Ben Church
Ben is a geologist and lapidary (he cuts and polishes stone) and has a background in teaching and travel photography and still leads international expeditions. His Infinite Wave Jewellery designs have been inspired by living 100 steps from the beach on the north Cornwall coast. 

Cally Oldershaw
Cally is a geologist, gemmologist and author, former Curator of Gems at the Natural History Museum and First Lady Chair of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain. Her love of gems, jewellery and the outdoors influences her designs.  

The Geology of Cornish Agates
Agates are quartz rocks that have a banded appearance. The real beauty of each agate is hidden within the stone, only to be discovered by cutting and polishing. 

Agates can be found worldwide, but only a few have the intricate patterns and colours that make them desirable for collecting to make into jewellery. Cornish Agates are remarkable for the infinite variety. 

Most agates form underground in the vesicles, bubbles or voids, within hot volcanic rocks as they cooled and solidified into hard rock. They are found as rounded nodules with concentric bands or circles of agate within, like the layers within an onion. 

Cornish Agates are different; they formed 240 million years ago as vein agates. They filled cracks and fissures within the rocks surrounding the Cornish granite as they cooled and also when they were folded and faulted as the sea floor between Cornwall and Europe was squeezed and buckled up to form the landscapes and coastal cliffs of Cornwall.

Over millions of years, the rocks of the cliffs have been broken, weathered and eroded releasing the vein agate. Some has been naturally transported to the beaches where the seas have worn rock fragments into rounded pebbles. Of the many millions of pebbles on the beaches of Cornwall, only a few are true agates. Most are rounded quartz pebbles or pebbles made from rocks such as granite or slate. 

 
Mineral Properties of Cornish Agates
Agates are a type of quartz, the same family of crystals as colourless rock crystal, purple amethyst, smoky quartz, black morion and yellow citrine. Most agates contain varieties of chalcedony, quartz that has crystals too small to be seen. 

Cornish Agates have a wide range chalcedony colours. Jasper is a brown variety of chalcedony seen in many of the Cornish Caramel Agates. Others show purple amethystine chalcedony, clear areas and darker layers coloured by varying amounts of iron oxides.

Quartz is made of silicon and oxygen (silicon dioxide, Si02). Quartz has a hardness of 7 on Moh’s scale of hardness, which compares the ‘scratchability’ of 10 rock forming minerals. Talc, with a hardness of 1, is softest and can be scratched by anything harder. Diamond, the hardest mineral on Earth has a hardness of 10 and can only be scratched by another diamond. This is possible as diamond is harder in one direction than another.