Fire agate is a gemstone of the quartz family, which is a naturally occurring mineral found in the earth. It is most commonly mined in parts of Mexico and the southwestern United States (California and Arizona to be precise). What sets this gemstone apart from other types of agate or quartz is the way it emits rainbow-like color when exposed to light or at various angles. It seems to have a fiery effect, a quality that gives it the name of fire agate. When purchasing fire agate as part of your gemstone jewelry collection, there are certain characteristics that you should seek out. For obtaining a desirable stone, here's what to look for:
1. Look at the Color: To distinguish genuine fire agate from a simulated version, look at the color. It should be a rich almost chocolaty brown. When held to to light, you should notice various incandescent colors, such as green, gold, red and violet. This is a characteristic of high grade fire agate.
For a closer examination of the fire agate stone, take a flashlight and have a close look. You should see flashes of color, emitting a fiery glow.
2. Check for Translucency: A quality fire agate stone will be translucent. You should be able to see the light pass through the stone, although it should not be totally transparent. Although you may find naturally occurring fire agate that is opaque, it is generally not as desirable as the more translucent varieties.
3. Note Whether It Is Clear or Cloudy: As with any natural gemstone, clarity plays a key role in the quality and desirability. It should show minimal signs of flaws. Although it is commonly textured rather than being smooth, the genuine fire agate should also emit a lustrous quality, especially after being polished. Some appear to be slightly waxy in nature, and this is a natural quality of the stone.
4. Consider the Weight: Your quality high grade fire agate will not seem very heavy. In fact, it should feel relatively light in your hand, similar to a natural opal.
5. Look for a Hard Stone: Genuine fire agates are sturdy and durable, making them highly resistant to scratches and abrasions. A genuine fire agate should rate anywhere from 6.5-7 on the mohs scale of hardness. The mohs hardness scale is how gemologists will determine the hardness of a mineral.
If you have any concerns or further inquiries, contact a local jeweler, like Studio Rock Shop, or gemologist that deals in rare stones.
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