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Quartz (variety: Chalcedony)

A whimsical collection of over 1,000 "picture" agates was gifted to the National Gem Collection in 2007. Chalcedony is the general name used for all fibrous-textured varieties of fine-grained quartz. Agate is probably the most familiar type of chalcedony and typically comes in shades of white, gray, yellowish-brown to reddish-brown. The colors are mostly caused by small crystals of iron and manganese oxide minerals in the chalcedony. These picture agates were found in the Indonesian provinces of Java and Sumatra. The agates are hand-cut en cabochon and polished to retain the natural patterns that resemble a wide variety of objects, such as letters of the alphabet, numbers, crosses, and other images such as fish, hearts, and Ying Yang symbols. The agates are natural and have not been treated, heated, or chemically enhanced.

Image Number: Ken Larsen
Gift of Mr. Klaus Moeller , 2007


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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Department of Mineral Sciences website Credits