A gathering of agateers at Agate Corner, Hotel Tucson

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HELLO FELLOW AGATEERS, 

Here’s a group photo from the show at the Hotel Tucson. Andres Carillo (on the left below) brought me polished agates from the Coyamito ranch in Mexico and next to Andres is another friend, Joshua Ritter, who sold me some superb Fighting Blood agates from China. The rest of the group are also agate lovers.

In the next couple of days I’ll be opening a new offering in The Agate Shop with many new specimens from Mexico, China, Argentina and Morocco. One by one I’ll rejuvenate the rest of the stores in this order: jaspers, thundereggs, slabs and then cabochons.
 As I update each store I’ll be sending email announcements so please send your name and email address to info@theagatetrader.com. 

                                                   Peace,
                                                          Thom

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From left to right: Andres Carillo (Mexico), Joshua Ritter (Germany), Fady Kamer (The Netherlands), Ricardo Birnie (Argentina), Thom Lane (US), Hannes Holzemann (Austria), Dave Polson (US), Cedrine and Jerry Schaber (US)

The Agate Trader, Thom Lane, Opens in Room 278, Hotel Tucson, on the 25th of January

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I’ll be offering my slab collection and my cabochon collection for the first time! Of course I’ll have my agate, jasper and thunderegg specimen collections as well .

To make it easy to find Hotel Tucson and to find Room 278 I’ve put together three brief videos.

The easy way to find Hotel Tucson
https://youtu.be/mNvrM-ya4fI

Finding room 278 from the parking lot
https://youtu.be/AcwFkpJu-0k

Finding room 278 from the Lobby
https://youtu.be/PcUEkzICkHM

In room 279 right next door you can see fine agates from around the world with the Austrian dealer Hannes Holzemann and the German dealer Joshua Ritter, they are both world class agateers. We’ll be open for around two weeks!

                      Best wishes,
Thom, Hannes and Joshua

The Agate Trader Opens on January 25th at The Hotel Tucson

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Welcome to the Tucson Show!

Please visit Thom Lane in Room 278 of Hotel Tucson at the corner of Grenada and St Mary Road.  His room will be open starting January 26th for twelve days.

There will be lots of fine specimens of agates, jaspers and thundereggs from around the world as well as collector grade polished slabs and cabochons.

You can reach room 278 by going through the lobby out into what will probably be bright sunlight and bearing to the right. In about a hundred feet you will come to a volleyball court. At that point turn to the right and between the two buildings you’ll find a staircase to the balcony that faces the parking lot. Room 278 is the second room on the left. You can walk directly from the parking lot to the staircase as well

Visit my ETSY stores from this website to get an idea of the sort of material that will be for sale. I think this will be a very enjoyable time and I look forward to seeing old friends and meeting new agate fanciers.

Hannes Holzmann from Austria and Joshua Ritter from Germany, both world figures in the agate trade and good friends of mine, will be showing their agates next door in room 279 so be sure to visit them as well.

Shipping Policy at The Agate Trader’s 6 ETSY Shops

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The Agate Trader has the following shipping policy as of 12/10/2016

Since I have six separate ETSY stores you may make separate purchases from several different stores or you may come back to a store more than once and make more purchases. Every time you make a purchase ETSY will charge you another shipping fee. I am glad to ship multiple purchases in the same box and refund the extra shipping charges but I also try to mail items out on the same day so the refund depends on the items being shipped in the same box. You can ask me to hold your purchases for days or weeks if you plan to continue shopping and want to save on postage. My goal is to have the customer cover my costs of shipping and I will refund overcharges if multiple orders are shipped in one box. I try to notice when a customer makes multiple purchases so I can ship them in one box but the customer should be proactive in setting up combined shipping of multiple orders via email.

My method of boxing up specimens is safer and more elegant and costly than the bubble envelope that ETSY assumes I will use. The minor additional expense is worth it to me. When I pack even a single cabochon I use the same 8 x 6 x 5″ box. Each item is placed in a foam envelope with a hand written label and that is placed in a plastic bag. The bag or bags are packed in a bed of styrofoam peanuts. There is no charge for this service.

Shipping to customers in the US:

All boxes shipped to customers in the US are sent Priority Mail since it provides a tracking number which establishes that the box was shipped on a specific date and tracks its progress. I believe it has a guaranteed delivery of three days, I’ll check. The savings on first class are only a dollar or so and there is no tracking number and it’s slower. I want there to be a tracking number so I send orders Priority Mail.

Shipping to customers outside the US

For Customers outside of the US the high cost of shipping calls for some explanation of my shipping policy. Priority Mail International costs about twice as much as First Class Parcel International and here is what you get in each case:

First Class Parcel International: There is no tracking number so there is no way to find out if I even shipped your order and there is no guaranteed delivery date so you just have to wait and hope.

Priority Mail International: There is a tracking number but it only extends to the time the box leaves the US. At least there is documentation that your item was shipped and when it left the US. Delivery is guaranteed in 6 to ten days.

I have chosen to make Priority Mail International my default shipping profile and if you ask me to send an order First Class Parcel International I’ll do it and refund the amount that you were overcharged. I will also wish you ‘good luck’ since it is clearly a gamble on your part.

12/10/2016

 

 

 

 

The 2016 Agate EXPO in Wisconsin This Past July

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Here are a few photos of good friends at the 2016 EXPO, it was the best agate show of all times.

Back in my booth I'm with my new friend Chuck Mosher - Thom Lane
In the back of my booth with a new friend Chuck Mosher

Other good friends I saw were Jeffery Anderson, Veronica Woods, Uwe Reir, Holger Quelmaltz, Hannes Holzmann, Alan Meltzer, Pat McMahan, Eugene and Brent Stewart, Ana de los Santos, Joshua Ritter, Roger Clark, Lorie Peterson and Steve Wheeler to name just a few.

Most photos by my famous sidekick, Norman Eberhardt.

I must mention that Dr. Goetze was kind enough to allow me to make a selection of my favorite thundereggs from his outstanding exhibition of the agates of Saxony. I also obtained some fine Moroccan agates from Joshua Ritter and many other fine pieces which will be appearing in my stores.

Thom’s talk at the 2016 Agate EXPO About The Baker Mine and Thunderegg Genesis

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I had the priveledge of giving a talk on the Baker Ranch thunderegg deposit and the genesis of thundereggs at the EXPO Symposium on July 7th, 2016.

The presenters of this symposium, The Gem Shop, videotaped the proceedings and with careful editing produced a wonderful set of four DVD’s. This handsome set contains all twelve  presentations by many major figures in the agate world, a bargain for 99$! Find out all about it and order a copy for yourself at The Gem Shop.

Hans Gamma – Master of the World of Jaspers: Author, Collector and Artist

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I first met Hans Gamma when I was hanging out with Gene Mueller and Jake Jacobitz in the mid 1980’s at the desert rockshow in Quartzsite, Arizona. Han’s wife Esther took off to go rock snooping around the show with Jake’s lifelong partner Beverly Hardin and Hans joined us to talk jaspers.

Hans would often prospect with Jake and was building an amazing collection, one of the finest in the world, which he documented as only a Swiss gentleman would. The catalogue of his collection has photos of every important piece with the date he got it and the exact location of its origin and its number in the catalog is finely written in black ink on each piece.

Hans and Esther became interested in Jaspers when they began visiting from Switzerland in the 1950’s. They got a pickup truck and traveled around the western US collecting jaspers. In 1985 Hans retired from the family printing business and settled with Esther in the hills outside Phoenix where they raised their three daughters. Esther passed away in 2015 is sadly missed, she was a true lady. She was from an area in Switzerland not far from Hans birthplace and was working as a translator in Philadelphia when they met.

owyhee-jakeHans Gamma has always made his knowledge and collection available to the rest of us, a very great kindness. Many of the photos in Agates II and III in the section on Jaspers that he wrote at the request of Johann Zenz are from his personal collection. In 2011 Hans published his first book: Picture Jaspers, treasures of the Owyhee Area, Oregon. This book features over 75 recognizable varieties of picture jaspers from the Owyhee caldera and many of them were discovered by Hans’ close friend Jake Jacobitz. This book presents the many varieties and is also a tribute to Jake, they collected together in this area on numerous occasions. The specimens are all from Hans’ collection and the book shows Hans’ artistic eye.

In 2015 Hans published a second book with a wider scope: Picture Jaspers from the Northwest. This volume includes the jaspers from the areas of McDermitt, Blue Mountain, Bruneau Canyon and Willow Creek and has new locations added to the Owyhee area. Hans collection is so vast that none of the specimens in the first book were needed for his second! These books can be ordered from his website.

nwest-jaspersHan’s website, World of Jaspers, features jaspers from all over the world and is an introduction to the vast artistic resource of jasper. His website is an almost psychedelic experience on a par with the worlds great museums. His daughter Corinna participated in the design and implementation, they are a great team. In addition to being a museum of his visions in jasper it is also an orderly tour of the most beautiful jaspers from around the world, focusing of course on those from the western United States.

As a painter I enjoyed cutting Morrisonite more than any other lapidary material but when I saw Hans’ cabochons I realized I was in the company of a true artist.

He recently allowed me to acquire many of his morrisonite cabochons (above) and very fine collector slabs (below). Each one is a painting in stone. These pieces will be appearing in The Cabochon Shop and The Slab Shop. Having these historic pieces available to purchase is a unique opportunity.

I will always be grateful for the kindness of this gentle gentleman for the hours we have spent together, the education he has offered me and the beautiful specimens from him that are among my finest treasures.

Slab Collecting is a Great Opportunity for Collectors Today

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In the early days of rockhounding in America it seemed like there was an endless abundance of wonderful agates and jaspers. The hobby of making cabochons grew so large that it was second only to woodworking as the most popular hobby in the US. During that time the great agate discoveries were exploited freely and many were quickly exhausted. Beautiful material was usually cut into slabs and the slabs were used to produce cabochons. It is still possible to find slabs that were set aside by collectors or were never cut into cabochons but it was uncommon to cut a rock in  half and polish the face. Toward the end of that period I was making my living cutting cabochons but I was also a collector and a painter and when I saw a slab that was highly artistic I rarely cut it into cabs, it went into my slab collection.

Morrisonite, the king of Jaspers - Thom Lane
Morrisonite Jasper Slab

Those who wish to collect the fine early materials should recognize that for the moment it is still possible to collect fine slabs and they offer many advantages to a collector. They are easy to store and display and they are reasonably priced given their rarity and beauty. Slabs and half nodule specimens can be combined in a display with the heavier specimens in the foreground and slabs mounted on stands above and behind them.

A few dealers at today’s rock shows still offer fine polished slabs of the rare early materials but it is not often that one sees a specimen of great beauty that is a saw cut rock with a polished face.

Precision polishing of a flat surface requires special equipment and knowledge and that may have further lessened the interest in flat lapping during the cabochon era.

The Original Denver Gem Mineral Show – Sept 16-18 2016 Denver Mart

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On my way back from the Agate EXPO 2016 show in Wisconsin I began making inquiries about other shows since I had everything ready. I contacted the vendor manager and he told me that a dealer I’ve known in Tucson over the years, Tom Wooden, was retiring and his booth was available. I took it and when I arrived at the show I realized it was perfect.

Thom Lane with The Agate Trader shop at the Denver Gem and Mineral Show 2016.
The Denver show is a mighty fine show, and Ana de Los Santos had marvelous agates from Patagonia and China just down the aisle.

The show including setup day lasts only four days which gives me as many shopping and socializing days as I want, it turned out to be a great show. There were more serious local agate fans than in Wisconsin although the 2016 Agate EXPO was attended by many of the worlds executive collectors. The Denver show was inexpensive and much closer to Tucson. I’m saying all this because I plan to be at the show as long as the creek don’t rise. Please come see this great show for yourself in 2017!