Agate is a semi-precious stone, a layered variety of chalcedony. It is very decorative due to its multi-colored striped structure and is a valuable raw material for jewelry and ornamental purposes. Healing and magical properties have long been attributed to the stone. Natural agates are most often gray and blue, but other shades are also found. The stone is often dyed to obtain a brighter color and clear pattern, and is also imitated from glass or plastic. Therefore, the ability to determine the authenticity of agate can be helpful.
Colored agates appeared in ancient times: the stones were kept in honey, and then calcined in an oven. Nowadays, various chemical compounds are used for coloring, far from being as harmless as honey. Iron nitrate gives agate a rich red color, hydrochloric acid - yellow, chromium salts - green, potassium ferrocyanide and iron vitriol - shades of blue. It is unlikely that after such aggressive processing, agate will retain its healing and magical properties. Therefore, when buying agate, pay attention to the color. If it is too bright, acidic, and the layers are too contrasting, then the stone is painted artificially. It is better to refrain from buying.
Agate counterfeits are often made from glass and plastic. Glass with the addition of dyes with a certain method of cutting is difficult to distinguish from natural agate. Imitations of a stone made of plastic are made even at home from multi-colored translucent polymer clay. It is molded, cut, baked in the oven and ground. A little experience and imagination - and you can recreate both the inner crystal structure of agate and the multi-colored layers. To recognize counterfeits made of glass or plastic, squeeze them in your hand. They will heat up quickly, while the natural stone must remain cold.
On sale very often there are imitations of black agate from pressed stone chips. It is believed that the magical properties of black agate are unusually strong; it gives the owner strength, fortitude and power over evil. It is easy to guess that pressed and painted stone chips do not have these properties. When purchasing beads, bracelets or rosary made of black agate, keep in mind that natural stone is always layered and there is no uniform color. Stripes of different shades of black can be combined with white, gray, red. Try to scratch with the needle at the hole of the bead. Pressed agate is brittle, it will crumble and chip.