Agate that has been cut open and polished to show the colourful patterns inside. The colours formed from mineral impurities that were trapped as the agate formed. Agate is silica (silicon dioxide) that precipitated from liquid inside existing rock. The successive layers of precipitation are clearly seen here, with the oldest layers on the outside, and the youngest layers in the centre. A small hollow at the centre is all that remains of the larger hollow that was filled by the agate. The patterns are revealed by erosion or cutting the rock open. Cut and polished pieces of agate are prized as ornaments.
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