when cut and polished properly can show a range of dots and eyes of varying colours and sizes. The smallest can look like freckles or a spray of paint dots. The largest can look like eyes with an iris and pupils. This Jasper can also display overlapping rings.
Picture or scenic crystals are some of the most popular gem materials. Picture crystals occur in a large array of colours and patterns that resemble skies, mountain vistas, desert landscapes, hills and valleys and forest horizons. Colours include warm tones of tan, gold, yellow, blue, green, and browns all swirled together in a strikingly outlined picturesque scenes.
Plume is a vein or nodular stone that displays graceful, three dimensional, feather or plume like inclusions on a clear chalcedony background. The plume patterns may consist of only one single plume or a small grouping of plumes. The plumes must be distinctive, individual plumes similar to ostrich feathers. Plumes can appear in a variety of colours and may have sub-metallic lustre due to the minerals such as pyrolusite, goethite, or manganese.