Saturday, October 5, 2019


I loved working with the peach and white stone

Crazy Lace agate is a lapidary dream rock. It's basically a banded calcite, but it's so much more! The bands can come in almost any color, they can swirl, encase spheres, bend in fortifications, and even feature druzy coated vugs.  This stone is mined in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. Some claims in the area name the area name of stone after itself like the Noriega. And yet . . . Rodeo Flats agate from Arizona looks pretty much the same as does some agate mined in Morocco. 

This slab isn't high quality, but I love the pattern

Did I say any color earlier? Well, when it comes in all blue, sold as blue crazy lace, it's definitely not from Mexico. Blue lace agate primarily comes from Namibia and South Africa with a bit in Romania. You'll often see them sold side by side with other lacy-patterned agates, but they are far distant cousins.

This Crazy Lace has color and motion

In case you're wondering, I included this picture because I could!  This one is so chatty that it won't slow down and tell me what it wants to have done with it. So, for now it's safe . . .

although . . .

if you look at it from either side, you can see landscape scenes with a bit of blue sky.

The slab has the beautiful sunsets I hope to use 


 As the Lapidary Whisperer, I adore this stone!  The colors and patterns tell me so many stories, and the stories can change simply by moving the templates around. It is also fun to create shapes by using a pencil to create the shape that shares the story the slab is trying to tell you. I've found that on occasion, I can incorporate the outer edge as a feature in the cab.

This slab is driving me a bit crazy. It wants me to use the sunset orbs, but the problem is they are very shallow and don't even show on the back of the slab, I'm afraid if I do any grinding, they'll disappear completely.

The good news/bad news is that this is not a fast mineral to work. It runs right about 7 on the Mohs scale and tends to take a while to work, especially on the lower number grit wheels. The good news is that it will take a nearly gem-like finish.

Be aware that if the colors of your crazy lace are unusually intense, it may be dyed and the colors will fade over time, especially if exposed to the sun.  If the intense coloring is limited, like the slab below, it is probably natural. 

A busy natural slab with red staining


I found only a few references to the history of this stone and the conflicted like . . . crazy! One source claimed it was first discovered in the late 19th century, and then forgotten until a construction crew found it when they were clearing land for road construction in the mid twentieth century.

Cerridwen, image: Bing

Yet, it had apparently already been discovered in Mexico long before the Spanish Conquests by pre-hispanic people who used it to appease the gods or as an amulet for those fighting wars. I even saw a site that credited this stone to Cerridwen in Celtic mythology (Gods of Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Gaul)  heaven knows how they got rocks from Mexico.

While I'm not into assigning mystical property to minerals, I saw several places where it was referred to as the "happy stone". Okay, I'll partially buy into that. Working with crazy lace in my shop does make me happy, because it makes such incredible cabochons.

NOTE: Except for the image from Bing, all the other images are mine. If you want to use them, please ask.

Until next time, I'm your LAPIDARY WHISPERER


Thursday, September 5, 2019


A rock that insists on telling you a story is a great rock to get to know! This Sagenite Rutile is an amazing storyteller. I see a wheel in motion over a coarse surface. What do you see?
Credit: Marco Campos-Venuti Collection

According to this site Sagenite can come in geometric patterns  This variety is formed when a pattern of crossed Rutile crystals is present with angles of 60 degrees that is the twinning law of Rutile. 
Credit: Marco Campos-Venuti Collection
Sagenite loves to tell stories. At least the kind I work with in my lapidary shop does. There are apparently two schools of thought when this name is used to describe a rock. There's the one that describes stones with vibrant, puffy strands that appear to be moving with an unseen tide. I absolutely love these. The other is a variety of rutile  where the crystals criss-cross  in a geometric sort of pattern. The look is so distinctive that back in 1796, it was named sagenite  from the Greek and Latin word "sagena" or net. This piece looks positively architectural to me.


I haven't been able to acquire any saginite rutile to work on, but I've had a lot of fun with the kind that makes soft swirls.

 I fell in love with the slab I used to create this cabochon!  It has the yellowish Sagenite, along with white tube structures you can just see inside the clear agate, and a vug that comes across as a whirlpool that is causing the Sagenite to swirl around.
Pat McMahan, renowned agate expert, wrote that these Sagenetic filaments are often arranged in fans or sunbursts in the agates and can come in different colors. That is because the Sagenite in Agates is a pseudomorph (where one mineral replaces a different one that has already created the shape). As an interesting aside, he feels that the Sagenetic structures form in the still-hardening agate and they don't extend into nearby banded agate which is formed at a different time.

This cool piece of Sagentic agate really shows off the way the filaments can arrange themselves in groups of fans.

The way it has a central open space in the agate with the filaments swishing around it, makes me think of that sight you see when you're in your car as it goes through the automatic car wash. All those soft things rotating and slapping your car as you go through.

The vendor who sold me this had a lot of slabs of this material. I asked him what it was and he wrote "Sagenite" on the slab I purchased.

I've had other people who have seen it agree that it is Sagenite, but it's different from my other pieces because there's no cluster that the formations spring from.

However, I love the look like it's from a pot of spaghetti and it polishes like a dream!

 Do you have a favorite agate cabochon that features sagenite?  I'd love to see a picture of it!

ROCK SHOW SEASON IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER. I'd love to hear from you about what makes your show (or your favorite show) special. Don't forget pix!  Send to

Until next time, have fun with your rocks!

Your Lapidary Whisperer