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                                  Mineral of the Month--February

 

                        Chalcedony, Microcrystalline Quartz

                              (variety "Agate")

                   Silicon Dioxide

                        SiO2

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Agate-like Sphere
(actually fluorite)
by Gerry Baxter
Scotland
Oppenau Eckenfels
("Corners-rock" from
Oppenau, Germany)
Robert Huber Collection

Lake Superior Agate
Karen Brzys
Grand Marais, Michigan

                  "The World of Agates"

                       (As inspired by our club's March 5-6, 2005 Show Theme)

            By Ken Casey

Preface

     After deliberation, our Show Committee chose “The World of Agates” to be our club’s show theme
this year.  Wayne Urion, our Show Chairman, agreed that an article on agates would be just the thing
to prepare our members and visitors for our
March 5-6, 2005 Show.

    I was inspired by member Teddi Silver’s presentation on agates in early 2004.  Somehow,
Idar-Oberstein, Germany stuck out in my mind months after her informative program.  So, I started
there.  I chatted online with German mineralogist, Roger Lang.  He introduced me to some collectors
around his native area of Rhineland-Palatinate.  My best correspondence was with Robert Huber of
Oppenau.  He and his wife Ursula shared pictures and information on their collection.  You will see
some of their ‘sammlung’ (German for collection) later in this article.

     After much research, I found that there is so much out there on the ‘world of agates’, that I could
only concentrate on a few types and locales.  As the focus is on learning, collecting, and lapidary
here, I chose Scotland, Germany, and the United States.   Of course, you will see pictures and
information about other famous places throughout the article with links to more.

     From Scotland, we will see the work of Mary Young, who currently serves as Membership
Secretary of The Scottish Mineral & Lapidary Club, and see the work of Hamilton Currie, author of
the website “Minerals of Scotland”.

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Vein Agate
Galston, Ayrshire,
Scotland
Flame Agate
Scurdie Ness, Montrose,
Angus, Scotland
Fortification Agate
Dunure, Ayrshire, Scotland

Photos courtesy of Hamilton Currie from his "Scottish Agates" Page    ©2004

     From the U. S., we have an interview with Karen Brzys, owner/curator of the Gitche Gumee Agate
and History Museum
and author of
“Understanding and Finding Agates”.  We will show the work from
the owners of Beautiful Agates,
Austen S. Cargill and Michael R. Carlson.  Mr. Carlson is the author
of the book “The Beauty of Banded Agates”.  

     And, Roger K. Pabian, Research Geologist, Emeritus, Conservation and Survey Division,
University of Nebraska-Lincoln has agreed to let us show you examples from his agate database
project.  Dr. Pabian, has also co-written an agate tome, titled
"Banded Agates, Origins and Inclusions"
with Andrejs Zarins.

     You will also see the works of other generous agateers from the world over, who graciously
consented to share their collections with us.  Thank you.

Introduction


     There are many colorful stones in the mineral kingdom.  Some exhibit bold, bright colors, like
yellow sulfur and red rhodochrosite crystals.  Even fluorites cubes can act as luminous beacons to
grab our attention.  None of these wonders compare to the multi-colored banding of agate.

     Beyond collecting, lies a world of witness to grand varieties of this well-collected stone, found all
over the world.  Greater still is agate’s potential to fool us from the ground, its natural covering almost
never bespeaking of the hidden blazes of deep color beneath.  Once in the hands of a lapidary, this
‘plain jane’ bauble can become almost more than what the imagination wills it to be.  No matter how
you slice it (pun intended), you will always be surprised by the outcome.

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Fire Agate, Turtle Mtn., Needles, California

Mexican Agate, Michael Carlson ©2005

     This article will touch upon agates from all over the world.  I will elaborate on their beauty, some
science, and their use in lapidary projects.  Some of the best material comes from Germany, the U. S.,
and Scotland; so, I will concentrate on those areas, mostly.  If you, the reader, want to know more
about agates from other locales, please let me know.   I will endeavor to include them in a future article. 
The links below should begin to whet your appetite and your grinding wheel.

     In this piece you will meet a museum curator and author, another preeminent author of a book on 
agates, the collections of international connoisseurs and museums, an officer in the Scottish Mineral & 
Lapidary Club, and an amazing work on Scottish Agates. 

 What is Agate?

     For all its beauty, agate is simply silicon dioxide (SiO2), or microcrystalline quartz.   Formed by
silica in hollow cavities after volcanic lava has cooled, the nodules are wrested from their place by
erosion.  We can find them either on the ground, in situ (still in place after formation), and at rock
shows.  Its color derives from a mysterious source.                               
More on Agate Science

Agate Colors

     You might ask, ‘What gives agate banding its color?’  The answer is simple: metals.  In nature,
silicate minerals, like our agate (SiO2), can be ‘cooked over time’ by adding pigments of iron,
manganese, copper, etc. as it forms.  Each element imparts a different color.  For example, iron
oxides impart red, brown, black, or green.  Combinations of metals can mix to form wonderful hues
to wow us.
[i]

     For a primer on Agate Basics, visit the Gitche Gumee Agate and History Museum website.

Varieties of Agate

     There are hundreds of varieties of agate.  Names range from Lake Superior Agate, denoting a
location, to Condor Agate found in the Andean foothills of Argentina.  Isn’t the banding phenomenal? 

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Lake Superior Agates, polished ©2005 Michael Carlson

Condor agate                 ©2005 Michael Carlson

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Condor Agate                 ©2005 Michael Carlson

Petrified Wood, Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona

     As a fossil, petrified wood makes for a nice agate.  These well-preserved trees are famously
found in the American west and in Australia.  Moss Agate belongs to the family, even though it is
not banded.  The dendritic (branching) structures inside are not trees, or plants, for that matter, but
are oxides of manganese.
[ii]

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     But mossy illusion is still nice to gaze upon.  Oregon, Arizona, Washington, California, Florida, Wyoming, and Delaware all claim home to this solid, archaic timber.  Whereas, moss agate occurs over much of the western United States, especially in Montana.

     With hundreds of varieties of world agate known, a compilation
of data on them would be voluminous, and beyond the scope of this article.  To assist us in our quest for varieties, Dr. Roger  Pabian, Professor Emeritus at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, has offered a free online database for your use at: http://csd.unl.edu/agates/agatepageintro.asp.   The Professor has been kind enough to offer us a taste here.  Just click on the default lookup location of Antarctica, and see Tony Newman’s polished pebble from McMurdo Sound.

Moss Agate; Photo by Michael Carlson

Agate Page Database taste:

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Ocean Jasper, Madagascar
Jean-Baptiste Silla, Stephanie Gregoire

Antarctic Agate, Tony Newman

Turnberry Beach, Scotland
David Anderson

     So now, I will touch upon some major global locales with a few pictures, just to fuel your
imagination.  International classic locations for agates in general include: Idar-Oberstein, Germany,
Scotland, Botswana, Brazil, Jamaica, Mexico, Canada, and Queensland, Australia. 

     Some important U. S. and Canadian places are: Montana, South Dakota, the Lake Superior
region (from Grand Marais, Minnesota to Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada), and British Columbia.

Agates from Beautiful Agates, Michael R. Carlson & Austen S. Cargill ©2005
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Queensland Agate, Australia       Botswana Agate, Africa   Brazil Agate

A Brief History of Agate Use & Collecting

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      From ancient times, fossil man has used agate for both
ornamentation and as tools.  As he progressed from flintknapping
to true lapidary work, he must have marveled over its possibilities. 
“Agate was discovered with the Stone Age man in France 20,000-
16,000 BC. The Egyptians used it prior to 3000 BC.”
[iii]

     Biblical scholars and historians can tell us that early Jewish
high priests would don a breastplate with inlaid precious stones,
one of the stones being agate (
Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary).[iv]  
The agate, called ‘shebo’, it means ‘flashes or streamers’.[v]

Agate Clovis Points, ca. 9,000 BC
National Museum of Natural History

     From its Mediterranean history, the Agate (Drillo) river basin was “[r]ich in agate and jasper
deposits, Roman invaders found precious stones in the area more than 2,000 years ago, and gems
continued to be found there until not too long ago.”[vi]

     Mithradates, ancient king of Pontus, was an agate enthusiast.  His collection amounted to up to
4,000 bowls.  What an agate aficionado!  This pursuit lasted from the time of the Byzantine Empire
to Renaissance royalty.[vii]

     In Medieval England, flint (agate’s relative) was employed as a plentiful building stone.  “Flint faced
walls with brick or sometimes stone bases, cappings, facing courses, piers, buttresses or corners are
frequently found in the towns, villages and farmsteads…”[viii]   Our agate would yet be too precious to
foot the bill.

     During the Renaissance, “[c]ameos are cut from stones, such as onyx or agate, where different
colors occur in layers. The background material is cut away, leaving the cameo design in relief.
Agate is one of the gemstones, that used in commesso, also called florentine mosaic. Commesso
is a technique of fashioning pictures with thin, cut-to-shape pieces of brightly colored, semiprecious
stones, developed in Florence in the late 16th century.”[ix]

     Around 1500 AD, Italian glassmakers successfully replicated agate in glass to suit the tastes
and pocketbooks of the merchant class. 
Calcedonio glass imitates the gemstone chalcedony, a
form of banded agate. Writing of Venice in 1500, Marcantonio Sabellico noted that ‘there is no kind
of precious stone that cannot be imitated by the industry of the glassworkers.’”[x]

     Many modern museums hold splendid examples, the Louvre in Paris, the Kunsthhistorisches
Museum
, Vienna, and the Corning Glass Museum in Corning, New York, for example.

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Brazilian agate carved bowl from Idar-Oberstein, Germany ©2005 Lawrence H. Conklin

     Today, modern lapidaries can use high-powered machines to make short work of carving.   From
slab-cutters to tile-cutters and motorized carving tools, the potential that the artist sees within the
stone can quickly arise by using these electric tools.   Polishers help him or her to finish the job
quite nicely.  (A bowl, for example, could be an enticing project.  Some modern finished bowls can
be seen at the Indiarockhounder.)

     Many clubs have formed all over the world just for this purpose.  Though there are still those who
prefer to knap flint and agate, decorative stone and jewelry work are the most popular pursuits using
agates.

The Lore of Agate

     Agate’s attraction goes beyond its visual beauty.  The noble nature of this stone lends towards
the giving of attributes of power, far above that of social status via ornamentation.  The ancients
believed that agate would protect the soldier in battle, make oneself invisible, or even to heal
wounds.
[xi]

     Today, some folks attribute metaphysical properties to it.  For others, it bespeaks of opulence.

     As mentioned earlier, agate lends itself to a religious significance.  From being sacred to the
earliest toolmakers, to acting as vessels for ceremonies, agate foot the bill.  Scholars might even
speculate that the Holy Grail was indeed crafted of agate, as it was of common usage in ancient
Roman times. 

     In fact, today we may choose to offer a gift of agate to our spouse on his or her wedding
anniversary.  Traditionally, any agate will work in the celebration of the 12th year of marriage;
whereas, moss agate is appropriate for the 14th.  I know this because I once sold agate this way
as a fine jeweler. 

     Though the focus of this article is to appeal to the hobbyist and collector, a little ‘supernatural
storytelling’, based in historical truth, might help us towards our appreciation of this natural wonder. 
All told, with the greatest respect to our ancestors and metaphysicians, of course.

     “In Greece, the power of agate was considered so strong that Orpheus is depicted as carrying
agate on his descent into Hades. Agate was thought to assist in finding hidden treasures, increase
happiness, build confidence and bring victory. In Persia, agate was worn to confer eloquence.”[xii]
And, ancient magi used it to turn away storms.  It purportedly protected the wearer from thirst,
fever, and insomnia.[xiii]

     Social status was derived from the ownership and use of premium household items.  “The
Romans had a taste for luxury tablewares, especially vessels made from semi-precious stones,
gold, and silver. Vessels carved from various forms of chalcedony, especially agate, were the
most popular.”[xiv]  A Romano-Egyptian agate bowl of age 1-200 AD [72.A1.38], in the J. Paul Getty
Museum of Los Angeles, California, speaks volumes to agate's beauty and use.

     Today, you can buy an heirloom piece to experience this opulence.   For example, Orpheus Art
online offers a Parthian Agate finger ring (~ 200 AD) for a modern price.

     A prize in the Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia is a snuffbox of Frederick the
Great (circa 1765), Berlin, Germany.  It is finely crafted from agate, gold, rubies, cut diamonds,
jade chased and engraved.[xv]   

     In recent times, much of the carved agate goods for trade were made in the cutting center of
Idar-Oberstein, Germany.  Since about 1497, the Nahe River was used to power their grinding
wheels.  With the exhaustion of local commercial material, they plied their trades upon fine
Brazilian stock.  Cameos and decorative vessels were made in the region since the Renaissance
desire for these carved products were demanded, and still produced today.[xvi]

     Later in this article, I will introduce you to some German agate connoisseurs, who have been
instrumental in making this work possible.

Where can Agates be found?

     Agates can be found on every continent, nearly every country, and in most of the United
States (28 states)
[xvii]  Yes, strangely enough, a specimen has been found at McMurdo
Station, Antarctica!  (see: above)

     You don't have to be a globe trekker or an Antarctic explorer, though, to enjoy the find of an
appealing agate.  If you have the fortune of collecting grounds in your area, so much the better.
My correspondence with two German collectors has shown me that there are still prized
specimens yet to be had there. 

     A Scottish collector, Mary Young of the Scottish Mineral & Lapidary Club, has told me that
Scotland holds yet some treasures, but permissions from farmers and quarry owners is harder
to come by these days.  That seems to be a commonality, usually based on insurance and
liability claims from the land owners.  In my experience, many folks are still likely, on occasion
to allow the occasional rockhound access.  Most report good experiences with guests on their
properties.

     One way to not wear out our collective welcome would be to join a local club or society.
A rock quarry, for example, might require more of an effort to obtain the privilege.   With the
appropriate insurances, signed release forms, and the club's good reputation, we could enjoy
the fellowship of the hunt, all to everyone's success.

     If you prefer, trading with agate enthusiasts can work to mutual advantage.  Silver picking
works, as well.  Depending on where you live, various rock, mineral, fossil, and gem shows
can offer you a vast assortment of material assembled under one roof.

     If you surf the Internet, online vendors and auction houses might suit.  Don't forget your area's
rock shop, museum store, or jewelry & gift stores.  If you hint, perhaps someone will surprise you
with a gift of agate.

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Delaware Mineralogical Society March 2004 Show

Polished Agates by Alec McCreadie,
The Scottish Mineral & Lapidary Club
from their "At Home" event

Agateers

     What does it take to become an ‘agateer’?  Well, only to the desire to do so is this author’s
definition.  To be a writer, you write.  To be a swimmer, you swim.  Agateering is no different.  An
experienced agateer can distinguish agates from different locales—and there are many. The engaging
stories of a couple of well-known folks, one local, one global, I believe, could motivate you to learn
more.

Local Agateer

     Robert Proctor, Professor of History at Penn State University, trekked to the Agate (Drillo) River
in Sicily in 2001 to seek the source of the agate’s namesake.  In an
article by Nancy Marie Brown,
called “The Agateer”, Dr. Proctor ventures to collect from the ancient home of our favorite stone.  His
collecting story is an inspiring read.

Herbert Hoover, American President, agate collector
    
hhoval-small.gif (3978 bytes)      Herbert Hoover collected agates around his West Branch, Iowa boyhood home. 
As a ten-year old boy, Mr. Hoover scouted the grounds around his home for the rare
treasure where, “…
on industrious search, you discovered gems of agate and fossil
coral which could with infinite backaches be polished on the grindstone. Their fine
points came out wonderfully when wet, and you had to lick them with your tongue
before each exhibit.”[xviii]
     Our 31st President started his early career as a mining engineer, after having graduated from 
Stanford University in 1895 with a geology degree—the only geologist to become an American 
President.[xix] [xx]  Today, Iowa’s Geode is the official state rock.

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     In addition to this mid-western state, agate 
occurs on about 27 others.[xxi]  Professor Proctor 
states that he had hunted agates in many of them.  
One wonders if Mr. Hoover made opportunity to 
search in his travels as 
an adult.

Iowa Agate Geode from author's collection

Grounds for Agateering
     Eight states have deemed agate either their official rock, mineral, or gemstone.  They are:
[Gemstone] Nebraska - Blue agate, South Dakota - Fairburn agate, Kentucky - Fortification agate, 
Louisiana – Agate, Minnesota - Lake Superior agate; [Mineral] Montana – Agate, Arizona - Fire 
agate; [Rock] Nebraska - Prairie agate, Tennessee – agate.[xxii] 
     Some states have neither, such as, New Jersey, Ohio, Mississippi, Maine, and Utah.[xxiii]
     Perhaps some of you, who would like your state to have Agate as your official mineral, could 
do so by suggestion through a teacher, school, or even your local rock club.  Drafting a campaign 
letter is a good start to declare your interest in having an official state rock, mineral or gemstone 
be made.  Though, it is necessary that agate may be found in your state.
     So, collecting opportunities abound.  Many books, websites, and clubs specialize in agate.  
To find out more, check the Suggested Reading area below.  Also, please visit the websites 
cited in this article.  There is a wealth of information out there for your search. From a recent 
keyword search, I found about 852,000 hits for webpages that key to “agate”.  If you are keyed 
to agate, there is a lot on the Internet for you.[xxiv]

What’s in a name?

     The original place of agates, as we know them today, is in the Achates (now Drillo) River 
in Sicily.  The word ‘agate’ comes from the ancient Greek ‘agathe’, meaning ‘good’.  The proper 
name, ‘Agatha’ derives from this classic term.[xxv]
     The Romans made it ‘achates’ in Latin, much like the German ‘achat(e)’ of today.[xxvi]  In an 
historic reference, the waterway “[s]o called, says Pliny (xxxvii. 10), from Acha’ts or Gaga’tes, 
a river in Sicily, near which it is found in abundance.”[xxvii]
     A famous Agatha is renowned mystery writer, Agatha Christie.  I wonder if Pliny knew any 
‘Agathas’.  I digress.

The word ‘agate’ has been translated into many 
languages over time.  Here are a few:

Agate in translations[xxviii]

German = Achat, Achate
French = agate
Spanish = ágata
Greek = achatis, akhates
Latin = achates
Italian = agata
Dutch = agaat
Polish = agat
Etaco.com “Online Dictionaries”. 
[Many languages used]. 24 Jan. 2005 
<http://www.ectaco.com/online/>

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Mexican 'ágata'

Photo by Michael Carlson ©2005

    

Agate Names in Geography since ancient times

     Some places have ‘toponomic’ names (from a prominent geographic or geologic feature), such
as
Agate Beach in Newport, Oregon and the Agate Cove Inn in Mendocino, California; both overlook
the Pacific Ocean.  Agates occur in Oregon, however, may no longer be collected from Agate Beach
in deference to beach erosion and preservation.  I found that out by visiting there; the area is posted
for no collecting.  And the Agate Cove Inn has no agates, only a great view.  I did find an Agate Inn
in Wasilla, Alaska, however.  If you visit, it has agates!  If you want to live in a town called “Agate”,
there is one in Colorado, Population: 364.  Are there agates there?  Well, you will have to explore
for yourself.

     Some towns hold annual festivals.  Moose Lake, Minnesota holds “Agate Days”.  They have been
celebrating their local Lake Superior Eye Agate for over 35 years.  A fun event there is the “Stampede”. 
In this event a dump truck unloads tons of rock mixed with some prized agate and quarters.  A true
treasure hunt—“finder’s keeper’s”.

     Other places with ‘Agate’ in their name can fool us, yet be of interest to rockhounds.  For example,
the Agate Fossil Beds National Monument in Nebraska is one.  Few agates, per se, lots of fossils;
it is worth a trip. If you want to mail a postcard from your trip to any agate-named place, you could
use a postage stamp with an agate picture.  Many have been produced.  The  Gem, Rock, and Mineral
Postage Stamps Featuring Agate
page will show you a few.  Richard Busch offers this site to those of
us who want to know more about “Philatelic Mineralogy”.  Sadly, no current U. S. issue is available for
use.  Perhaps you would like to suggest an agate stamp to be commissioned from the U. S. Postal
Service.  If so, write to the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee, or your country’s postal authority. 
If chosen, it may take some time before the stamp is printed, distributed, and ready for you to use.

Modern Lapidary

     Lapidaries from around the world work their native spun agates into incomparable works of
art--as no two bits are alike.  Unless, of course, you count the popular mirror-images cut from
the same piece of agate!

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Huber Collection ©2005

Huber Collection ©2005

     Everything from bookends and thin slab lamps to beads, jewelry, and marbles (“aggies”) can
grace the picking tables and collections of agate connoisseurs.  If we were playing marbles, and
using ‘aggies’, we could play for ‘funsies’ or ‘keepsies’.  How about it?

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"Aggies" by Arthur Nicholson More Marbles Large slabs, Idar-Oberstein

Phtotos by Mary Young ©2002
     Historically, “[t]he cutting and staining of agates has long been centered at Idar-Oberstein, 
Germany.”[xxix]
     Today, some folks like to cut & polish big slabs in their diamond-bladed rock saws to reveal 
a cross-section of its inner beauty.  Others choose to take smaller pieces to create cabochons, 
beads, and jewelry.  A select few are into shaping perfectly round spheres from bumpy blocks 
from this banded wonder.  This is challenging, yet yields reward of enjoyment by many.  
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Agate slices window panes
Betty Young's cabs, 2004 Alex Bannerman, Lapidarist
Events of The Scottish Mineral & Lapidary Club, Photos by Mary Young & Arthur Nicholson
     This author has tumbled and knapped, and has a healthy respect for the skill and patience 
required to perform these and all lapidary tasks.  
 

Interviews & Featured Agate Collectors

     This next section offers some interesting stories of agate collectors around the world.  

Karen Brzys

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I was fortunate to find Karen Brzys, Curator of the Gitche Gumee Agate and History Museum
in Grand Marais, Michigan, and author of the book “Understanding and Finding Agates”.  She
agreed to an interview:

How did you come to know and love agates?
“I used to hang out at the Gitche Gumee Agate Museum with the founder, Axel Niemi, when 
I was a child.  Since I had damage to my optic nerve from too much oxygen in the incubator 
when I was born premature, my eyesight did not develop  until I was 10.  My grandparents and/or 
parents would drop me off at the museum and I would listen to Axel's stories, agate teachings, 
and impromptu musical performances.  I am convinced to this day that when my eyesight started 
to improve, the examination of agates helped the optic nerve to develop even further.  I have been 
a rockhound ever since.”
What was your most fun experience with agates?
“Re-opening the museum on July 4, 1999 and interacting with over 20,000 people who have visited 
the museum since.  I have a box of agates and other great specimens called "the wowser box."  
I just love it when people say wow and can't believe the beauty of the wowser rocks.”
What else would you like to share with our readers on the subject?
“In this fast paced world that we live in, we can leave our stress behind when we hunt for agates 
and other minerals.  I am glad that I can carry on Axel's legacy and help people to learn about 
rocks and minerals, and to escape their responsibilities even if it is for short periods of time.”
 

Mary Young

     Mary Young is the Membership Secretary of The Scottish Mineral & Lapidary Club, in Edinburgh, Scotland.  She was kind enough to offer and provide photos of her club’s “At Home” event.  She even took some Scottish agate pictures especially for us!

     She uses a Kodak DC240; her husband likes the Nikon Coolpix 950.  She has shared
photographing her club’s event with another fellow club member, and lapidary, Arthur Nicholson.

     Mary tells me that Arthur makes “spheres of various materials including some Scottish agate.  
Arthur Nicholson, one of our members, made all these spheres using the equipment at our 
Club - saws and grindstones take them to rough shape, the final shaping done on cups attached 
to the central spindle of our horizontal laps.”  Arthur also lives in Edinburgh.
     Her fellow club members are mineral enthusiasts, some amateur lapidarists, who specialize in 
sphere-making, cabochons, and jewelry crafts.  Just like many rockhounds or ‘fossickers’ recount 
interesting stories of their finds, her fellow member Avril “could probably tell me where she found it - 
within a hundred yards.”  (see: below)
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  (Left: Cabs & Jewelry crafted by Avril and her fellow club members; Right: Agate map of Scotland)

     Historically, Scotland abounded in sharp-banded wonders.  Recently, Mary told me that her
native stones are hard to come by, as farmers and quarry owners are reticent to grant permissions
these days.  In Scotland, they have adventures in 'agate hunting
'; whereas, the occasional term 'fossicking' is sometimes used (borrowed from Australian collectors).  Much of her club’s lapidary work is enjoyed with the classic German Idar-Oberstein and Brazilian stock.  That makes projects lapped by her club even more exotic and appealing today.  Thanks, Mary.

  Mary Young slide show (Internet Explorer)
Mary Young slide show (Netscape)

[Best viewed in "Full Screen" or "F11"]


 

Robert Huber

     Robert and Ursula Huber have been specializing in the collection of agates since 1991.   Living
in Oppenau, Germany, they are fortunate enough to have a natural source of agates in or near their
backyard!  Robert loves to photograph his collection, and has posted his website dedicated to
‘achate’ (German for agate).  His site is in German.  If you read German, all the better.  If not,
his pictures are wonderful to browse.

     Usually, the agates are named for places.  Most of his captions speak of the placename.  For
example, at the bottom of his homepage, you will see “Achat aus Baden-Baden”.  This translates
to “Agate from Baden-Baden [Germany]”.

a_a_Kwk.jpg (50199 bytes)

BUCHW_BAGGER.JPG (97861 bytes) DCP_0222.JPG (346745 bytes)

Agate from Baden-Baden

Halbkugel (Hemisphere) from Buchwald The Hubers' Collection

     Robert and I corresponded over the last few weeks.  He trying out his school English, and I
fumbling over my high school German and online dictionary.  Despite the language difference, our
common interest in agates guided us to the work you will see here.  (And, yes, Robert did agree
to send some extra photos that you may not see on his website.)

     For more German agates, check out his Links zu unseren Mineralienfreunden, or “Links
to/for our Mineral-friends” page.  Also, check out his slideshow: Internet Explorer or Netscape.

Robert Huber Agate slide show (Internet Explorer)
Robert Huber Agate slide show (Netscape)

[Best viewed in "Full Screen" or "F11"]

     Thanks to Roger Lang, German mineralogist for the introduction.  Roger is a collector and
family man living and collecting in
Rhineland-Palatinate.  His website (German/English) is at: Montanpark—Minerals, Crystals and More.

Club, Collector & Vendor Sites

U. S., Canada & Mexico
Gitche Gumee Agate and History Museum
Beautiful Agates
Rocks for Kids
36th Annual Agate Days at Moose Lake, Minnesota, Pictures of Agate Days
The Agate Page and Database
Kentucky Agate Museum
Red Top Mountain Cliffs, Washington
Float Trips on the Yellowstone (Montana Moss Agate)
Four Corners Dendritic Agate (California)
Fire Agate, Turtle Mountain, Needles, CA (BLM Land)
Klinker Precious Opal Deposit, Vernon, BC, Canada
Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona
Scotland
Mary Young’s Scullomie Pages/Minerals & Lapidary
The Scottish Mineral & Lapidary Club
Hamilton Currie’s Minerals of Scotland “Scottish Agates” Page
Chris Harlow’s Scottish Agate site
Terry Moxon’s Agate website
Scottish Agates by David G. Anderson
  
Germany  (These sites are in German.  The pictures are fantastic!)
Achate-Schwarzwald  (Robert and Ursula Huber)
Montanpark—Mineralien Krystalle und mehr.. 
(Roger Lang, Mineralogist and Collector, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany)  
Montanpark—Minerals, Crystals and more... (Roger Lang, English version)
Herbert Jäckal: Mineralien und Schmuck
Mineralogisch-Geologischer Arbeitskreis Saar e.V.
Max Kern’s Mineralien Photo Ausstellung



Some German words to assist you[xxx]:
Achat = agate
Sammlung = collection
Mineralien = minerals
halbkugel = hemisphere
farbig  = colorful
bagger  = excavator
ecken = corners
fels = rock

Source:  www.quickdic.org


b8.jpg (50337 bytes)
German Agate
Mineralien aus Steinbach bei Lebach (Saar)
Minerals of Steinbach by Lebach (Saar)
Herbert Jäckel Collection
Photographer, Wolfgang Niesen
Mineralien und Schmuck
Holland
Rare Dutch Agates
Rayer-minerals.com (European locales)

Article Contributors

Karen Brzys, Author, Owner & Curator, Gitche Gumee Agate and History Museum (photos, interview)
Mary Young, Membership Secretary, The Scottish Mineral & Lapidary Club (photos, info)
Robert & Ursula Huber, Collectors & Connoisseurs of German agates; Schwarzwald Agate (photos) 
Roger Lang, Mineralogist; Montpark—Minerals, Crystals and More 
(who introduced me to the Hubers and to fine German agates)
Hamilton Currie, Author of website “Minerals of Scotland” (photos, text)
David G. Anderson, Author of website "Scottish Agates" (photos)
Michael R. Carlson, Author of “The Beauty of Banded Agates”, co-owner Beautiful Agates (photos)
Austen S. Cargill, co-owner Beautiful Agates (photos)
Roger K. Pabian, Research Geologist, Emeritus, Conservation and Survey Division, 
University of Nebraska-Lincoln; The Agate Page and Database (agate database and photos)
Herbert Jäckel, Mineralien und Schmuck; Photographer, Wolfgang Niesen (photos)
Lawrence H. Conklin, Mineralogist, New York (agate bowl picture)
Karen Richards, The Jewelry Source, Chicago (quote from text)
The Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia (snuffbox)
United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management & National Park Service
Smithsonian Institution and the National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D. C.


Suggested Reading

“Understanding and Finding Agates” by Karen Brzys

“The Beauty of Banded Agates” by Michael R. Carlson

“Fairburn Agate – Gem of South Dakota” by Roger Clark

"Banded Agates, Origins and Inclusions" by Roger K. Pabian and Andrejs Zarins

 

“The River Runs North – A Story of Montana Moss Agate” by Tom Harmon

 

KEN.JPG (31503 bytes)

   About the Author:  Ken is current webmaster of the Delaware Mineralogical Society.  He has a diploma in Jewelry Repair, Fabrication & Stonesetting from the Bowman Technical School, Lancaster, PA, and worked as jeweler.  He has also studied geology at the University of Delaware.  And, he is currently a member of the Delaware Mineralogical Society and the Franklin-Ogdensburg Mineralogical Society.  E-mail: kencasey98@yahoo.com.

Webliography

Brzys, Karen. “What Is An Agate?”. Gitche Gumee Agate and History Museum Pages.
Grand Marais, MI. 26 Jan. 2005
<
http://www.agatelady.com/Agate_Basics_Part_1.htm#WhatIsAnAgate>

Dictionary.com. “moss agate” definition/links. 27 Jan. 2005
<http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=moss%20agate>

“Origin and History of Stones/Agate”. Semiprecious.com. 27 Jan. 2005
<http://www.semiprecious.com/Origin_history.htm>

Dictionary.com. “Agate” definition/links. 27 Jan. 2005
<http://dictionary.reference.com/search?r=2&q=Agate>

Barnett, Richard S. “The Gold of That Land: Rocks and Minerals in the Bible: Page 2”. 
13 Jun. 2004. 27 Jan. 2005
<http://www.biblicalgeology.com/Biblical%20minerals/page%202%20agate.htm>

Yonick, Deborah A. “ICA Postcards from Idar-Oberstein”. 26 Jan. 2005
<http://www.gemstone.org/gem-features/feature_intergem-2003.html>

Richards, Karen. The Jewelry Source. “Agate Page”. 25 Jan. 2005
<http://www.karenrichards.com/AgatePage.html>

East Herts Council. “Planning Issues: Flint and Flint Wall Repair”. 28 Jan. 2005.
<http://www.eastherts.gov.uk/guidnote/flint/introduction.htm>

Corning Museum of Glass. “Beyond Venice”. Calcedonio ewer, 2001.3.56. 26 Jan. 2005
<http://www.cmog.org/index.asp?pageId=999>

GemMax. “Stone Information: Stones from around the globe: Agate”. 24 Jan. 2005
<http://www.gem-max.com/StoneInformation.html

Pastore, Thea and Hoffman, George. Silverbirds Jewelry. “Tree Agate”. 25 Jan. 2005
<http://www.silverbirds.com/Sbwebv20/stonedoci_2.htm>

The J. Paul Getty Trust. “Explore Art: Bowl”. Unknown
Romano-Egyptian, Egypt, A.D. 1 - 200
Agate. 72.AI.38. 2004. 27 Jan. 2005
<http://www.getty.edu/art/collections/objects/o8006.html>

State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia. “Snuffbox of Frederick the Great, Circa 1765.
Berlin, Germany. Agate, gold, rubies, cut diamonds, jade chased and engraved. 25 Jan. 2005
<http://www.hermitagemuseum.org/html_En/04/b2003/hm4_1_24_6.html>

Mineralmatrix.net. “Agate”. The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 8th ed., Columbia University
Press, 2004. 25 Jan. 2005         
<http://www.mineralmatrix.net/agate.html>

Pabian, Roger K. “The Agate Page”. Conservation and Survey Division
University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 12 Jan. 2004. 27 Jan. 2005
<http://csd.unl.edu/agates/agatepageintro.asp>

National Park Service, Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum. “Curriculum Guides
for Education: Herbert Hoover: A Boyhood in Iowa”. 17 Jul. 2004. 27 Jan. 2005
<http://hoover.archives.gov/education/boyhood.html>

National Park Service, Herbert Hoover National Historic Site, Hoover Complex- West Branch,
Iowa. Main Page. 7 Jan. 2005. 26 Jan. 2005
<http://www.nps.gov/heho/emain.htm>

National Park Service, Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum. “Curriculum Guides
for Education: Herbert Hoover: Chronology”. 28 Jul. 2004. 28 Jan. 2005
<http://hoover.archives.gov/education/chronology.html>

Roseville Rock Rollers. “Official State Gemstones/Rocks/Minerals”. 2005. 25 Jan. 2005
<http://www.rockrollers.com/features/states.html>

Yahoo! Search. “agate”. 26 Jan. 2005
<http://search.yahoo.com/search?p=agate&fr=FP-tab-web-t&toggle=1&ei=UTF-8>

Baby Name World. Name Origin: “Agatha”. 2003. 25 Jan. 2005
<http://www.babynameworld.com/a-girl.asp>

PBS/Nova Online. “The Diamond Deception”. “Agate”. Nov. 2000. 25 Jan. 2005
<http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/diamond/gp01agate.html>

Bartleby.com: Great Books Online. “Agate”. Original source: Brewer, E. Cobham
(1810–1897) Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, 1898. 26 Jan. 2005
<http://www.bartleby.com/81/301.html>

 Etaco.com “Online Dictionaries”. [Many languages use]. 24 Jan. 2005
<http://www.ectaco.com/online/>

Quickdic.org. Free online German dictionary. 24 Jan. 2005
<www.quickdic.org>

 

Photo & Graphics Credits

I would like to gratefully acknowledge the generous contributions of our fellow agateers, collectors,
authors, curators, and club members who made this work possible.  Thanks.

© 2005  All contributions to this article are covered under the copyright protection of this article
and by separate and several copyright protection(s), and are to be used for the sole purposes of
enjoying this scholarly article.  They are used gratefully with express written permission of the
authors, save for generally-accepted scholarly quotes, short in nature, deemed legal to reference
with the appropriate citation and credit.Reproduction of this article must be obtained by express
written permission of the author, Kenneth B. Casey, for his contributions, authoring, photos, and
graphics.  Use of all other credited materials requires permission of each contributor separately.

Endnotes

[i] Karen Brzys “What Is An Agate?”. Gitche Gumee Agate and History Museum
Pages. Grand Marais, MI. 26 Jan. 2005
<http://www.agatelady.com/Agate_Basics_Part_1.htm#WhatIsAnAgate>

[ii] Dictionary.com. “moss agate” definition/links. 27 Jan. 2005
<http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=moss%20agate>

[iii] “Origin and History of Stones/Agate”. Semiprecious.com. 27 Jan. 2005
<http://www.semiprecious.com/Origin_history.htm>

[iv] Dictionary.com. “Agate” definition/links. 27 Jan. 2005
<http://dictionary.reference.com/search?r=2&q=Agate>

[v] Richard S. Barnett. “The Gold of That Land: Rocks and Minerals in the Bible:
Page 2”.  13 Jun. 2004. 27 Jan. 2005
<http://www.biblicalgeology.com/Biblical%20minerals/page%202%20agate.htm>

[vi] Yonick, Deborah A. “ICA Postcards from Idar-Oberstein”. 26 Jan. 2005
<http://www.gemstone.org/gem-features/feature_intergem-2003.html>

[vii] Karen Richards. The Jewelry Source. “Agate Page”. 25 Jan. 2005
<http://www.karenrichards.com/AgatePage.html>

[viii] East Herts Council. “Planning Issues: Flint and Flint Wall Repair”. 28 Jan. 2005.
<http://www.eastherts.gov.uk/guidnote/flint/introduction.htm>

[x] Corning Museum of Glass. “Beyond Venice”. Calcedonio ewer, 2001.3.56.
26 Jan. 2005
<http://www.cmog.org/index.asp?pageId=999>

[xi] GemMax. “Stone Information: Stones from around the globe: Agate”.
24 Jan. 2005
<http://www.gem-max.com/StoneInformation.html>

[xii] Thea Pastore and George Hoffman. Silverbirds Jewelry. “Tree Agate”.
25 Jan. 2005
<http://www.silverbirds.com/Sbwebv20/stonedoci_2.htm>

[xiv] The J. Paul Getty Trust. “Explore Art: Bowl”. Unknown Romano-Egyptian,
Egypt, A.D. 1 – 200 Agate. 72.AI.38. 2004. 27 Jan. 2005
<http://www.getty.edu/art/collections/objects/o8006.html>

[xv] State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia. “Snuffbox of Frederick
the Great, Circa 1765. Berlin, Germany. Agate, gold, rubies, cut diamonds, j
ade chased and engraved. 25 Jan. 2005
<http://www.hermitagemuseum.org/html_En/04/b2003/hm4_1_24_6.html>

[xvi] Mineralmatrix.net. “Agate”. The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 8th ed.,
Columbia University Press, 2004. 25 Jan. 2005   
<http://www.mineralmatrix.net/agate.html>

[xvii] Roger K. Pabian. “The Agate Page”. Conservation and Survey Division
University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 12 Jan. 2004. 27 Jan. 2005
<http://csd.unl.edu/agates/agatepageintro.asp>

[xviii] National Park Service, Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum. “Curriculum
Guides for Education: Herbert Hoover: A Boyhood in Iowa”. 17 Jul. 2004. 27 Jan. 2005
<http://hoover.archives.gov/education/boyhood.html>

[xix] National Park Service, Herbert Hoover National Historic Site, Hoover Complex-
West Branch, Iowa. Main Page. 7 Jan. 2005. 26 Jan. 2005
 <http://www.nps.gov/heho/emain.htm>

[xx] National Park Service, Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum. “Curriculum
Guides for Education: Herbert Hoover: Chronology”. 28 Jul. 2004. 28 Jan. 2005
<http://hoover.archives.gov/education/chronology.html>

[xxii] Roseville Rock Rollers. “Official State Gemstones/Rocks/Minerals”. 2005. 25 Jan. 2005
<http://www.rockrollers.com/features/states.html>

[xxv] Baby Name World. Name Origin: “Agatha”. 2003. 25 Jan. 2005
<http://www.babynameworld.com/a-girl.asp>

[xxvi] PBS/Nova Online. “The Diamond Deception”. “Agate”. Nov. 2000. 25 Jan. 2005
<http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/diamond/gp01agate.html>

[xxvii] Bartleby.com: Great Books Online. “Agate”. Original source: Brewer, E. Cobham
(1810–1897) Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, 1898. 26 Jan. 2005
<http://www.bartleby.com/81/301.html>

[xxviii] Etaco.com “Online Dictionaries”. [Many languages use]. 24 Jan. 2005
<http://www.ectaco.com/online/>

[xxx] Quickdic.org. Free online German dictionary. 24 Jan. 2005
<www.quickdic.org>

Invitation to Members

Members,

Want to see your name in print?  Want to co-author, contribute, or author a whole Mineral of the Month article?  Well, this the forum for you!

And Members, if you have pictures, or a story you would like to share, please feel free to offer.  We'd like to post them for our mutual enjoyment.   Of course, you get full photo and author credit, and a chance to reach other collectors, hobbyists, and scientists.  We only ask that you check your facts, give credit where it is due, keep it wholesome for our Junior Members watching, and keep on topic regarding rockhounding.

You don't even have to be experienced in making a webpage.  We can work together to publish your story.  A handwritten short story with a Polaroid will do.  If you do fancier, a text document with a digital photo will suit, as well.   Sharing is the groundwork from which we can get your story out there.

Our club's webpages can reach any person surfing the net in the world, and even on the International Space Station, if they have a mind to view our website!

We are hoping for a possible tie-in to other informative programs upon which our fellow members might want to collaborate.  Contact any officer or board member with your suggestions.

For February 2005, we have tied-in with this year's March Show theme: "The World of Agates." 

aniagate.gif (1920 bytes)

____________________________________

All of the Mineral of the Month selections have come from most recent club fieldtrips and March Show Themes, thus far.  If you have a suggestion for a future Mineral of the Month, please e-mail me at: kencasey98@yahoo.com, or tell me at our next meeting.

 

 

 

       

  


Next Meeting
 

April Program, Monday, April 8, 2013:

"Destruction of the Fossil Exposures in the Chesapeake Bay Area" presented by Dr. Lauck Ward

General Club Meeting:
April 8, 2013
(Monday)

We are meeting at
Greenbank Mill


Special Meetings:
 

*Show Committee Meeting, April or May, 2013

*New Home/Lapidary Committee, 2013

*Board Meeting,  April, 2013

Next Field Trips
 

Fieldtrips!

Past Fieldtrips
 

Next Show
DMS March Show
March 1-2, 2014 at DelTech Stanton

 


Our 2013 Show Theme was:
"All That Glitters is as Good as Gold!"

March Show 2013 Report

Updates!

 

 

 
Articles

 

Fossil Forum


"Dinny, the Dino"

"Belemnites are coming"

 

MOTM June also commemorates our 50th Show!

It's shiny, yellow, and is a symbol of 50 Years!Can you guess?

Past MOTM

Collecting Adventure Stories:

"Sunny Brook Crick Goethite" by Joe Dunleavy