What Is South Red Agate?

What Is South Red Agate?

South Red Agate, also known as Southern Red Agate or Nan Hong Yu, is a type of agate gemstone that is highly valued for its vibrant red color and unique patterns. It is primarily found in the southern regions of China, particularly in the Guangdong, Guangxi, and Hainan provinces.


what is south red agate meaning


Meanings of South Red Agate:


Ascendancy: In ancient times, those who wore South Red Agate were often of high status and power, symbolizing a path to success and a prosperous career. It represents the concept of rising higher and achieving great heights in one's endeavors.

Auspiciousness: South Red Agate, with its auspicious red color, is considered a symbol of good fortune and joy. It is a decorative item associated with auspiciousness and is often used to bring positive energy and good luck.

Peace and Safety: When gifting South Red Agate to elders, it represents well wishes for their health, peace, and safety. It is a gesture of love and care, expressing a desire for their well-being and protection.

Love: South Red Agate is also regarded as a token of pure love. Its pure and delicate texture signifies the purity and sincerity of love. It can be worn as a symbol of affection or given as a gift to express deep love and commitment.

Characteristics and Appearance


South Red Agate is characterized by its deep red to reddish-brown color, often with intricate patterns and banding in shades of red, orange, and sometimes even white. These patterns can resemble landscapes, clouds, or natural scenes, adding to the stone's allure and visual appeal. Each piece of South Red Agate is truly unique, as no two stones are exactly alike.


Uses and Jewelry


South Red Agate is highly sought after for its aesthetic beauty and is often used in the creation of jewelry pieces. It is commonly crafted into beads, pendants, earrings, bracelets, and brooches. Due to its natural color and patterns, South Red Agate can add a touch of elegance and sophistication to any jewelry design.



what does south red agate used?

Nanhong (Red Agate) has been traditionally used as a talisman to ward off evil spirits, symbolizing friendly love and hope. It helps to eliminate stress, fatigue, and negative energy.

Placing a suitable amount of Nanhong under the pillow can promote restful sleep and bring pleasant dreams.

Nanhong can be used to demagnetize and recharge certain crystal jewelry, such as rings, pendants, earrings, bracelets, etc. However, it is recommended to wrap them in paper or cloth to avoid scratching.

In Western magic, people are advised to write their wishes on a piece of paper, fold it, meditate on it, and then place it in a Nanhong treasure bowl. It should be left there for at least a day and night to allow the energy to intensify. After removing it, the paper should be burned, using the power of fire to transmit your wishes into the natural world, increasing the likelihood of them coming true.

Children who engage with Nanhong while studying can benefit from its water-like qualities, such as increased intelligence, agility, obedience, strong learning abilities, and adaptability.

Wearing Nanhong can strengthen affinity, enhance adaptability, and contribute to career growth and abundant financial resources.

Nanhong can improve endocrine function, enhance blood circulation, promote a better complexion, alleviate sexual obstacles, prevent sexual dysfunction and infertility. Orange-toned Nanhong is particularly effective for the rectum, stomach, and intestines. It can activate internal organs, prevent constipation, aid in toxin elimination, and provide relief for liver diseases, rheumatism, neuralgia, varicose veins, and more. For women, long-term wearing of Nanhong can contribute to smooth skin, a cheerful mood, enhanced blood circulation, rosy lips, and bright, sparkling eyes.


south red agate history

The application of Nanhong Agate has a long history, as evidenced by the collection of ancient Nanhong jewelry from the Dian Kingdom period at the Yunnan Museum. The Beijing Palace Museum also houses exquisite Nanhong Agate Phoenix Head Cups from the Qing Dynasty, which are important historical and artistic artifacts for studying Nanhong Agate products and carvings. They have been designated as national-level cultural relics. From these collections, it is evident that Nanhong Agate has been highly valued throughout different dynasties and is a rare and precious material.


From these collections, it is apparent that as a rare and precious gemstone material, Nanhong Agate masterpieces have been cherished by rulers throughout history, reaching their peak during the Qing Dynasty. With the discovery of high-quality Nanhong Agate mines in the Liangshan area of Sichuan, collectible-grade Nanhong Agate artworks have reemerged in the world of collectors, sparking a renewed interest in Nanhong Agate collection and attracting the attention of numerous collectors.


The earliest known Nanhong Agate bead after the ancient Dian Kingdom is the flat and round multi-faceted bead. In fact, this pumpkin-shaped design can be traced back to ancient Egypt and can be found in the history of glass beads in China, at least since the Warring States period. The time span is more than 2,000 years.


The rest of the history is well-known to every Nanhong enthusiast. As a substitute for deep-sea red coral, Nanhong Agate officially entered the Tibetan region. Since the red coral used in the Tibetan region is exclusively the so-called "inverted branch coral" found in the Japan and Taiwan Straits, its trade difficulties and the precious nature of coral material determined that red coral belonged to the luxury items of the higher classes in the Tibetan region. However, the vast Tibetan population also needed these red symbols. As a result, Nanhong Agate emerged as a mass-produced product, becoming a personal accessory for many believers. This situation lasted until the late Qing Dynasty when the depletion of Nanhong Agate deposits, as we commonly believe, led to the decline in Nanhong bead production.


where is south red agate from?

Nanhong Agate is named after its place of origin, and its specific production area in ancient times was only Yunnan. Nowadays, Nanhong Agate commonly found in the market is mainly from Beijing, Jiangsu, Fujian, and other regions. Nanhong Agate has been mined and utilized by people for a long time and can also be referred to as "red jade."


The typical production area for Nanhong Agate is primarily Yunnan, with the most representative region being the Agate Mountain in Baoshan City. Xu Xiake, a renowned traveler from ancient times, described it as follows: "There are many perilous cliffs, with vines hanging upside down. When the cliffs are chiseled, agate is embedded within. The color is pale white with hints of red, and they are not very large, only about the size of a fist. This is the vine. As you go deeper, you may find melon-shaped formations as large as a liter, round like a ball, with a hollow in the middle and not sticking to the stone. Water nourishes it in the hollow, making it crystal clear and compact, different from the ordinary vine. This is the top-grade agate that cannot be encountered easily. The agates commonly accumulated and sold in the market are all obtained by chiseling the vine." The key characteristic summary of Nanhong Agate is that "the color is pale white with hints of red, and they are not very large, only about the size of a fist. This is the vine."


Meigu Nanhong Agate in Liangshan Prefecture


Meigu County in Liangshan Prefecture produces Nanhong Agate. Meigu Agate has become the pursuit of stone enthusiasts, and these valuable collectibles are sought after not only in Shanghai, Beijing, and Shenzhen but also in nearby cities such as Chengdu, Xichang, and surrounding counties. Stone collectors and dealers are willing to travel long distances to Meigu, engaging in discussions and negotiations for purchases. Some dealers even rent houses in nearby cities like Xichang and Zhaojue County to conduct long-term procurement battles. The agate in Liangshan Prefecture is a newly discovered Nanhong Agate, and Meigu Agate has become a sought-after item for stone enthusiasts, prized for its value and collectability.


types of south red agate


Nanhong Agate raw materials exhibit different textures and mineral states due to variations in geological environments. Based on the natural shapes of Nanhong Agate materials, they can generally be classified as follows: Water Nanhong, Mountain Nanhong, and Volcanic Nanhong. Considering the known Nanhong materials and conventional industry terminology, we can categorize Nanhong based on color into: Jin Red, Rose Red, Vermilion Red, Red and White, and Gao Red materials, among others.


  • Among Jin Red Nanhong, Jin Red is the most precious. The finest ones are bright red, characterized by their vibrant, smooth, fine, and even texture. The color is predominantly deep red or crimson, including the well-known persimmon red.
  • Rose Red leans towards purple compared to Jin Red, displaying an overall purplish-red color like a blooming rose. It is relatively rare historically, with some occurrences in Liangshan Nanhong mines, mainly from the Waxi and Yixing mines. At one point, prices decreased when the supply of high-quality purplish-red materials became scarce.
  • Vermilion Red Nanhong showcases a prominent aggregation of cinnabar dots, sometimes resembling flame-like patterns. Some Vermilion Red materials exhibit captivating flame-like patterns, presenting a unique aesthetic appeal.
  • Red and White Nanhong features a combination of red and white colors. For example, the common red and white silk materials, with distinct red and white boundaries, are rare. Through skillful design and carving, unexpected artistic effects can be achieved.
  • Gao Red Nanhong is characterized by its colorful texture primarily based on the red color scheme. Players refer to it as Gao Hong Wen Nanhong due to its resemblance to the texture of red silk fabric.
  • Cherry Red Nanhong primarily originates from Sichuan's Lianhe Cherry Village. Lianhe materials are translucent jade materials with extremely delicate crystals. Lianhe materials come from Lianhe Township in Meigu County, Liangshan, where the quality of the materials varies significantly. The best ones are exceptional Cherry Red, while the lower quality ones are sold at bargain prices. Lianhe materials exhibit good water head and high transparency. The prices of Baoshan materials are high, leading some people to consider passing off Lianhe materials as Baoshan materials.
  • Black Red Nanhong is a relatively rare type of Nanhong raw material, with production areas including Lianhe in Sichuan, Baoshan in Yunnan, and Yixing in Jiangsu. The finished products display exceptional beauty and are favored as premium materials for delicate carvings.
  • Pure White Nanhong consists of Nanhong materials predominantly white in color. Players also refer to them as Nanhong White materials. Some white Nanhong materials may contain natural silk threads with various shapes, adding to their beauty. Nanhong Agate with red and white patterns is often used for intricate carvings, resulting in stunning finished products.


southern red agate properties

Southern Red Agate, also known as Nanhong Agate, possesses several properties that make it highly valued:


Color: Southern Red Agate exhibits a range of red hues, including vibrant red, crimson, and shades of pink. The coloration is often rich and captivating, making it visually appealing.

Hardness: Southern Red Agate has a relatively high hardness on the Mohs scale, ranging from 6.5 to 7. This hardness contributes to its durability and resistance to scratches and wear.

Translucency: Many specimens of Southern Red Agate exhibit varying degrees of translucency, allowing light to pass through the stone. This property enhances its visual appeal and adds depth to its colors.

Banding and Patterns: Southern Red Agate is known for its distinct banding and patterns. These patterns can vary widely, including concentric rings, wavy lines, and dendritic formations. These natural patterns contribute to the unique and aesthetic appeal of Southern Red Agate.

Carving and Polishing: Southern Red Agate is a highly suitable material for carving and polishing due to its hardness and attractive colors. Skilled artisans can create intricate designs and shapes, making it a favored material for ornamental objects, jewelry, and sculptures.

Spiritual and Symbolic Significance: In traditional Chinese culture, Southern Red Agate is believed to possess spiritual and protective properties. It is considered a stone of luck, abundance, and harmony. It is often used in jewelry and amulets for its supposed ability to bring positive energy and ward off negative influences.

Healing Properties: In alternative healing practices, Southern Red Agate is believed to have various healing properties. It is thought to promote physical strength, vitality, and overall well-being. It is also believed to enhance mental clarity, balance emotions, and stimulate creativity.


It is important to note that while these properties and beliefs are associated with Southern Red Agate, they are based on cultural and traditional beliefs and may not have scientific evidence to support them.



southern red agate maintenance method

Maintenance precautions for Southern Red Agate:


Avoid collisions with hard objects: Although Southern Red Agate has a high hardness, it can still be damaged by impact, especially delicate and hollowed-out pieces. When storing or carrying Southern Red Agate items, make sure they are secure and protected, such as in a soft-lined box.

Cleaning Southern Red Agate: Over time, dust and oil may accumulate on the surface of the agate. Use a soft brush to remove dust, and for oil stains, gently brush with lukewarm soapy water followed by rinsing with clean water.

Avoid direct sunlight and extreme temperatures: Southern Red Agate should be protected from prolonged exposure to direct sunlight and extreme temperature changes, which can cause thermal expansion and contraction and potentially lead to damage.

Avoid contact with chemicals: Keep Southern Red Agate away from contact with chemicals and corrosive substances to preserve its color and luster.

Use a soft cloth or towel for polishing: When polishing Southern Red Agate, use a soft cloth or towel to avoid scratching the surface, helping to maintain its original quality.

Regular hydration: Southern Red Agate requires regular hydration to maintain its moisture balance. If the agate shows signs of dehydration, you can immerse it in distilled water to replenish its moisture.


red agate vs carnelian

Red Agate and Carnelian are both forms of chalcedony, a type of quartz mineral, and they share some similarities in terms of their appearance and properties. However, there are some differences between the two:


Color: Red Agate typically has a wider range of red hues, including deeper reds, burgundy, and brownish-red tones. Carnelian, on the other hand, is a specific type of red chalcedony that is known for its bright to medium orange-red color. It may also have variations of yellow or brown hues.

Transparency: Red Agate can be both translucent and opaque, depending on the specific variety. Carnelian is typically translucent, allowing light to pass through, although it can also have opaque areas.

Origin: Red Agate is commonly found in various locations worldwide, including China, Brazil, India, and Madagascar. Carnelian, on the other hand, is specifically associated with deposits in Brazil, India, Uruguay, and Germany.

Symbolism and Cultural Significance: Red Agate has been valued for its protective and grounding properties. It is often associated with strength, courage, and stability. Carnelian, historically, has been regarded as a stone of vitality, creativity, and motivation. It is believed to enhance passion, courage, and confidence.

Availability: Red Agate is relatively more abundant and can be found in a wider range of sizes and shapes. Carnelian is also readily available but may be slightly less common than Red Agate. 

In conclusion, South Red Agate is a treasured gemstone with a rich history and cultural significance in Chinese tradition. Its deep red color, intricate patterns, and symbolic meanings make it a highly desirable choice for jewelry enthusiasts and collectors alike. Whether worn as a personal accessory or cherished as a decorative piece, South Red Agate continues to captivate with its natural beauty and enduring allure.


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