I was a dealer at the Tucson Gem Show for two weeks. My room was in the Hotel Tucson (AKA The Inn Suites), the show of preference for many agate dealers.
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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. If you would like to be on my mailing list for announcements, send me a note on my contact page. I look forward to hearing from you.
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 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. 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. The customer should be proactive in emailing me about combining shipments.
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 5 x 4″ 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. 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 in the US byPriority Mail.
Shipping to customers outside the US
Priority Mail International costs about twice as much as First Class Parcel International so I choose the less expensive method. You can give me instructions to use other methods and you can ask for insurance but you will be charged the additional costs. If you accept First Class Parcel International without insurance I will have a receipt to show I sent the parcel but that is the limit of my liability.
First Class Parcel International: There is no guaranteed delivery date but there is a tracking number while the parcel is in the US.
Priority Mail International: There is a tracking number but tracking only extends until the box leaves the US. Delivery is guaranteed in 6 to ten days.
Here are a few photos of good friends at the 2016 EXPO, it was the best agate show of all times.
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.
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.
When I was a cabochon cutter in the late 1900’s I felt that plume agates were ideal for jewelry because most jewelers prefer to work on a smaller scale. Their frequent transparency and delicacy of pattern makes plume agates ideal for earrings, rings for the finger and so on. Here are some rings from my selection of antique agate jewelry in The Jewelry Shop that show how well suited plume agates are for fine jewelry.
I began to search for plume agates to cut but the ones I found seemed very rare and special to me and soon I decided I’d rather collect them than cut them. I was living near Boston in those years and the market there was more interested in precious opal, tourmaline and other boring stuff like that… it was frustrating because I preferred to cut cabs with pictures in them. As a result I still have my plume agate collection which after many years is now for sale.
I hope you will enjoy the talk I gave at The Celebration of Agates in Minnesota in 2012, it shows fine examples of plume agates from six different states in the western US.
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.
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.
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.
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!