Cliff's Gems and Bobbie's Things

Rockhounding - Fire Agate


Because of its abundance, durability, and beauty, chalcedony was, except for sticks, animal skins, bones, plain rocks, and possibly obsidian, the earliest raw material used by humankind. The earliest recorded use of chalcedony was for projectile points, knives, tools, and containers such as cups and bowls. Early man made weapons and tools from many varieties of chalcedony including agate, agatized coral, flint, jasper, and petrified wood.

The move from using certain items as weapons and tools, to using the same items for ceremonial and personal adornment is very easily made. It was only natural for early man to use his finest looking knife for special occasions or to attach a special lance point or arrowhead to his tunic. In fact, agate and petrified wood may have simply been elevated to gems from common and functional weapons or tools.

In 1993, U S. production of gem chalcedony was valued at about $1.9 million, according to the USBM. The production and use of U.S. chalcedony as a gemstone will continue to grow because the material is beautiful, abundant, durable, reasonably priced, and the variability is nearly unlimited.

All 50 States produce some variety of chalcedony, but the material from some States is better known than that from others.

For a list of the better states for rockhounding, click here.

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