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Natural Agate Beads
With a Mohs hardness of 7, Agate beads are very durable stone beads that can be polished to a high shine. These beads have been worn and admired by people for thousands of years, and archaeologists have discovered Agate beads that date back to around the 4th century BC. These beads are formed from quartz or silica that has been built up in layers over time, showcasing different bands of color. Agate is in fact a type of chalcedony, a microcrystalline variety of quartz. This gemstone’s association is with volcanic and metamorphic rocks; over 3,000 years ago, a large number of colorful Agate varieties were found in the Achates River in Sicily. Owing to the stone's wonderful color variety and varying patterns, plus it's inexpensive cost, Agate gemstone beads can be used in jewelry that is eye-catching and appealing.

Available in a wide range of colors and levels of translucency, a huge variety of different jewelry looks can be created. Agate beads have been used for adornment since ancient times and today new patterns have been unearthed, such as moss Agate beads and lovely Botswana Agate beads. Moss Agate beads are translucent to white in color, exhibiting fantastic tendrils of moss-like patterning. In the 1950s moss Agate was discovered in California and many gem-cutters made beautiful cabochons from the stone during this period. Beautiful rings, bola ties broaches and pendants were very popular jewelry items created by American stone cutters during this era. Today many lovely Agate stones can still be found in various regions of California but most Agate available for sale is expertly cut in China.

Agate beads are very durable thanks to their hardness on the Mohs scale. Being very tough stones, beads made from the material can easily last for centuries. Some ancient Agate beads have been found in the middle east and India, with archaeological testing showing that the beads are thousands of years old. Incredibly, the ancient beads are virtually identical to some of the beads still produced today, and in side-by-side comparisons the casual observer would be hard-press to tell the ancient beads from the new ones.

Another interesting Agate type can be found in Fire Agate beads. Unique to the southwestern USA and  northern Mexico, Fire Agate was formed millions of years ago under volcanic conditions by a combination of silica and iron oxide that was deposited slowly within cracks and crevices of volcanic rock. These amazing stones have a beautiful iridescent play of color which includes the full spectrum. The result is very similar to opal but generally red orange hues dominate in fire Agate, while other kinds of opal are memorable for their wonderful greens and blues. Fire Agate stone is harder than other forms of opal as it doesn't contain a small percentage of water, which results in a softer stone in the other varieties. The Mexican-sourced agate displays brilliant fire and is very tricky to cut well to retain the wonderful iridescence. Stones that display intense fire are the highest quality stones but a wide range of textures and patterns can be found in less expensive Fire Agate Beads.

Today many kinds of Agate is also available as faceted stones. These stones are especially beautiful because the inherent hardness of the rock allows for sharp facet angles and a high polish on the finished items. Fantastic faceted styles are available in Iolite, Chrysocolla, Onyx and Aventurine beads – just to name a few. Other lovely forms of Agate include Dendritic, Riband, Montana, lace, and tree Agate. Of the different type of varieties available today, Montana Agate is highly demanded in jewelry, especially when it is displayed in well-cut stones that have wonderful unique patterns. Plume Agate is another lovely variety which is liked by many people today. Fortunately, House of Gems offers Agate beads for wholesale prices and a wonderful range of bead types and sizes is available for all of your jewelry projects.


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