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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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)
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.
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.
In 2012 the Celebration of Agates in Minnesota gave me the chance to talk about plume agates and to show examples of some fine specimens from six different states in the western US.
To see fine plume agate slabs from my collection you should visit The Slab Shop.
To see the plume agate cabochons I have for sale please visit The Cabochon Shop. The Jewelry Shop is the place to shop for antique agate jewelry. There are rings and pendants set with Priday Plume cabochons.