Friday, November 19, 2010


Agate is, with a few exceptions, a banded chalcedony. What, exactly, does that all mean? Chalcedony is a cryptocrystalline quartz in aggregate form, which means that it is a mass of itty-bitty, teeny-tiny quartz crystals. Cryptocrystalline means that these crystals are so small that you need more than a mere optical microscope to see them. The banded bit should be self explanatory.

The ancients loved agate, and so do we. It comes in many colors and, in the hands of a skilled craftsman, can yield stunning objects.

The Ancients loved their carvings, especially intaglio and cameo pieces. A cameo happens when one carves through the colored layers of agate. Customarily, carvers choose a white top layer and a dark back layer. Shading can be achieved with careful use of layer thickness. This cameo is from an 8th century reliquary:

As a chalcedony, agates readily accept dye. Varying porosity can determine the saturation of color from band to band.

And now, some agates from our talented Starving Artists:

By alatvian:

Made by Angie:

A little something from ForYouDesigns:

To find out all the details about the SATeam Wrist Candy Holiday Giveaway 2010 check out this post. Remember, the deadline for entry is November 28th.

Featuring artisan handmade creations by the Etsy Starving Artists Jewelry team. SATeam members create handcrafted jewelry and beads. More information about our team and its current etsy shop owner members can be found


Ramona said...

Now I know a little more on Agates. Thank you! And love your selections, they're purty!

Cat said...

Interesting post and great pictures to go along!

mcstoneworks said...

Great, informative post, Andrea.

faeriiidust said...

That drinking horn is stunning. Great post Andrea!

BeadSire said...

Absolutely beautiful!