Gemini’s children health and wealth command,
And all the ills of age withstand,
Who wear their rings on either hand—of Agate.


A variety of the gemstone chalcedony, agate is related to other chalcedonies, such as carnelian, onyx and chrysoprase. While agate may be dyed in any color of the rainbow, it naturally occurs in bands of red, white, blue, gray, brown or black.

How is agate formed?

Agate is formed in gas-bubble-shaped hollows of volcanic rocks. The agate forms in layers, coating the inner surface until the entire hollow is filled. The resulting agate is a round nodule with concentric bands like the rings of a tree trunk. The bands sometimes look like eyes, planets or layered landscapes. Translucent nuggets of agate are often found on beaches, tumble polished by the ocean.


Collectible Agate Bowls

Agate bowls and ornaments have long been a popular collectible. King Mithridates of Pontus, an ancient region near the Black Sea, held agate in high regard and collected nearly four thousand agate bowls. Also popular among European royalty during the Renaissance, many museums in Europe, including the Louvre, have wonderful collections of agate bowls and ornaments.

Idar-Oberstein: Gemstone Capital of the World

During the Renaissance, large deposits of agate were found in the Nahe River Valley near the city of Idar-Oberstein in Germany. The gemstone cutters of Idar-Oberstein, who used the Nahe River to power their grinding wheels, became known for their extraordinary workmanship and innovative technology. In the 19th century after the Nahe River agate deposits were exhausted, the region began cutting gemstones from all over the world. Today Idar-Oberstein is known as the Gemstone Capital of the World.

Karl Fabergé: Hand-Carved Figurine

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Orpheus and the Power of Persuasion

Orpheus, legendary Greek father of song and music, wrote a poem on the magic powers of gemstones called Lithica. In Lithica, Orpheus wrote how agate makes a person persuasive and agreeable:

Adorned with this, a woman's heart shall gain,
And by persuasion thy desire obtain;
And if of men thou aught demand, shall come
With all thy wish fulfilled rejoicing home.

In addition to making a person persuasive, agate is also thought to give one the power of god and to give victory and strength over one’s enemies.

Agate was thought to make a person more prudent and therefore useful for acquiring favor and riches.

A Protective Amulet

In ancient times, agate was highly valued as a protective amulet. Agate often formed in patterns that resembled the shape of an eye, and was therefore thought of as a talisman against the evil eye. Agate was thought to neutralize the power of the evil eye and to symbolize the power of a watchful guardian spirit.

Agate cured insomnia and ensured pleasant dreams. According to Islamic tradition, whoever wears an agate ring overnight “shall be protected by the power of God until dusk.”

In Persian traditions agate also cured scorpion stings and snake bites, quieted thunder, quenched thirst and protected against fever.

Dreaming of Agate

In Victorian times, dreaming of agate was thought to foretell a journey. Dreaming of moss agate foretold of an unsuccessful journey.


Birthstone, pre-1900: May and June
Birthstone, pre-1900, Arabic: June
Birthstone, pre-1900, Italian: May
Birthstone, pre-1900, Jewish: May
Birthstone, pre-1900, Polish: June
Birthstone, pre-1900, Roman: May
Birthstone, pre-1900, Russian: June

Who comes with summer to this earth,
And owes to June her hour of birth,
With ring of agate on her hand
Can health, wealth and long life command.

Thru the moss agate’s charm, the happy years
Ne’er see June’s golden sunshine turn to tears.

Anniversary, pre-1900: 12th
Anniversary, pre-1900: 14th (moss agate)

Angel: Ambriel

Planets: Venus and Mars

Zodiac: Gemini

Gemini’s children health and wealth command,
And all the ills of age withstand,
Who wear their rings on either hand—Of Agate.

US States:
Arizona: fire agate, official state mineral
Kentucky: agate, official state rock
Louisiana: agate, official state gemstone
Maryland: Patuxent River stone, official gemstone
Minnesota: Lake Superior agate, official gemstone
Montana: Montana agate, official state mineral
Nebraska: blue agate, official state mineral and prairie agate,
     official state rock
South Dakota: Fairburn agate, official gemstone
Tennessee: agate, official state stone

Canadian Province: Nova Scotia

Country: Denmark and Panama

See Also

ancient Roman owl with
banded agate eyes

Idar-Oberstein agate bowl

hand carved agate kangaroo
by Karl Fabergé

carved Chinese agate bottle

Laguna blue agate

bullseye agate

moss agate

Bull Canyon agate, close up

Sheep Creek agate, close up

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