Blue Striped Onyx Agate
|Agate and onyx are two different names given to varieties of chalcedony. Blue agate is found in nature, but is often dyed as well. Its appearance can vary from barely bluish-white to nearly cobalt. It can be banded, or appear uniformly milky. Blue agate is almost always cut “en cabochon”, meaning with a smooth polish. Faceting is uncommon, as the translucent to opaque material doesn’t play light through facets like clear stones.
Mining: Agate mines are found almost everywhere in the world. But some of the more important mines are found in USA, Russia, Europe and Canada.
|Historical and cultural references: It has a long history of use for hardstone carving and jewelry, where it is usually cut as a cabochon or into beads. It has also been used for intaglio and hardstone cameo engraved gems, where the bands make the image contrast with the ground. Some onyx is natural but much of the material in commerce is produced by the staining of agate.
Onyx was used in Egypt as early as the Second Dynasty to make bowls and other pottery items. Use of sardonyx appears in the art of Minoan Crete, notably from the archaeological recoveries at Knossos.
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