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Agate is a fine-grained variety of quartz. It forms in layers of silica in the cavities of rocks. It is very hard, a 7 on the mohs scale. There are many varieties of agate, some of them very colorful. The different verieties get there names from the colors and patterns in the rock. The names of some of the agates actually describe their appearance, such as banded agate, moss agate and leopard skin agate.
Agate is the name given to a group of silicate minerals that are made up primarily of chalcedony. Chalcedony is a member of the quartz family of minerals. Like quartz chalcedony is silicone dioxide with a chemical formula of SiO2. The main difference between quartz and chalcedony is in the size of the individuals crystals. Chalcedony is termed microcrystaline meaning that individual crystals are too small to be seen by the naked eye.

Mineral Properties

Chemical formula: Silicone dioxide SiO2
Color(s): many colors and patterns
Streak: white
Luster: vitreous, glassy
Transparency: transparent to translucent
Crystal system: triagonal
Specific Gravity: 2.6
Hardness (Mohs): 7
Cleavage: none
Fracture: conchoidal
Uses: jewelry, bookends, wind chimes, and other decorative items.
Location: widespread occurance

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