Shep – Hello everyone. Thank you for joining us here at Turquoise Skies for another episode of Rock Talks with Jessyca Ruth. Today we are going to talk about agate.
S – So what do we have here today Jessyca?
JR – We have several different types of agate that are all found locally here in New Mexico. We have some different types, different colors but they are all indeed agate.
What I have here is a different found in Mexico and that is just for comparison. It’s called “Crazy Lace” and it actually, when you get it wet, this is not a polished piece, is pretty impressive.
S – Where is agate found? I know we have some here in New Mexico but…?
JR – So it’s primarily found in volcanic flows, which we have a lot of. Those volcanic flows happen and leave pockets, and those pockets absorb the ashes from the flows and micro compress to these different types of things. So they’re found basically all over the state.
S – Everything is local?
JR – Everything else is local. It is all found here. So we have several different types. This one is found near Soccorro. It’s harder compressed and closer related to opal, but it gives you a nice thick finish.
S – So what is agate?
JR – Agate is a micro crystalline so it actually teeny tiny quartz that has been compressed. It’s a mineral found because basically the volcanic activity we have here.
S – There are volcanos in New Mexico?
JR – There are lots of volcanos in New Mexico. There are actually more volcanos in New Mexico than anywhere else in the United States.
S – Wow I didn’t know that.
JR – Yeah, we have over 60! So we have a lot of volcanos.
S – Are they hard to work with (stones)? I’ve seen jewelry with agate in it before so it’s a nice hard stone.
JR- It is a very hard stone actually. It borders on a 7 on the Mohs scale. The Mohs scale goes up to a 10. Diamond is 10. So I actually use a diamond wheel to cut it.
S – That would be cool to do another whole video about wheels.
JR – Yes! There are so many different kinds. So I actually start with an 80 grit on agate, which I one of the toughest grits you can use.
S – If you’re interested in seeing another video about wheels, let us know in the comment section below. We’d be happy to do another video for you.
S – So there are a lot of beautiful colors here. What is it that makes theses colors in the pieces?
JR – So the colors are absorbed through mineralization. Mineralization happens when the volcanic ash being compressed it starts to absorb the minerals around it. So if there’s iron nearby you get red. If it’s just kind of a pure ash, which is no carbon you get clear colors.
S – Okay. This almost looks like ash from a volcano.
JR – Yes it does. There’s no real way to know if that’s ash. It could be plant matter.
S – Is it still the organic matter? The plant matter? Is it still agate? Or is it more of a matrix?
JR – It does turn into agate. It’s all part of it. You can see that as you polish it, it polishes all the same. It doesn’t separate from the stone.
S – Is that because it becomes so compressed?
JR – Yeah the micro compression. Actually when you split it, the quartz is so fine that you can hardly see it with a microscope.
S – Thank you for your time today talking about agate. If you have any questions about agate we’ll do our best to answer any questions. If you have any questions about anything, please start the conversation. Join us next week when we will be talking about what?
JR – Obsidian, which is volcanic glass.
S/JR – Thank you!!!