I began collecting and mining minerals as a kid and majored in mining engineering for two years in the 1950’s. After exploring different fields of study I finally chose to take a degree in Philosophy in 1958. Upon graduating I took an interest in the computing field which was just beginning and  began a career in computing. It seemed a wise choice because at that point I had a wonderful wife and two children!

In 1974 my wife and I separated, a very sad time for us all.  I began searching for a way to combine making a living with my love of painting and my intense interest in the mineral kingdom. I discovered cutting cabochons and I realized it could be considered a branch of miniature painting, naturally my favorite cutting materials were the jaspers. I made my living in this fashion for twenty years but because jewelry did not interest me as much as collecting I felt more at home selling agates and jasper specimens to collectors. I never set material aside as being not for sale, it’s just that I protected my most treasured pieces with higher prices and then when they sold I could go out and buy something even better… dealers are often collectors at heart, a fairly innocent neurosis 🙂

Thom Lane with The Agate Trader shop at the Denver Gem and Mineral Show 2016.

I’ve supported myself selling specimens to collectors at rock venues such as Tucson, Denver, Madras, Hillsboro, Deming and Alpine. In 2014 I spent several months in Germany and was a dealer at the IAB near Idar Oberstein , at the Hormersdorf show in Saxony and at the Munich show.

Increased activity of the internet and assisted by my background in computing I began moving steadily through the development of several online stores. Now all these threads come together in this store and I hope you will have a good time exploring and shopping here.

Please see a more extensive biography in volume III of AGATE by Johann Zenz, available through The Gem Shop.

I have an extensive photographic collection of agates, jaspers, thundereggs, slabs, cabochons, and antique jewelry in my gallery, as well as some of my paintings.

My ETSY rock stores are The Agate Store, The Jasper Store, The Thunderegg Store, The Slab Store, The Cabochon Store, and The Jewelry Store.

Mining Experience

Some of my mining experiences include:

  • Poppy Jasper, Santa Clara County, California, 1946
  • Garnets, Jumping Sands National Monument, 1948
  • Lone Hill Thundereggs, San Jose, California 1950
  • Almandine garnet plates, New Idrias, California, 1953
  • The Benitoite Mine at New Idrias, California. 1953
  • Morrisonite deposit, 1994 -1996
  • Agua Nueva and Mi Sueno deposits, Rancho Agua Nueva, Mexico 2000, 2001, 2003
  • Graveyard Point. 2010, 2011