C Is for Agate, That’s Good Enough for Me

Sesame Street, the beloved children’s show filled with Muppets, debuted on television in 1969. For more than six decades the program has employed comedy and storytelling to educate the youth on all sorts of topics. You might know that many of the ubiquitous characters, such as Kermit the Frog, actually predate Sesame Street by a significant margin. The green amphibian is over 65 years old!

Another puppet that antecedes the show is one of my favorites: Cookie Monster. Jim Henson created the googly-eyed denizen for advertisements in 1966. Since then Cookie Monster has devoured tons of baked goods, other foodstuffs, and even various inedible objects. John Lennon shouted “cookie!” in the character’s voice in his 1970 song “Hold On.” Atari unleashed a video game called Cookie Monster Munch in 1986. In 2010, Cookie Monster unsuccessfully lobbied to host Saturday Night Live, a decision that baffles the world-at-large. The appeal of the character is undeniable.

In short, Cookie Monster is an integral part of the zeitgeist. But was Cookie Monster and his fame preordained by the Earth herself?

Soledad, a municipality in Brazil, is known locally as the Cidade das Pedras Preciosas, which translates to the City of Precious Stones or Rare Gems. A large portion of the world’s amethyst comes from Soledad. In November 2020, a gemologist from the region sold a load of agate to a mineral collector named Mike Bowers. One of the rocks was something spectacular.

Agate is a type of quartz, formed from volcanic or metamorphic rocks; it is the crystal form of silicon dioxide. As far back as Ancient Greece, humans have prized its appearance, using it for jewelry or decoration. Agate often forms in liquid volcanic material inside cavities that arise due to gases trapped inside the non-solid rock. Silicon-rich fluids find their way into the cavities, putting down layers of material that differs from the ultimate volcanic substance.

Depending on the exact mineral composition of the agate, the resulting stones can produce a variety of visual results. They can form lace agates, which appear to have swirls, bands, or zigzags that look like lace, or moss agates, which are often green and have fern-like patterns, or a slew of other variations. 

Crazy Lace Agate - photo by zygzee
Polished Moss Agate
Banded Agate - photo by B.M. Shaub
Hollow Agate - photo by James St. John

As a proper detective, I am certain you have deduced where this story goes next.

Amongst the agate purchased by Mike Bowers, a unique quarry emerged from the rubble. When he spied the piece he was shocked to see a familiar face gazing back at him.

The Cookie Monster Agate - photo credit to Kennedy News and Media

Me inside agate!

Bowers told LiveScience, “What makes the Cookie Monster unique is there is just no doubt: Clear-cut, it is Cookie Monster, no explanation required.”

I cannot say I disagree; it’s certainly the blue inhaler of baked goods! Cookie Monster’s official social media account already shouted out the stone, so I predict Sesame Street manages to fit in this rock at some point in the future!

Further Reading and Exploration

Agate Gemstones – Geology.com

Sesame Street – official website

Cookie Monster’s Twitter Account

Rock collector finds rare gemstone that looks like Cookie Monster – LiveScience

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