Agate is a striped chalcedony quartz that forms in layers and in a wide variety of colors and textures. An individual agate forms by filling a cavity in a "host" rock. As a result, agate often is found as a round nodule, with concentric bands. In ancient times it was said to quench thirst and guard against fever, and agate bowls were very popular in historical Europe.
The relatively abundant mineral smoky quartz ranges in color from almost black to nearly colorless. Gem quality specimens are mined from the Swiss Alps and from Pike's Peak in Colorado. Dark smoky quartz is sometimes heat-treated to give it a lighter color which appears more brilliant when cut.
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