Agate has one of the oldest historical traditions of any healing stone and can appear in every color of the rainbow. A vivid pure blue is rare, and is often a sign that the Agate has been dyed. Gorgeous bright blue Agates are occasionally found, with notable examples coming from Mexico and Mongolia. But when most people in the healing crystal industry think of natural blue agate, Blue Lace Agate, a pale blue variety from Namibia and South Africa is what most often comes to mind.
Indigenous peoples may have known about Blue Lace Agate for centuries, but its modern “discovery” is credited to Willy Preiss. Preiss was a prospector and lapidary who lived in Windhoek, the capital of Namibia. In the 1960s, he made a prospecting trip and discovered a narrow seam of blue and white agate. Unfortunately for Preiss, the seam was located approximately 600 km away from his lapidary shop, making it difficult for him to mine. In 1969, George Swanson staked a property, Ysterputs Farm, near the Blue Lace Agate seam and Willy Preiss offered to give him the mine if he would bring 50 tons of agates to Windhoek. The deal was struck and George Swanson took control of the seam.
Swanson called Blue Lace Agate, the “Gem of Ecology” because he thought the swirling lacy patterns of blue and white resembled clouds as seen from space (this was, after all, the era of the US-Soviet “Space Race”). Today, it is more commonly known as Blue Lace Agate. While a few other deposits have been found, most notably in South Africa, the most exquisite Blue Lace Agate still comes from the same narrow seam on Ysterputs Farm.
Julie Abouzelof is the owner of Moonrise Crystals and an advocate for responsibly sourced gems and minerals. Her first career was in education teaching history, geology and anthropology, as well as working with special-needs students. She is now a heart-centered entrepreneur who encourages mindfulness and positive action to heal ourselves and the world. Julie lives in Hawaii with her lover and a little parrot named Darwin.