Agate is a form of chalcedony and is part of the microcrystalline quartz family. This elegant stone takes its name from the Achates river in Sicily, today called Dirillo.
Agates are formed in the cavities of volcanic rocks in the form of round or almond shaped deposits. The typical streaks of agate are due to the oxidation of manganese, iron and other minerals.
Beyond the technical characteristics, we know for sure that agate is a beautiful and elegant gem , characterized by great hardness, and has been much desired since ancient times: in the East it was used as early as 3000 BC both for the production of ornaments and for the production of vases.
In Ancient Rome, however, their value was enhanced by making cameos and seals - the agates were worked using a particular cutting technique, thanks to which drawings and figures could be engraved there.
Agate is even mentioned in the Bible : it is one of the gems of Aaron's breastplate, while sardonyx, a variety of agate, is part of the twelve stones that made up the foundations of the wall of Jerusalem.
In the Middle Ages, agate was invested with positive powers: it was customary, in fact, to tie an agate to the horns of oxen so that it would spread its beneficial effects on the future harvest.