Monday, March 12, 2012

Rock Review: Fire Agate

Today’s rock review features Fire Agate.
Geology Buzz
Fire Agate is a very special type of Agate that is mostly brown, but contains a special iridescence in the spectrum of the rainbow. This effect is accomplished when layers of plate like crystals composed of iron oxide adhere together in differing planes. Light reflects back and forth on these various layers creating this rainbow effect through a process called interference, much like oil in water.
Since Fire Agate is a form of quartz, it registers a 7 on Moh’s scale of hardness, making it ideal for all types of jewelry, including rings and bracelets. Cutting Fire Agate is a challenging task for gem cutters, requiring a careful balance between removing enough layers ensure the stone is not dull to while leaving enough to enhance its iridescence. Often, the natural formation of the stone must dictate its final size and shape. This is why Fire Agate is rarely mass produced and most often found in specialty pieces.
Fun Facts
Fire Agate has been used in jewelry markets for only about 60 years. When it first entered the jewelry market, dealers had a hard time settling on a name for the gem. It was known as “opalescent agate”, “cinnamon opal” and “precious peacock stone”. However, it is important to note that it is not a true Opal and comes from the Quartz and Chalcedony family.
Gem quality Fire Agate is found almost exclusively in the American South West and also occasionally in Mexico, specifically in regions surrounding the Sonoran Desert and the Sierra Madre Mountains. This is likely due to volcanic activity that occurred more than 24 million years ago in the tertiary geologic period. Although no one knows for sure, Warren Jones claims to be the one to officially discover Fire Agate in 1941.
Fire Agate is thought to be a powerful stone of protection believed to relive fear, stop gossip, and deflect harmful intentions. It also can be helpful in promoting healthy lymph, circulatory and intestinal systems. It also can be useful in balancing energy.

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