Anonymous asked in Science & MathematicsEarth Sciences & Geology · 4 weeks ago

can you dissolve silica and other minerals and deposite it in a host rock and make man made agate ?

kinda like how they flux grow rubies and lab grow other gemstones, can they make agate or do the minerals crystalize and solidify to make macrocrystalline structures from hastily forcing what normally takes millions of years, basically just dissolving or melting one piece of quartz to cast another..?

1 Answer

  • 4 weeks ago

    Well, that is an interesting thought.  You could probably create a system of dissolution and slow precipitation to create a fake agate, but I am not aware of anyone ever having done that.  Not much value in the product of such work, although there are loads of similar processes where the products are useful for modern technology.  On paper, I think it would be possible to create a "fake agate" production system in a lab.

    the main issue is that silica (silicic acid, as H4SiO4) is relatively insoluble except at higher temperatures and/or extreme pH ranges.  The nature of agate is such that it has to form in a relatively deprived condition (slight excess of silica only in the source solution), very slowly, or you will form crystals rather than cryptocrystalline or microcrystalline forms.  Heat would, of course, make crystal formation easier and faster, so whatever you selected as a process to make it time-effective might also counter the ability to make the target product.  There are also questions or issues about the exact nature of the proto-deposit when it comes to how wet (hydrous) it is, and how it solidifies with time. Is the agate formed from an initial gel or non-crystalline solid that dewaters slightly and forms microcrystals, or what?  That might be an interesting thing to examine and justify such an effort.  Fake agate though, hardly worth anything.  Not something that is likely to be possible at an accelerated rate that would lead to any commercial or industrial viability.

    Perhaps some sort of vapor deposition might do the trick? I doubt it.  Still, an interesting problem. 

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