The following are the business practices and policies of Thom Lane’s The Agate Trader site and company as of 10/1/2018

Shipping Policies

The Agate Trader is an integrated system of a WordPress site which allows easy access to six ETSY stores. Each store specializes in a different type of collectable microcrystalline silica specimens. These policies govern the entire complex as well as an emailing program using the Mailchimp platform.

ETSY stores shipping policies. Every time you make a purchase of one or more items ETSY will charge you a shipping fee. I have a standard charge set up in my ETSY stores for priority mail in the US and First Class International abroad. ETSY assumes I am shipping in a bubble envelope and I pack in a box that is much safer, it costs more but I don’t charge for it. If there are differences of over a few dollars I try to refund the overcharge. On shipments out of country please notify me if you feel you have been significantly overcharged within one week of receiving your parcel.

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. The customer is responsible for setting up combined shipping of multiple orders by email to theagatetrader@gmail.com, conversations are not acceptable. You can ask me to hold your purchases for up to 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. The customer is responsible for setting up combined shipping of multiple orders by email to theagatetrader@gmail.com, conversations are not acceptable.

My method of boxing up specimens is safer and more elegant than the bubble envelope that ETSY assumes I will use. The minor additional expense is worth it to me to make sure items arrive undamaged. 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.

Shipping to customers outside the US

For Customers outside of the US the cost of shipping by Priority Mail International is about twice as much as First Class Parcel International and since most customers prefer I use First Class. Since ETSY decides on a shipping charge at the time of each purchase I try to refund significant postage overages and you are free to choose priority mail and I will charge you the difference.

Returning an Item

Buying expensive items on the basis of a photograph is a bit of a gamble but you can set your mind at ease when buying from The Agate Trader. Any item you return in it’s original condition within 30 days will entitle you to a full cash refund including the shipping fee that you paid at the time of purchase. You will pay the return postage.

I make every effort to make my photographs represent the items correctly.

Criteria for Pricing

Like an art dealer, rock sellers work with clients to find pieces that satisfies their passions, needs, and specialization. There are no fixed criteria that determine the value of agates and jaspers. I am glad to share my thoughts on this topic but my business practice is simply that I try to find a fair price for the items I sell. On the other hand certain factors play a big role and I am glad to discuss them. For more information on pricing, see my article on what makes some rock specimens so expensive.


The content and images used here and on The Agate Trader store sites are copyrighted by Thom Lane. All content except the videos may be quoted if they are referenced with a proper citation to the web page upon which it is featured. All videos are the property of Thom Lane and The Agate Trader and may not be used or distributed in any way.


Thom Lane is a professional agate and jasper dealer and owner of The Agate Trader and publishes content on his site free of charge to the public except as noted in the copyright notice above. The content is his opinion and he is not compensated by other companies or agencies for that opinion.


The list we use to send emails announcing major additions of new material to our shops or our plans for being a vendor at upcoming shows and other activities is opt-in only. The Contact form requires your email address so we can respond but there is a check box that allows you to opt in to the mailing list. The information collected is for the marketing purposes of The Agate Trader and will not be shared or sold to other agencies and companies. There is an unsubscribe button on every email sent from our mailing list.

WordPress.com collects information as part of a visitor’s journey through this site. WordPress.com collects this information and provides it as web analytics to the site administrator and it does not include personal and private information and data, only browser-related data.


This site includes comments. The comment policy is simple: be nice to others and keep the conversation on topic and flowing. Trolls, bullies, and bad behavior will not be tolerated. The site administrator and his representatives have the right to edit and delete comment posts for non-compliance without notification.