Gemologists have a not-so-inside joke--If you don't know what it is-- call it agate. The truth is agate has been used for centuries in personal adornment and decor owing to its availability worldwide and its broad array of color combinations. For those taking notes, this colorful semi-precious stone is a quartz variety.
A popular use of agate in jewelry is chalcedony, and moss agate.
Classic cameo carvers often select shell or agate as their canvas for creating captivating carvings--because shell and banded agate are multi-layered and those different color layers allow the artist to create a sense of depth to the carvings. This has made the plentiful agate a first choice with many carvers. Unlike shells which are small--an agate carving is only limited in size to the piece of rough stone the artist selects.
At the upcoming InterGem Fair 2009 in Idar-Oberstein--the world center for classic gemstone carving--the largest carved agate plate known to exist measuring 49 x 36 cm or 19.29 x 14.17 inches will be presented by master gemstone engraver- artists Dieter and Andreas Roth. This plate tells the story of the Birth of Venus, and is modeled after the 19th century painting of Venus by William-Adolphe Bouguereau.
Photo Courtesy: Andreas Roth: http://www.roth-cameo.com/