Sticks In Stones Lapidary Collectible Thunderegg Agates
Agates are every rockhound's favorite material. An agate is simply a stone that has a very high concentration of silica that allows light to pass through the stone. There are lots of different varieties of agate. The most collectible forms are fortification agates & moss agates. There are many sub varieties of each of these basic types of agates, but the majority of the collectible agates will be one of these two basic forms. The Pacific Northwest is home to one of the more unusual agate formation anywhere on the planet. Bubbles that formed in pyroclastic volcanic flows leave voids in the ground that are surrounded by silica rich rock layers. Over time, these bubbles are filled with beautifully patterned agates of many differing styles. Much of Central and Eastern Oregon was formed by such volcanic events and thunderegg beds abound.
Legend has it that the pre-columbian natives believed the round, egg shaped stones weathering out of the ground were eggs from the thunderbird that the quarreling gods (volcanos) in the Cascade mountain range threw at one another when at war. This is where the stones get their modern name, thundereggs. Thundereggs are Oregon's official state rock. While there are literally dozens of claims around the state, a few stand notably higher in the collectible category as far as their ability to provide consistently beautiful agates. Thunderegg beds in Central Oregon of note include Priday (now closed), Richardson's Blue Bed & Red Bed, Pony Creek, Dolly Parton, Friend's Ranch and Lucky Strike, just to name a few. Further east another productive bed is found near the Idaho border in an area called Succor Creek. You can see some field photos of the dig sites on the Photos from the field link. You can also see how we prepare these thundereggs for your cabinet in our shop by taking a virtual tour of the shop. The stone in the saw is a very nice Friend's Ranch thunderegg.
Thundereggs can produce fortification agates, banded agates, moss agates, plume agates and geodes. Some beds will tend more towards one type of agate than another. You can usually tell where an egg was found once you cut it even if you didn't know before hand. The egg is composed of two distinct parts, the matrix or rind (the outer part) and the agate center which is usually called the lens or the window. Some thundereggs will undercut in the matrix if not carefully prepared, others are quite hard and most can be coaxed to a mirror finish just like the center agate by an experienced lapidary. Of course, when you buy a collector quality thunderegg from Sticks-in-Stones you can rest assured that the polish is liquid perfect!
On these pages you will find thundereggs from some of our favorite beds. Most are available for commercial or hobby collecting, although some are open rarely and others are petering out. Another thing that sets many egg beds apart is the ratio of duds to keepers. As the owners typically charge about the same fees to dig, you'll see that my prices reflect how many I had to throw away or pass along to less picky lapidaries before I got one worth putting up for sale here. These pages definitely hold the best of what I've cut from the various beds. I hope you enjoy looking and if you see one you can't live without please rest assured that it is indeed a collector quality thunderegg with a polish unlike anything you're likely to find from other commercial sources!
Succor Creek Thundereggs
Several different varieties of some of the highest quality agates ever discovered!
Friend's Ranch Thundereggs
A personal favorite for this rockhound, full of midnight blue agate. Unfortunately, the price doubled in 2001 for digging.
Baker Ranch Thundereggs
From Deming, New Mexico, comes one of the finest fortification and geode thunderegg deposits anywhere.
Other Thunderegg Varieties
The Pacific Northwest is home to dozens of varieties - this pages contains nice specimens from many other locations.
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