Australian Gemstones - Crazy Lace Agate

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This unusual formation of Crazy Lace Agate is found on Marillana Station, a cattle property around 90 kilometres north of Newman, a major iron ore producing town in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

This type of agate is usually formed by near surface groundwater interacting with and dissolving silica rich rocks. Depending on a wide variety of physical conditions, when solution conditions change, such as cooling, minerals will precipitate. The mineral that is formed is determined by what the dissolved elements are, in this case silica (quartz) and iron. A similar process is the formation of salt crystals by the evaporation of sea water.

The formation is around 65 million years old and sits in the Fortescue River valley, which separates the Hamersley and Chichester Ranges, two of the oldest and most spectacular mountain ranges in the Pilbara.

Crazy Lace Agate is a cryptocrystalline variety of quartz and has a hardness of 6 to 7.

Crazy Lace Agate is used primarily for jewellery and ornamental pieces. More recently the stone has been used in furniture pieces, tiles and benchtops.