Agates, a variety of the mineral quartz, are hard to beat in terms of richness of variety and astonishing diversity of colour. There are countless different varieties and fascinating finds all over the world. Agates are quartz crystals that form in volcanic rock millions of years old and grow there in layers. The colourfulness of the crystalline layers and their transitions allow jewellery creators to play with their imagination. Finely cut stones and cross-sections have amazed jewellers for generations in ancient jewellery making. Above all, amulets and arm jewellery were the first pieces of jewellery with agate. Later there were signet rings, pendants and brooches – a wide range of products. You can buy antique agate jewellery for ladies and for men at Antique Jewellery Berlin. Every single piece is definitely distinctive!
The colloquially grouped agates are microcrystalline quartz, which can be either monochrome or multicoloured. Gemologists actually only call the multicoloured stones “agates”, whereby these are also ultimately all subordinate to the single-coloured chalcedony. So is the relatively inconspicuous chalcedony the “super-agate”? Basically yes. It is interesting that the chalcedony has its name origin in Turkey, where it has been mined continuously since antiquity. The name “agate”, however, is derived from the river “Achates” in Sicily, where it was first found in large quantities. Once you open the book of agate varieties, you quickly realise how complicated it is to see through the order of agates. One should not be bothered by this – on the contrary. After all, it is always the somewhat inscrutable themes that are so interesting (perhaps precisely for that reason). Everybody has had something to do with agates at one time or another. Even if it’s only about beautiful decorative objects, stones that flatter the eyes and hands from the art or Christmas market. In the wellness area of the holiday hotel, in caves, thermal baths, etc., agate stones are exhibited and encountered. Sometimes large, cut-open stones with the most iridescent crystals inside are set up to magically attract the eye. These small natural wonders are called druses. They are the best place to admire a multi-coloured gemstone that has grown in layers. Depending on the circumstances and the place where they are found, you will find carnelian (blood agate), sardonyx, fire agate, moss agate, apricot agate and many more. All these stones are subordinate to chalcedony, which in turn is monochrome (but very attractive) in grey-white to bluish colouring. Most stones are milky translucent, which gives them a desirable shimmer when backlit. It creates the popular effect like moonstone and sometimes opal. Chalcedony is often seen in antique jewellery on earrings and necklaces. In necklaces, the gemstones are usually cut in the shape of jewellery beads and strung together.
Scottish agate jewellery was very popular in the Victorian era: Pebbles Jewellery. Exquisitely beautiful agate stones were predominantly set in silver. The sterling silver settings are small masterpieces in themselves. Engraved by hand and very finely crafted, they have been providing a firm hold for perfectly cut gemstones for generations. Whether as brooches, bracelets, earrings or necklaces: “Pebbles” is agate jewellery of raw beauty, paired with amazing filigree details. Agates have been celebrated, their naturally grown layers impressively and full of respect staged. We distinguish mainly between two varieties: grey agate and colourful layered stones, such as sardonyx and carnelians. The grey agate also shows layered structures, but keeps a low profile. It is usually mounted in the more elaborate silver settings. The alternately arranged, coloured gemstones, on the other hand, were left to speak for themselves. This is where we can present particularly beautiful arm jewellery in our assortment. These colourful bracelets often have a padlock as a clasp. This “padlock” is of course also forged from silver, usually engraved on the front and with a cut agate on the back. Incomparable!
A blessing for the male world are the signet rings with agate. These masculine pieces of jewellery were designed from the second half of the 19th century onwards. Of course, such rings also existed earlier. But wearing them was usually reserved for secular and clerical leaders. A men’s ring with a carnelian plate, with a blood jasper or with a lapis lazuli signet developed into a common fashion accessory. It has long been impossible to imagine the jewellery world without signet rings. Nowadays, they are no longer just pieces of jewellery for men. Modern women are also succumbing more and more to the elegance of a signet ring. Everyone can choose their favourite agate: orange-red carnelian (also carnelian) and apple-green chrysoprase are translucent stones. They are much darker when worn on the finger than when laid down on the table. They are exceptionally well suited for engraving initials or the family crest. Heliotrope (colloquially: blood jasper) has a completely different character and is one of the most popular varieties of chalcedony. It is opaque and has red speckles in its rock that sparkle fascinatingly, especially in sunlight. No two blood jaspers are alike – the red speckled, polished surfaces of the natural stones have great show value. Blood jaspers are rarely engraved, however. Instead, black coloured chalcedony is usually used for engravings. These are preferred to natural onyx for signet rings when engraving is planned. Since natural black onyx is a rare and very costly gemstone, the colouring of chalcedony was and is a common procedure. Due to their chemical properties, agates are generally easy to colour. However, it is generally limited to blue and black. Such stones are, as I said, ideally suited for an intaglio / personal engraving! Which stone do you prefer?
As so-called “protective and healing stones”, blue and green agate are said to have important properties and healing effects: blue agate is said to protect against bad influences and even keep all evil away from you; just a few mm of the gemstone are said to be enough for this. Green agate, on the other hand, is said to have an emotionally stabilising effect. Both gemstones harmonise particularly well and are often set in 925 silver. They are often found as a necklace in the form of a ball or as cut agate discs.
Fire agate as a gemstone, on the other hand, is said to have a balancing effect. It is said to have a balancing effect on the mind and to promote optimism and energy. Its beautiful reddish colour makes it a real eye-catcher and enhances any outfit.
The beautiful, green moss agate is said to dissolve old patterns and enable the wearer to see things from a new perspective. The moss agate is a stone with thousands of years of tradition and will also inspire you. It is set and processed in the form of agate beads (often only a few mm to cm in size) as ear studs.
The white agate (also called peace agate) is said to give warmth and tolerance towards other people. The ancient Egyptians used white agate for jewellery as early as 1000 BC, so this stone has a particularly long tradition in antique jewellery and is predominantly set in 925 silver…. When strung into a necklace, it is broadly reminiscent of pearls, but when looked at closely, the elegance of white agate becomes apparent.
People who love antique jewellery have a distinct taste and precise ideas about life. They live and enjoy consciously and sustainably. A high appreciation of nature and its finite resources is deeply rooted. Moreover, we very often recognise together that the arts and designs of past eras have long since fulfilled the needs of the modern world. Continuing traditions and bringing beauty from the past into the future is a thoughtful process. Basically, this is much easier and more relaxed than frantically searching for something new that will be a real enrichment to the fast-paced world of the 21st century. Antique jewellery can do that with ease! Absolutely sustainable, style-conscious and timeless are the pieces of jewellery from past eras, especially from the time of origin before 1950. We have seen it many times: signet rings (without engraving!) are also often chosen as engagement rings, even as wedding rings. Because many of the antique signet rings for men were worn on the little finger, they are available in our assortment in relatively small ring sizes. This often tempts women to put the signet rings on their ring finger in our shop. The effect is sometimes amazing. Especially couples who live close to nature love agates with their great radiance. Not everyone has such an engagement ring – it is a personal privilege. Let this thought flow into your planning. Try on our antique agate jewellery in the shop. Or order it online, of course with complete security!
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