From the Mine to the finished Product - The Artisan Process
Brazilian agate is found as sizable geodes of layered nodules. These occur in brownish tones inter-layered with white and gray. Quartz forms within these nodules, creating a striking specimen when cut opposite the layered growth axis. It is often dyed in various colors for ornamental purposes.
The agate stones used by Agathas International are mostly mined in the central part of the state of Rio Grande do Sul, in South Brazil. They are found anywhere from 5 to 20 meters below the surface in this specific region of South Brazil.
Mining agates is a similar process used to mine other gemstones. No explosives are used as the stones would crack open with the explosion. These mining sites are approved by the federal agency (IBAMA) and once they finished mining the site, the claim owner needs to cover it up and reforest the area.
From the mine the agate stones are sorted. Larger agate are rare and cost a lot more for that reason.
Every piece of art produced by our artisans goes through a very labor-intensive process that goes through the hands of many people before it arrives in your home or business.
Once the stones are selected based on size they are first cut with a special diamond saw that requires a long time to cut one single slice. Remember: we don’t know what we will find until a stone is cut open and reveals millions of years of beauty in the making. And that is a fascinating experience every single time!!!
The Cutting Process
Special machines with large diamond blades are required to slice an agate stone. On the large ones, one cut may take around 30 minutes! These machines are noisy and use oil, a lot of oil to keep the cutting area cool enough for a long period of time. It’s quite impressive to watch these guys working their step of the process with such devotion. They are the first ones to see what’s inside an agate stone, and they are impressed by their beauty every single time.
See video here:
Once the stone is cut in slices the next steps is to sand each slice to make the surface smoother and bring out the shine. This step is no piece of cake either. It requires a rotating sanding sheet that when in contact with the stone sparks flares underneath the slice. Very tough. Once again, the artisan process is laborious and serious. Only the hands of an expert can make the beauty of each agate slice stand out.
The polishing step will further highlight the shininess of the piece. Very often only one side of the slice is polished. Once again, every slice has to be handled with care by experts to reveal their beauty.
Making The Bases for the Agate Gems
The stone products also required additional steps to be ready for you. Some of them come in a wooden, acrylic or metal base/support, extending the artisan process to each finished product even further.
Electroplating 24k Gold and Silver Edges
The process to paint real 24k gold and silver edges into stones is called electroplating. It’s a tedious and skillful process that adds beauty to some of our products.
In summary, the genuine Agate products you purchase from Agathas has endured millions of years working on its beauty, went through many expert hands and traveled thousands of miles before arriving at your home or place of business. Here at Agathas "every piece is a gem" and we hope you value and appreciate their beauty.
To be continued...