Since I have not had time to implement a web page update for quite some time, I’ll include LOTS of customer agate finds. First, let’s start with one of my favorite agates found this summer. This candy striper was found by Andrea from Troy, MI.

Next is a Becky B from Pittsburgh, PA She found this ¾ pounder that has a carnelian center with white floater bands just to the left of the boardwalk right in town. Of course, the wind and waves were blowing for three days prior to her find, which helps to mix up and bring new rocks up the beach.

Bonnie (Singleton) Parker from Newberry, MI came by the Rock On agate show in Deer Park to show me her terrific finds. The one in the upper left looks like a Botswana, Africa agate, but Bonnie swears she found it on the Lake Superior beach. I totally agree that she did. It just goes to show you that when it comes to agates, there are no absolutes.

Claudia Wyrick from Rochester Hills, MI spent a good deal of time in Grand Marais agate hunting this summer. She brought in many unusual and splendid finds, including this terrific and rare sagenite agate. The picture shows the specimen after I face polished it.

Doreen Johnson and Rose Ritter both came by my booth at Muskallonge State Park to show me the water level and the 1.8 pound agate they found.

I don’t have a picture of Gary Darling, but here are a couple of shots of a 15 ounce agate he found east of Grand Marais.

Peggy from North Street, MI found this unusually round water level agate in the Grand Marais area.

Rebecca Reed from Kalamazoo, MI found this unusual specimen. Is it an eye agate? An unusual amygdaloidal basalt? A complex rock with miniature thunder egg formations?

Steve Hollingshead from Germfask, MI has been by a few different times. Pictured below is a 1.1 pound cherty agate, as well as a large owl-like silicified fossil, and a nice candy striper.

Last but not least is the nicest large agate I’ve seen this summer come off the local beach. Local resident, Cathy Goulet, was walking her dog down the beach when she saw this 1.33 pounder rolling in the pea gravel. It is a jasper agate, but it has incredible banding! I don’t have a picture of Cathy, but I was able to get a few shots of her incredible agate!



Since spring has sprung in Grand Marais, rockhounds have been out to hit the beach. Since I have not had time to do a web page in a while, I’ll include several agates for you rockhounds to drool over.

First I’ll start by featuring the agates found by my friend, Dan Kinney, who lives in the Soo. He backpacked from the mouth of the Two Hearted River west to Deer Park. He had intended on getting all the way to Grand Marais, but the weather turned cold and rainy and was not conducive to agate hunting. He didn’t find any huge agates this time, unlike most of his agate hunting adventures, but he found some wowsers. Here are a couple of group shots of his agates, as well as a close up of my favorite – a nice candy striper.

Next is a peeler Lake Superior agate found in Minnesota by Brad Huus from Duluth .

Herb and Wendy Confer from Owosso, MI visited the museum in late May to show me some of their finds. They also gifted my assistant, Candace, and me with a bottle of pure maple syrup. I’m sure Candace and her husband appreciated it as much as I did! They found over 40 agates, including one with an amethyst center fill.

Jeff Robbins from Lake City, MI also came by the museum. Below is a picture of a ¾ pound Lake Superior agate he found east of Grand Marais last August on an already picked-over beach.

Bryan Wolbrink and his wife from the Grand Rapids area showed off some of their agate finds. They both love visiting the south shore of Lake Superior to look for agates.

Last but not least is an email submission sent to me from Pam Rideout and Margi White. The photo is of agates they found in Washington state.


Early this fall I had a call from Shirley Schadle. She now lives with her husband in Grand Rapids, MI, but she grew up in Zambia, Africa. Her dad was a veterinarian there, so Shirley had a chance to look for agates near Victoria Falls as well as along the Luangwa River. She visited my booth at both the Mason and East Grand Rapids shows. When I saw the Zambia agates, I was struck by three things. First of all, many of them looked just like Lake Superior agates. I have said that before about some of the agates from Botswana, China, and Mexico – but this time the similarities are even more pronounced.

Second, there were a couple of the agates that look a lot like Botswana agates with pinks and grays. When I did some research to find out more about the genesis of Zambia agates, I found out that they formed in basalt pockets from plumes of hot magma that erupted to the surface of southern Africa between 177 and 185 million years ago. This type of plume is considered by geologists to be a “large igneous province” since it spread lava over an area more than 38,610 square miles in a short geologic period. What is interesting is that this same plume produced both Zambia and Botswana agates.

Third, I noticed that some of the agates appear to be polished. When I asked Shirley if she tumbled them, she emphatically said that she had not. Apparently there was diamond dust that naturally occurred in the river. As the agate nodules tumbled down the river carried by the currents, some of them were naturally polished by this diamond sand.

Below is a Zambia agate that not only looks like a Lake Superior eye agate, but it was also naturally polished by the diamond sand in the river

The next contribution to this web page update includes agates found by Lee Dane from Vanderbilt, MI. She goes agate hunting every chance she gets, most of the time between Crisp Point and Vermillion Beach, located on the southeastern shore of Lake Superior. Lee showed me the agates during a busy art show, but I was able to snap off a few pictures.


CUSTOMER AGATE FINDS: August and September 2010

There are several great agates to post in this month’s update. Let’s begin with a whopper 16 pound agate found decades ago by the grandmother of Paul Mihelcich near the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula, located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. She knew it was agate because of a fracture that exposed the banding. It has the typical pink paintstone color that is common in Keweenaw agates. She had it cut in half at the Seaman Mineral Museum. Paul still has both halves.

Next up is my friend, Denise Reitz from Interlochen, MI, who found an agate as well as a spirit stone. We call spirit stones any specimens that have a hole all the way through them. This is a perfect spirit stone that is ready to wear as a pendant. The agate was “glowing” at Denise as she walked on the beach in an orientation that allowed the sun to shine through the rocks.

One of the caretakers of the Point Iroquois Lighthouse, located in Brimley, MI, had success agate hunting. Roxanne Tobey, from Cedar Park, Texas, discovered the beauty of Lake Superior agates. She found a few on her own and then participated in one of the Gitche Gumee Museum’s rockhounding classes. Here are a few of her finds:

The next handful of agates was found by Rhonda Riebow from Dewitt, MI. She sent the photo as an email attachment with the following note:

My husband and I just returned from five days in the UP–we had a great time! We visited the Agate Museum and enjoyed it immensely. My husband was especially taken with the Shark and its history. I bought your new book while we were there…I had already found a couple little agates (one is an eye agate!) but learned to “think like an agate” and then found a bunch more. Our final day camping at Muskallonge Lake I made one final early morning sweep before packing up. Not 15 minutes before I had to leave the beach I found the big one (well, big to me) in my hand! I was so glad I opted to go to the beach one more time!!!

The last agate was found in the Grand Marais area by Joel Brussell, who was visiting from down state.


Summer is here so there have been a lot of customer agate finds. This first photo was sent to me from Jennifer Jackman. She and her husband love to agate hunt. You can see photos of their adventures at Pictured below is a nice agate they found earlier this summer in the Munising area.

The next agate was found by Shea Cullum at a gravel pit near Moose Lake, MN when we were there for Agate Days. Shea is the grandson of agate friends, Gerald and Jill Phillips. For his young age he is already a good agate hunter!

While at Moose Lake, Kate Terres from Minnesota came to my booth and asked me about a rock. As soon as I saw this wonderful tube agate, I asked her if I could put it on the web page.

I received an email from Rhonda Riebow a week or so ago. She and her husband, who are from DeWitt, MI, visited the museum and purchased the new agate book. In her email she said that the book helped her to “think like an agate,” after which she found a handful of agates in the Muskallonge Lake area, located 20 miles east of Grand Marais. She has sent the larger flat agate to me for face polishing.

The final agate featured this month is one found by Matt Kaufman. He and his family attended my agate lecture the other night. After I was done with the lecture, Matt came up to me and asked about a rock he had found east of Grand Marais. He found it in three feet of water just off shore and was not sure if he wanted to carry it back to the car. We are all glad that he did! There is botryoidal formation on one end, obvious pseudobands showing through the husk on top, a lot of translucent carnelian, and curlicue formation on the other end. Although there is not obvious concentric banding showing, it is still a terrific 3.5 pound agate! Congratulations Matt!



Agates found by three different people will be featured this month. First, Victor Irving from Fulton, MI came in with this mostly white agate. Translucency is a very important thing to look for while agate hunting. This agate certainly proves just how translucent Lake Superior agates can be.

The next agates were found by the Kozakov family who visit Grand Marais every year from Brighton, MI to hunt for agates. They had just arrived at 4:00 pm the day before coming into the museum. They already had 4 or 5 glass jars full of higher quality agates plus some other lesser quality ones in a box. The best one they found is featured individually. It was found by son, Adrian. The father, Sviatoslav, found most of the agates in the jar.



The rocks are plentiful at the current time due to a lot of spring storms that have, at least for now, pushed the rocks up onto the beach.

Here are a couple of shots of an unusually colored moss agate that I found on Mother’s Day.

John Lubor from Minnesota found this agate very early in the spring.

Sue Wiersom was also out agate hunting in early spring when there was still ice on the beach. She was rewarded with this little gem.



Late last year I received an email from Tina Allera, from Canton, MI. They come to Grand Marais agate hunting every year. In her email, she says she loves looking at the other customer agate finds. Well her agates have now made the web page. She found all four of these agates right in town.



While at the Muskallonge Show in September at Deer Park, several people brought agates by to show me – all day long! Here are just a few.

Susie Hales from Clare, MI showed me this 10 pound agate found near Grand Marais. She calls it the brain agate.

Donna Sheehan from Cedar, MI displayed several agates, including this interesting paint stone agate with colors from the southwest.

John Marchese from Newberry, MI showed me several agates including this paint stone agate and peeler agate.

Dick Wheeler from Pike Lake, MI found this large three pounder.

Sally Ahrndt from Skandia, MI was showing off this 100 year old Scottish agate broach.

While I was in Minnesota, a friend who wishes to remain nameless showed me this fantastic candy stripped fister. We all wish we could find one like this!