Fire Agate. The very name defines one of the most unique members of the gemstone world found only in the US states of Arizona and California, and in Mexico. This very rare member of the quartz family provides a unique beauty caused by a very unusual combination of geological events. As seen at left and below, fire agate forms as nodules in pockets or void spaces in rhyolite lava flows, according to ISG member and fire agate expert, Ryszard Krukowski of Fire Agate Art Studio. The combination of silica and specific impurities allow the nodules to form in hydrothermal pockets inside the rock. This results in the fire agate nodules forming under a cap layer of milky or clear chalcedony that protects the formation.
The brown color hue of fire agate is due to a high content of iron. Most stones of lesser value will lack the beautiful peacock colors as you will see here.
According to Krukowski, who is considered the world expert on fire agate, the quality factors of fire agate are as follows:
Since fire agate is so unique in formation, every stone offers its own unique combination of colors and beauty. Cutting fire agate requires experience and knowledge about the stone and its optical properties. Below are a few examples from the ISG collection. They represent a cross section of qualities that you can review for your future purchases.
At left you see a fire agate of dominant red colors with little rainbow or peacock coloring. This is a beautiful stone for earth tone jewelry that is very affordable. With the hardness and tenacity of quartz the fire agate is a very long wearing and durable gemstone that is very affordable.
Here at left you see a fire agate of medium quality based on our overview. You can see the rainbow coloring in the stone that represents a medium range fire agate. This is a one-of-a-kind gemstone you are seeing that has no equal anywhere in the world. And most important, the fire agates cannot be lab created and cannot be treated due to the formation structure. So, every fire agate will be natural and untreated.
Here is beautiful example of the rainbow colors to be found in a higher quality fire agate.
And finally, Fire Agate at its finest after the artistic craft of Ryszard Krukowski has been applied to bring out the beauty. Truly a rare and unique gemstone.
When Ryszard Krukowski first sent me images of his fire agate my first thought was: “….yeah, Buddy, I have Photoshop too”. But when I saw these in person a few years ago at the Fire Agate Art Studio at the Pueblo Gem Show at Tucson, I realized that these are exactly as you see in the image above. These stones are actually difficult to photograph because of the enormous variety of colors and optical directions of light refraction that takes place inside. Just astounding beauty from an astounding gemstone…based on the artistic talent of an amazing gemstone cutter and expert.
Perhaps the most fun with fire agate is the amazing combination of colors and structures you can find in one stone in higher magnification. The images you see at left and below are all from specimens obtained from Fire Agate Art Studio, hand-picked for us by Ryszard Krukowski in Tucson. Exceptional beauty that makes being in this gemstone business fun. Images at left and below are under 90x magnification with our Meiji Techno microscope.
At the Tucson Gem Show we always meet some wonderful folks from Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Colombia, Brazil, the United States, and many others who are starting to reach out to the world gemstone markets direct. The purpose is to provide the world markets with direct access to the gemstone sources and raise the standard of ethics and fair dealing for the entire gemstone industry. Today we recognize the work of Ryszard Krukowski and the outstanding work of Fire Agate Art Studio. A Registered Gem Dealer of the ISG that we are proud to feature in this edition. Look for more in the coming weeks and months as the ISG continues our efforts of:
Spreading the Love of Gemstones Around the World™.
Some of the information in this edition of our educational series came from the brochure: How to Appraiser Appreciate Fire Agate by Ryszard Krukowski. To obtain a copy click the link. Or visit their website to learn more about this amazing gemstone and the wonderful family who produce the finest quality: Fire Agate Art Studio.