Agate Marbles

Agate is a colored variety of quartz that was hand-ground into marbles. They were a favorite of many marble players, especially as shooters because agates are denser than other marbles. This made it easier to knock the opponent’s marbles out of the ring. Most agates can be identified by the alternating light and dark bands that circle the marbles. The bands usually alternate red and white, brown and white, or grey and white, although a large variety of colors can be found, including black. Agate marbles are commonly called carnelians when they are reddish but without bands, striped carnelians when red and white banded and striped onyx when black or brown. (read more below listings)

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Hand-cut agates are generally found in banded and carnelian varieties. The banded varieties have distinct concentric rings and the sphere. They command a value that is about double the carnelian examples. Carnelians are a more uniform brownish-red color. Many agate marbles have subsurface moons because of their extensive use as shooters.

There are many machine-ground agates available. These are modern. Hand-cut agates have tiny facets on the surface. You can see the light dance on the surface if you look closely at the surface when turning the marble. There are also dyed agates available. Some of these are older, hand-cuts and some are modern. A chemical process is used to highlight the brightness of the natural colors. Usually they are found in green, blue, and black and occasionally in yellow.


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