Definition for AG'ATE

AG'ATE, n. [Fr. agate; L. achates, gagates; Gr. γαγατης; so called, says Pliny, 37, 10, because found near a river of that name in Sicily. So also Solinus and Isidore. But Bochart, with more probability, deduces it from the Punic and Heb. עקד, and with a different prefix Heb. נקד, nakad, spotted. The word is used, Gen. xxx. and xxxi., to describe the speckled and spotted cattle of Laban and Jacob.]

A class; of silicious, semi-pellucid gems of many varieties, consisting of quartz-crystal, flint, horn-stone, chalcedony, amethyst, jasper, cornelian, heliotrope, and jade, in various combinations, variegated with dots, zones, filaments, ramifications, arborizations, and various figures. Agates seem to have been formed by successive layers of silicious earth, on the sides of cavities which they now fill entirely or in part: They are esteemed the least valuable of the precious stones. Even in Pliny's time, they were in little estimation. They are found in rocks, in the form of fragments, in nodules, in small rounded lumps, rarely in stalactites. Their colors are various. They are used for rings, seals, cups, beads, boxes, and handles of small utensils. – Kirwan. Encyc. Cleaveland.

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