Unique Mississippi Agates
I've been told that the agates I find in South Mississippi are Lake Superior Agates, but they look similar to many agates found all around the world (not just one location). I haven't found too many pictures that resemble the Mississippi agate and its unique, pebble shaped, bands, and crystal formations. I think they are one of a kind.
The Mississippi agate is a banded chalcedony that is infused with colors of creamy browns, blacks, grays, reds, pinks, whites, oranges, and occasionally green. Many of the agate bands are interspersed by quartz. Mississippi agates show many classic features: concentric banding; 'eyes' sliced through hemispherical formations; the ends of hollow tubes that formed around inclusions of other minerals; and areas of crystalline quartz. Most do not weigh more than a few ounces, except for the common “thunder egg” agate (geode like agate) that is common in Mississippi. The typical Mississippi agate ranges in all different shapes, but usually no larger than 2 to 3 inches in length. Some agates are a pebble shaped and some are flat. Some I call "turtle shells" because they are shaped like the shell of a turtle. One characteristic that is the same regarding all Mississippi agates is their beautiful distinctive banding which reminds me of the river frozen in time.
There is an extinct volcano located 2900 feet beneath the city of Jackson, Mississippi under the Mississippi Coliseum. Which leads me to believe Mississippi contains our own kind of “special” agates. This volcano is believed to have been extinct for at least 65 million years, but last erupted about 75 million years ago.
Agates are embedded in a volcanic cavities, then they are set free. Being by their siliceous nature they are extremely resistant to the action of air and water and remain as nodules in the soil and gravel or become rolled as pebbles in the streams. The agates are extremely resistant to weathering and remain as nodules in the soil or are deposited as gravel in streams and shorelines.
Agates are considered to be semi-precious stones and have a hardness of around 7 to 7.5.
History & Myth
Agate comes from the Greek word "Agateeq" which means happy. Agate is one of the oldest stones in recorded history, and no two agates are alike.
The agate is the known to be the mystical birthstone for September. It is also the birth stone for the Zodiac sign of Gemini. Agates are said to be particularly beneficial to people born under the sign of Gemini as it helps them to remain calm and focused. Agates are the accepted gemstone for the 12th and 14th wedding anniversaries.
The agate is believed to discern truth and is a powerful emotional healer. Legend says that the agate improves memory and concentration, increases stamina, and encourages honesty. It is believed to prevent insomnia, insure pleasant dreams, enhance personal courage, and protect one against danger. The agate provides a calming influence, improves perception, and helps to develop and increase one's analytical talents. Legends mention the power of agates to secure the wearer from danger and to protect children from falling. They were believed to endow their owners with strength, courage, security and even healing of fears. The agate aids in making new friends, promotes peace, gardens, money, personal goals, business success, and stability.
The Sumerians are believed to be the first users of agates in seals, beads, and jewelry. The agate is believed to have been discovered by the Stone Age man in France 20,000-16,000 B.C, but scientists believe that some agates in Australia range from 2.72 to 3.50 billion years old!
Agates were highly valued by ancient civilizations, as it was believed to render the wearer invisible. In Islam culture, the agate is believed to protect the wearer from tragedies or evil. In many legends the agate is believed to cure the stings of scorpions and the bites of snakes, soothe the mind, quiet thunder and lightning, secure the favor of the powerful, and bring victory over enemies. The Babylonians used eye agates for protection against evil. The ancient Egyptians believed that agates protected the wearer from lightning, bestowed the power of speech, and quenched thirst if you put it in your mouth. Persian magicians used agates to divert storms. In Greece, the power of the agate was considered so strong that Orpheus is depicted as carrying an agate on his descent into Hades. Ancient Chinese believe wearing agate jewelry would purify one's mind, energize one's chi and bring good luck and great opportunity. The practice in medieval times was to tie them to the horns of your oxen to ensure a good harvest. Agate bowls were also popular in the Byzantine Empire and collecting them became common among European royalty during the Renaissance. Today many museums in Europe have spectacular examples on display. The Persians, the Arabs, and other Oriental people principally used agates for finger rings. Upon these, usually was a carved verse from the Koran, the owner's name, or some magical or symbolic figure to protect the owner from a wide variety of calamities.
The Agate Is Mentioned in the Bible
“And thou shalt make the breastplate of judgment with cunning work; after the work of the ephod thou shalt make it; of gold, of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine twined linen, shalt thou make it. Foursquare it shall be being doubled; a span shall be the length thereof, and a span shall be the breadth thereof. And thou shalt set in it settings of stones, even four rows of stones: the first row shall be a sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle: this shall be the first row. And the second row shall be an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond. And the third row a ligure, an agate, and an amethyst. And the fourth row a beryl, and an onyx, and a jasper: they shall be set in gold in their enclosing.”
Exodus 28: 15-21
"O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not confirmed, behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colors, and lay thy foundations with sapphires. And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones."
Rev 21:19 ESV & Isaiah 54:12 American KJV
Fulgurite is the name given to quartz which has been fused by the action of lightning striking the Earth and locally melting the sand. Fulgurite is Latin for "lightning stone." Sometimes fulgurites are referred to as petrified lightning. Their color varies depending on the composition of the sand they formed in, ranging from black or tan to green or a translucent white. The interior is normally very smooth or lined with fine bubbles; the exterior is generally coated with rough sand particles and is porous.
The fulgurites I have found came from a gravel pit in Hattiesburg, MS, and I have yet to find any other pictures of fulgurites that exposes the interior of the fulgurite like these do.
© 2010 Karli Duran