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Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Ubiquitous Agate

I recently spent the week in French Lick, Indiana.  There's not much to do there in the winter, but one of the highlights of my trip was visiting Hinshaw Rocks and Gems.  Apparently the Lapidary Journal named them "one of the top ten stone polishers in the nation."  I went looking for cabochons and I found plenty.  I ended up buying some irregular shaped machine polished cabs rather than the perfectly shaped, hand polished cabs.  

My stash includes picture jasper, beach jasper, petrified wood, Ohio flint, feldspar, moss opal, rhyolite, unakite, youngite, marl and tiger iron.  And that is only about half of them.  The other half are all agates.  There are so many kinds.  Some are named for where they come from: Mexican, Brazilian, Kentucky and a gorgeous Medicine Bow Plume agate.  Others are apparently named for their looks:  moss, red moss, holly blue, zebra and crazy lace.   Here is a picture of my crazy lace agate cabs.

There are so many different kinds of agates that I was inspired to do my monthly JCUIN (Jewelry Creators Unite In Numbers) collection of handmade jewelry on agates.  I named it The Ubiquitous Agate.  So here is a little eye candy from that collection.

Plume Agate Pendant, Red On Blue, Silver Wire Weave Gallery Men Women
Plume Agate Pendant, Boho Wire Wrapped
First up is our friend Margaret, from Boho Wire Wrapped.  Margaret lost her battle with cancer a couple weeks ago.  Her family has her shop open for now to sell her inventory.  At left is a stunning blue plume agate and sterling silver pendant.  Time is running out to own a piece by this talented artisan.  She will be greatly missed on Artfire.

"Selene" - Titanium-Coated Drusy Agate Necklace
Drusy Agate Necklace by Adora by Simona
This necklace, called "Selene", is made by Simona of Adora by Simona.  It features a pendant with a titanium coated drusy agate along with a smoky topaz, light peridot and golden citrine.  A druzy or druse (pronounced drew-zee) means that the stone has little crystals on it.  In this case the agate has a titanium coating that gives it a metallic look.  The metal is sterling silver.

Handmade Necklace Blue Lace Agate Pearls Beaded Jewelry OOAK Summer
Earth and Sky necklace by Shadow Dog Designs
This necklace features blue lace agate.  When you think of blue lace agate, you normally think of the blue portion of these stones with the lacy darker blue veining.  The brown in these definitely adds interest to the stones, and inspired the artist, Catherine of Shadow Dog Designs, to name it "Earth and Sky".  A very appropriate name in my opinion.

Wire Wrapped Druzy Pendant
Blue & Black Druzy Pendant, Jewelry by BeaJae
I'm not sure what kind of agate this is, but it's also a druzy.  I find it interesting for a couple of reasons.  First is the different colors of banding that you can plainly see.  Less obvious is the vug, or little pit that you can see on on the right, slightly below the center of the picture.  There are several ways a cavity can form in a rock, and they often have little crystals in them.  You can see that this one has some crystals on the surface, and there may be some in the vug also.  (I just learned about vugs during my visit to Hinshaw Rock and Gems!)  This pendant is by Jewelry by BeaJae and is wire wrapped in copper.

Crazy Lace Agate and Sterling Silver Ring, Size 6-1/4 r625czlc2158
Crazy Lace Agate Ring, Lunar Skies
I am a huge fan of Quentin of Lunar Skies.  This handmade, sterling silver ring features a crazy lace agate.  Just one more example of the variety of colors and patterns that you can find in agates.  The granulated silver balls on the side are a nice compliment to the circular patterns in the agate itself.  Quentin also cuts his own stones!

Brazilian Agate Sterling Silver Wrapped Pendant
Brazilian Agate Pendant, Wagoner Wire Works

This sterling silver wire wrapped pendant is by Wagoner Wire Works.  The focal is a Brazilian agate.  This one happens to be blue, because they come in other colors also, and it looks similar to a blue lace agate.  It is accented with two little leaves made of silver wire and a little glass Swarovski pearl.

Pagoda Earrings Black Agate Fine Silver Sterling Ear Wire Handmade
Black Agate Pagoda Earring, Shanghai Tai

Lastly, here is another color of agate, black agate.  These fine silver pagoda earrings with black agate beads are my own design.   They are made from silver metal clay.  They also have non-slip, Argentium sterling silver twist ear wires.  You can find them in my shop, Shanghai Tai.  

I hope you enjoyed this tiny sampling of the many faces of the ubiquitous agate!


  1. Mesmerizing to an agate fancier like me. Thanks for one more display of really special agate forms used by very talented artisans.

  2. Agates rank right up there with jaspers as far as one of my favorite stones to design with, because of their amazing colors and patterns. You highlighted some beauties, Roxanne. Thank you for including my unique blu lace agate (: Will share everywhere.

  3. These are absolutely beautiful examples of many types of agates. Each stone is unique and the jewelry designers simply add to their beauty. I especially like the blue Brazilian agate pendant.

  4. I think I could study these beauties for hours, Roxanne. Thank you so much for sharing them! I really need to get up to our lapidary shop and learn how to work with beautiful stones. =)

  5. Those agates are beautiful! I have actually been to French Lick , Indiana. Many years ago! LOL


    Stopping by from Blogger's Guild

  6. It's amazing how many different forms agate can take. You picked out some stunning pieces!

  7. It must've been a fun trip to get some gemstones for a jewelry maker like you. Beautiful agates that I do not much have knowledge for but those certainly beautiful jewelries you're featuring.

  8. An interesting post about agates. You must have had fun going on your trip and picking out those pretty stones. Also, loved that you added Margaret's beautiful necklace.

  9. Everything is so beautiful. I love the variety of agates shown.

  10. One of my favorite is agates, beautiful selection.