Gemstones – Plume Agate

My goodness I love this stone!!  But I only have a couple plume agates in my collection (not to worry, I do have all sorts  of other agates though!).

Agates are classified as chalcedony (which is slightly confusing because there are a bunch of other gemstones that are also chalcedony, including – chalcedony!!).  Agates are formed in holes that occurred (due to trapped gases) in ancient lava flows.  Minerals flow (well, flow is probably too energetic a word for what really happens!)  in to replace the gases.  It happens in such a way that you end up with the colors and patterns and distinctive banding (often parallel and concentric) that makes the rock agate.

One of my favourites (of many) is plume agate.  Plume agate is slightly different in that it has a translucent base with “plumes” of minerals in it.  The plumes are formed because the minerals deposit in different manner (than concentric lines).  The plumes can come in a variety of colors, most often black, brown, yellowish and reddish.  I like the way they seem to be floating in the translucent base.

Graveyard point plume agate
This is a Graveyard Point plume agate. You can see the plumes in it - black, brown, white, yellow.

The agate in the picture would have been found at the Graveyard Point area in Oregon.  There used to be a mine there for these agates but now it is up to rock hounds to find these agates.

Agates come from all over the world.  Apparently it was first discovered (and named) by a Greek philosopher by the Achates river (now called Dirillo) in Sicily.  Aside from jewellery, agates have been used for carvings, making mortar and pestle(s), and as other tools such as burnishers.

agate burnisher
I got ridiculously excited when I remembered I have an agate burnisher to show you!! This is used to help "finish" metal - ie. make it smooth and shiny!

The only other plume agate I have I’ve finally made into a piece of jewellery (after hoarding it for a LONG time!).

plume agate set in bezel
A close up of the plume agate. It looks like there are cracks in the stone, but it actually is the planes that the minerals formed as they deposited.
plume agate necklace
The whole necklace!

Well, we are off to Virginia tomorrow first thing, so I will see you in a week.  I’ll put up pictures of the other agates I have, maybe I’ll even remember to photograph my petrified wood!

Hope you are enjoying your fall!




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