Montrose has long been famous for its agates. With ease of travel and more leisure time today many sites are in danger of being over-collected. However, we are fortunate that there is still scope for anyone to collect agate pebbles from our beaches each year after winter storms have eroded more agates from their nesting holes in the lavas.
Agates are made of bands of chalcedony. Chalcedony is a mineral made of microcrystaline silica which is a mixture of quartz and opal. The bands which give agate its great beauty have colours which range through the rainbow and they also vary in their ability to allow light through (translucency). Agates are found as infillings of the gas bubbles in lavas. Chemically-rich hot water passes through lava as it cools. The silica is thought to be deposited as a jelly in which more chemical reactions take place to form the banding.
The small, flat, cut and polished agates on display are part of the superb Lord Gray Agate Collection (700 agates). It is incredible but true that these agates were collected, cut and polished so beautifully by Francis the fourteenth Lord Gray (1765-1842) of Kinfauns Castle, before electricity was discovered. On his death Lord Panmure purchased his magnificent agate collection and donated it to Montrose Museum.
You can visit the display between the 1 September – 17 October.
Venue address: Montrose Museum & Art Gallery, Panmure Place, Montrose, DD10 8HF