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Agate is a translucent to opaque ornamental variety of cryptocrystalline Quartz called Chalcedony. Agate is prized for its patterns and banded colors. Agate is durable for jewelry and has a hardness of 6.5 7. Large agates are sometimes used for decorative sculptures, vases and bookends. Banded Agate is often used for cameo carvings. Agate is often treated by heat or dye for colors not normally found in untreated stones.