The following are the business practices and policies of Thom Lane’s The Agate Trader site and company.

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

Since I have six separate ETSY stores you may make purchases from several different stores or you may come back to a store more than once and make more than one purchase. 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.


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. The copyright policy for images of specimens is public domain.  All other content except the videos may be quoted and referenced with a proper citation to the web page upon which it is featured. All such citations are welcome and appreciated. 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.


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