HomeNews & LifestyleGrape Agate: The Curious Crystal That Looks Good Enough To Eat

Grape Agate: The Curious Crystal That Looks Good Enough To Eat

These Crystals From Indonesia Look Just Like Grapes

Crystals are one of the most amazing things ever, and grape agate is no exception.

Formed over millions or thousands (or at least a lot) of years, crystals are otherworldly gifts from the Earth. Grape agate, as it’s become known commercially, is certainly otherworldly. But it also looks like it could hang out on your fruit plate. Kind of.

grape agate
Image: @curious_crystals on Instagram

In the past five years or so, this crystal has become a hit because of (you guessed it) the internet. Not only is it usually a gorgeous purple, but it also forms into tiny little clusters that make it look it look so incredibly Instagrammable.

Things that are both small and beautiful have a solid place in this world, and in the marketplace. And that’s another interesting point about grape agate. The marketability of it is a whole other subject. It’s so fascinating how these things work. I never really thought about crystal as something you’d ‘bring to market’, but in this case, botryoidal chalcedony (its scientific name) entered the mineral marketplace in 2016. Who knows where it was hanging out before then.

The ‘grapes’ of this gorgeous crystal are tiny. They’re usually between two and eight millimetres in diameter. Because of this, and because of the colour, “grape” is a perfectly fitting part of the name.

Agate, however… not so much.

Grape? Usually. Agate? Not quite.

The name “grape agate” has served this crystal well as a marketing label. However, the name is technically a misnomer in that it’s not scientifically correct.

“Grape” is a no-brainer. In most cases, grape amethyst is purple. However, it’s not actually an agate at all. Agate has parallel internal banding (seen below), and is a quartz with a ‘microcrystalline’ texture, meaning it’s shiny. You can only view the particles that make up a microcrystalline gem under a microscope.

grape agate
Image: An agate stone, from @geologywonders1on Instagram

Botryoidal chalcedony grapes have a rough, bumpy surface. This makes them known as ‘megascopically’ crystalline. You can view their particles with the naked eye. They’re not glossy and smooth, but rough and slightly bumpy. See the difference?

What Causes Botryodial Chalcedony To Look Like Grapes?

The most iconic examples of grape agate have spheres clustered together… hence the name. The “botryoidal” part of this crystal’s scientific name refers to the spherical shape of the round quartz that makes up the clusters.

A chalcedony is a form of quartz with a wax-like sheen. It can also be translucent, which is why the crystal is so often shown against light;  you can see the light through it making it even more stunning to the eye.

grape agate
Image:@polina_jewelry_shop on Instagram

It’s unclear exactly why these clusters form together creating such a pleasing effect. Because the crystals are known to enhance dreams and promote mental clarity, they’re often put into jewelry to be kept close.

Because of this, you can find grape agate in necklaces, ring, earrings, and in beautiful containers to be kept beside your bed.

grape agate
Image: @grapeagate on Instagram

How Rare Is Grape Agate?

You can only source grape agate from a very small area of Indonesia. The area itself is called the Mamuju area of the western Sulawesi coast. Because of this, the crystal is quite rare and hard to come by. The purple form of what’s also called “grape amethyst” is the most common. However, it also comes in various hues of white, green, and even blue.

grape agate
Image: @grapeagate on Instagram

There are lots of different pieces you can find online if you’d like to have some of this precious crystal for yourself. But be warned: make sure to purchase through reputable dealers and look out for scams. Some people are crafting artificial versions of this stone, and also dying it unnatural colours to charge higher prices.

Further, if you’re a big fan of this crystal, follow the hashtag here so you’re constantly up to date with posts from around the world.

 

 

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