Historical information

Although it is not known where these specimens were collected, Victoria and other regions of Australia were surveyed for sites of potential mineral wealth throughout the 19th Century. The identification of sites containing valuable commodities such as gold, iron ore and gemstones in a locality had the potential to shape the development and history of communities and industries in the area. The discovery of gold in Victoria, for instance, had a significant influence on the development of the area now known as 'the goldfields', including Beechworth; the city of Melbourne and Victoria as a whole.

Agate occurs when amygdales (gas pockets) form in the upper levels of basaltic lava flows. If these pockets or bubbles are iniltrated by water bearing silica in solution, the fluid dries and hardens in layers, forming round or egg shaped nodules or geodes within the rocky matrix. Agate is formed of a silica mineral chalcedony similar to quartz. The term carnelian primarily refers to the reddish shading of the stone; whether the stone is termed an agate or chalcedony type is often influenced by the degree of colour banding the specimen shows.


The specimens are significant as examples of surveying activity undertaken to assess and direct the development of the mineral resource industries in Victoria and Australia, as well as the movement to expand human knowledge of earth sciences such as mineralogy and geology in the nineteenth century.

Physical description

Three small geological specimens that appear visually consistent with images of rough or unpolished Carnelian Agate or Chalcedony.