Big Reopening in November

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The Agate Trader stores will be ‘On Vacation’ until November and this is why. For the past year I’ve been involved in the sale of a house I built back in 2000 that involved legal battles and lots of stress and the website has been open but not very active. My house finally sold just a few weeks ago, the funds are most welcome… and what does an avid agateer do then? Why go shopping for agates of course.

I am leaving in three days for a great rockhounding adventure that will last to mid October and then the website will undergo many changes. If you are on my mailing list you will receive emails that will announce offerings of new specimens, rock shows and other events.  Please add your name!

Any purchases made before noon Monday, September 17th, will be mailed out the next day and after that these stores will be ‘On Vacation’ until the big reopening early in November.

Upcoming Shows

Thom Lane with The Agate Trader shop at the Denver Gem and Mineral Show 2016.I will be a dealer at the Portland Regional Rock and Gem Show in Canby, Oregon, October 12th through the 14th.

I will also be showing in Tucson at the Hotel Tucson City Center for 12 days beginning January 25th, 2019 in Room 234.

Look forward to many fine new agates, jaspers, slabs, thundereggs, cabochons and more during the big reopening this November.

My best regards,
Thom Lane
The Agate Trader

Arizona Round Mountain Agates

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An offering of the rare Arizona Antique Pink agates from the collection of Grant Curtis will open Sunday, May 20th, at noon, EST. The sale will take place at The Agate Trader.

This is the second of a series of 3 offerings of rare banded agates from Arizona. The names and locations are:

Night Sky bed                       Mulligan peak near Clifton, Arizona
Arizona Antique Pink         Round Mountain, Arizona, near Lordsburg, New Mexico.
Chimney Bed                        Near Fourth of July Butte, Buckeye, Arizona

Grant Curtis’ father was a mining engineer at Phelps Dodge and he liked to collect agates with his son starting when Grant was only seventeen. Now at 70 Grant still actively prospects, mines, cuts and polishes his discoveries. He shares his vast knowledge of Arizona agates as well as many others locations in the US and Mexico through his web store, The Agate Collectors Dream.

Have a great summer and add some fine agates to your collection when you can. I’ll be busy up in Oregon visiting the Prineville and Madras shows and selling at the Summerfest at the Rice Museum as well as the Portland Regional Show.

All the best,


Arizona Night Sky Agates

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Sunday, the 29th of April an agate offering will open at noon, EST, of the rare Night Sky agates from Mulligan Peak near Clifton, Arizona.

                                                   at:  The Agate Shop

To those familiar with Mulligan Peak agates (also known as Clifton agates) these large purple beauties may come as a surprise. The location was first described in a copy of The Lapidary Journal that came out about fifty years ago by Bessie Simpson and then the locations was lost. The article caught the eye of Grant Curtis who had begun collection on Mulligan Peak when he was 17. Her article gave two clues, that it was near a steep rock face and that there was a camp littered with rusting tin cans there. Grant was on the lookout for these two signs but there are many places up there that meet these conditions and the area is vast. Eventually he found it and at the time I was a regular visitor to his house. Even though it was not a large deposit the remarkable coincidence of all those events led to my obtaining these eleven specimens.

I hope you will be able to join the event,

Chinese ‘Fighting Blood’ Agates Sunday! Begins Noon, Eastern Standard Time, April 22

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Sunday can be a quiet day but I’ll do my best to make this one exciting.

Come to to visit my entertaining blog and branch to any of my six ETSY stores. Or go directly to The Agate Shop and the first thing you will see are 25 select Chinese agates.

The famous mines in Hebei, China, were permanently closed over two years ago. Top specimens like these are becoming rare, this is a special moment in agate history. They were discovered only about eight years ago 150 km northwest of Beijing.

An Easter thunderegg hunt

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Not every holiday is as enjoyable for adults as it is for the kids so for this Easter I’ve prepared a thunderegg hunt for Easter Day which should provide some adult fun for thunderegg collectors. I added 13 fine Lava Caps to The Thunderegg Shop and I hope you enjoy them.

Remember the list at the top of this page which allows you to enter any of my six shops. I’ve added some nice Condors to The Agate Shop for the banded agate crowd.

I’m looking forward to spending another summer in Oregon. I plan to have an entertaining little travel trailer I named Caboose to abide in or to travel around in this summer, it’s a Casita and very cozy.

I wish you all a good summer and hope your collection gives you and your friends a great place to connect with the beauty of the natural world,


The Portland Regional Show was a Winner!

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The front entrance to this old timey rock show
An entry worthy of a rock show with a long history, sign should say ‘Rockhound Country’

This show featuring primarily agate, jasper and thundereggs had the Oregon stamp of true Agateers: the dealers, customers and rock club memebers were real rockhounds. Events like this will pass on the rockhound heritage for many years to come. The show ran from Friday, October 13th to Sunday, fortunately for me 13 has turned out to be my lucky number.  Here is a view of the large interior the morning of setup day.

I spent the last five months in Oregon and met many fine Oregon agateers.
Here I am with Michael Murphy, a very expert collector.

Among the rockhounds I have known for many years is Joe VanCura. This summer he welcomed me to his home and he has the most amazing collection of thundereggs I’ve ever seen. He is also an outstanding lapidary and has been mining thundereggs for a very long time (for one so young).

All in all it has been a rockhounding experience to remember. I hope to go to the Niederworresbach show near Idar-Oberstein, Germany, in March. When I return, if the creek don’t rise, I will return for another five months in North Plains outside of Portland,  Command Central of the Rockhound Universe.

A Big Rock Show in Portland October 13 – 15th

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On Friday the 13th of this month the doors will open for the Portland Regional Rock and Mineral Show and some people say it’s the best yearly all agate and jasper show in the US. I’ve never been to this show before but I’ll post a report when it’s over.

I’ve been spending this summer west of Portland in Hillsboro which is where the show will take place. I was very happy to be included as a dealer and I’ve gotten some very nice pieces to add to my already large inventory. I went over to Denver and got fine Condors from Ana de los Santos and Mark Boche, the first really fine Polyhedroid I’ve seen for a long time and some nice Mexican and Moroccan agates… oh, on and on!

These are just a few of my striking new offerings, I hope you can join me.


Great Finds At The Denver Show

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I just returned to my summer home near Portland after spending four days at the Denver Gem and Mineral Show and it was wonderful. I added many new agates and they should arrive here tomorrow.

I had the pleasure of meeting Tomasz Praszkiera in the Merchandise Mart. Tomasz is the head of Spirifer Minerals and he told me they are no longer handling agates and just continuing as mineral dealers.  They were offering many fine Moroccan agates and Polish thundereggs.

Some early Lagunas and other Mexican agates came my way from Dr. John Leopold as well as the chance to select from his German collection.

I visited my friend Jeff Gallinger who had purchased the Hurst collection of German agates. I was surprised that there were two German collections to choose from since they are not easy to find.

Ana de los Santos and Mark Boche both provided choice Condor agates.

I was pleased to encounter Morrisonite slabs that the legendary miner, Jake Jacobitz, had sold to Betty Warrington in the late 1970s.

Polyhedroids were discovered in the dense jungles of Brazil in 1970 and mined briefly, the location was not found again and the available material is quite rare now. Imagine my surprise to find a real beauty.

Tom Wolfe Minerals has decided to stop carrying agate slabs to focus on cabochons and they were selling off some rare slabs such as wingate wash which delighted me.

I met many friends including Julian Grey, the director of the Rice Northwest Rock and Mineral Museum in Hillsboro, Oregon, and encountered the museum’s curator Leslie Moclock in the tent area outside the Coliseum.

These new agates will begin appearing in my stores at The Agate Trader in the next week or so.

I hope you have had a great summer and added some good agates to your collection.

70 Fine Slabs From 60 Years Of Collecting

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September 3rd, 2017

See them at The Slab Shop!

My passion for collecting fine agate and jasper slabs began early in my life when a neighbor began teaching me to cut cabochons. I became a professional lapidary in 1974 and still have a complete shop. As I searched for fine rough for my production I also kept an eye out for fine rare slabs which went into my collection. The time has come for me to find new homes for these pieces and I am offering these 70 ‘never seen’ slabs in that spirit.

There are jaspers from the US and agates from the US, Mexico and Madagascar. There are also Morrisonite jasper slabs and a collection of plume agates from the Bishop Ranch near Alpine Texas. The earliest are two slabs from The Agate Mine in Bloody Basin, Arizona which were purchased at the mine by Hans Gamma in 1952!

I hope you enjoy this unique offering.

Apache Agate, Ex Collection Roger Pabian


Picture Jaspers added to The Cabochon Store

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Fellow agateers,

I added two large offerings of Hans Gamma’s wonderful picture jasper cabs to The Cabochon Shop this May. Many of the cabochons are from rare jaspers and they are all identified. You can see pictures of all these varieties in Hans Gamma’s new book: Picture Jaspers of the Northwest. You can get a copy from Hans by visiting his website

I also posted eighteen Willow Creek jasper cabs in The Cabochon Shop. I cut them from an exceptional area in the deposit which was quickly exhausted. I liked it because the black strokes in the pale grey and tan backgrounds reminded me of the Sumi paintings made by Japanese Zen monks.

Now I’m settled in Oregon, my ETSY stores are open for business and new postings will be announced soon. Have a great summer,


A pillow cut cabochon
Owyhee Picture Jasper cut by Hans Gamma
large oval
a scenic desert beauty by Hans Gamma
Willow Creek Jasper Cab
Willow Creek cut by Thom Lane