How to Tell if Agate is Real?

Last Updated on December 29, 2023

Buying crystals and semi-precious gems can be difficult if you can’t spot a real from a fake.

This guide will help you to determine how to tell if agate is real. 


How to tell if agate is real?

Real agate will have substantial weight due to its density. Real agate won’t have bubbles or swirls of color. It will have bands of varying color.

Real agate will be a muted soft color and not a bright vivid color. Real agate will be hard enough to scratch glass and a knife won’t scratch it. 

Buying crystals and semi-precious gems can be difficult if you can’t spot a real from a fake. This guide will help you to determine how to tell if agate is real. 

What is the hardness of an agate?

The hardness of a stone is on a set scale. This scale is called Mohs Hardness Scale. This scale measures a stone’s relative hardness and resistance to scratching.

On the Mohs Hardness Scale, a diamond is measured at a 10, and talc is a 1. Agate is measured at a 7 while glass measures around a 5. This means that agate can scratch glass.

If you’re interested in testing a piece of agate to see if it’s real, try scratching a piece of glass with it, or try scratching the agate with a knife. Agate is hard and won’t be able to be scratched by a knife but it will easily cut into a piece of glass.

What color is agate?

Real agate will be found in a variety of colors, including white, gentle yellow, soft orange, light brown, dark brown, and occasionally a soft white-blue.

Bright neon stones may be sold as agate, but these stones are fakes. Oftentimes bright-colored agate is dyed glass or chalcedony, which is a baby blue form of agate. 

Just keep in mind that real agate will have softer, muted, gentle colors. 

Is it glass or agate?

If agate is fake, it’s likely that the material is glass. One way to tell is the hardness scale, but another way to tell is to look within the stone for clues.

If the stone is glass, you’ll likely find tiny bubbles in it. It may also have swirls in the dye. Real agate won’t have swirls or bubbles. 

Agate is transparent, but if you shine a light through it, it will diffract. This means that the light will be bent at angles, rather than just passing straight through the stone.

Real agate will have a substantial weight to it, while glass will be light.  

Where does agate come from?

Agate is a semiprecious stone found all over the globe. 

In the United States, agate is commonly found in the western states of Washington, Montana, Idaho, and Oregon. It’s found near previously active volcanic sites. It’s found more commonly in Brazil and Mexico. 

Agate is formed in the cavities of volcanic rock, formed from trapped gasses. Deposits of silica are hardened in layers, forming what we know as the banded stone, agate. 

What is agate used for?

Agate is found in a variety of jewelry including earings, rings, necklaces, and more. It’s found in ornaments as well. It’s even mentioned in the bible. 

Apart from jewelry and ornamental use, agate is used for it’s metaphysical or spiritual properties.

Agate is considered to be a calming stone, helping to give the wearer or user strength during difficulty. It’s also used for building self-confidence, reducing stress, and focusing. 

In more ancient times, it was believed to give the wearer a broader view of his or her horizon and opened up their ability to see the bigger picture. 

More facts about agate:

Real agate will change temperature with the seasons, but not how you would expect it to. In the warmer months, agate will be cool to the touch, but in the winter months it will be warm to the touch. 

The surface of a raw agate stone will be waxy feeling. If you can see the exposed banding, check to see how it feels. If it’s waxy, you probably have a real agate.

Agates will fracture in a conchoidal pattern, meaning that the breaks or fractures will be circular or wavelike. This is similar to glass, so it’s not a good way to tell a real from a fake, but it could help you to determine if a rough stone is agate or not. 

If you’re interested in breaking open a rock that you think could be agate, you can use a chisel or a dremmel tool to crack it open and find out. A tamper chisel and a hammer would do perfect for the job. 

Agates take 50 million years to form.

Eran Hayo is the Chief Editor of Jewels Advisor, with over 5 years of experience in the fields of jewelry and memorabilia. He built Jewels Advisor to serve one main purpose – to teach you everything he knows about jewelry, and help you make better-informed decisions when buying diamonds and engagement rings online. His work has been cited on famous publications such as The Sun, MSN and WikiHow.