Agates

by David and Lin
(Whidbey Island, Washington, USA)

Agates Found Today

Agates Found Today

Agates are an additional find when looking for sea glass in this area of Washington, USA.


I know that in Oregon and also other places, I'm sure, there are more agates and more variety. We have heard of "Agate Beach" in Oregon, and there are probably many other "agate beaches."

But I wanted to share what you can find in a few hours at beaches in our area as far as agates go. These were found on July 27, 2009.

As a matter of fact, I thought I had found a piece of red sea glass. But as you can see in the photo, it actually was a small red agate!

When we are looking for sea glass on the beaches near here, we pick up a LOT of other stuff, including driftwood, agates, many beach pebbles or rocks (we try to keep them under 2 inches in size), a FEW seashells, etc.

But we ALWAYS find some agates.

If you know anything about agates, we would love to hear from you, as we are uneducated about them.

David and Lin at Odyssey Sea Glass

Comments for Agates

Click here to add your own comments

What is an Agate?
by: Sarah

~ submitted by Sarah on June 20, 2017

I know this is probably an old post, but since the information on Odyssey is generally top-notch, I thought it would be good to clear up a little mis-information in other comments:

Agates are, by definition, banded chalcedony (microcrystalline quartz). The banding can take various forms (and some chalcedonies are named "agate" - moss agate, for one - but typically aren't considered to be "true" agates due to their patterns' lack of banding), but it's inaccurate to say a specific area's agates do or don't have banding. If your pebble otherwise fits the specs for agate but is all one color, you've got a different variety of quartz  - which can be equally as beautiful, and sometimes more valuable!

Recommend checking out minerals(dot)net and mindat(dot)org for more info and help identifying beach pebbles. But definitely keep coming back to Odyssey for glass. :)

-----------------------------------

Additional comments from Odyssey Sea Glass:

That's a good question that many people have and thank you Sarah for adding details to clarify the difference between agates and other chalcedonies.

When Lin and really got into looking for sea glass years ago, we heard people talking about finding agates on the beach and didn't have any idea what to look for. Once we saw some samples, we began to identify which rocks were agates. As Sarah mentions, not all "agates" are scientifically true agates. However, for beachcombing purposes, we include many of the waxy-feeling chalcedonies. We are not experts, so to identify exactly what you have found, visit the site that Sarah mentions above and/or do research on the internet (lots of photos there).

When you have seen a few "agates" you will begin to spot them easily and quickly. They are usually transluscent, which means that when you hold them up to the light, you can see the light shining through. However, they are not evenly clear like sea glass and many times have attractive stripes or bands running through them. When in doubt, feel the surface. Unlike sea glass, agates have a waxy feel to them.

To answer this question in more detail, an agate is a rock (mineral) found in many countries. There are a huge variety of agates and they are very pretty although most are not considered rare stones.. Here on our site we only talk about "agates" (rocks or pebbles) found on beaches, but they are also mined in different parts of the world.

Here is what Wikipedia says in part about agates:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agate

Agate is a cryptocrystalline variety of silica, chiefly chalcedony, characterised by its fineness of grain and brightness of color. Although agates may be found in various kinds of rock, they are classically associated with volcanic rocks and can be common in certain metamorphic rocks.

Industrial uses of agate exploit its hardness, ability to retain a highly polished surface finish and resistance to chemical attack.

The decorative arts use it to make ornaments such as pins, brooches or other types of jewellery, paper knives, inkstands, marbles and seals. Agate is also still used today for decorative displays, cabochons, beads, carvings and Intarsia art as well as face-polished and tumble-polished specimens of varying size and origin.

Agates have long been used in arts and crafts. The sanctuary of a Presbyterian church in Yachats, Oregon, has six windows with panes made of agates collected from the local beaches.

Agate Beach - Oregon
by: Anonymous

Agate Beach is on the North End of Newport just off Hwy 101.

As a little girl growing up in Newport in the 80's the beaches were all filled with agates.

Over the years with the erosion land movement the beaches have all changed.

It is very rare to find agates or anything along the beaches around the Yaquina Bay.




Hotels near Agate Beach, Newport Oregon USA


Agate beach
by: Anonymous

Just returned from a trip up the west coast...found some agates in Bandon, oregon.

Went on to famous agate beach..near newport, oregon...not sure if it was bad timing or what but I would not give you two cents for that beach!!!

Horrible access, TONS of sand dunes, very high winds and not a single stone of ANY kind to be found!!

Lots of much better beaches all along the coast! I won't go back there!

Montana Agates
by: Anonymous

I'm in south central Montana and have collected a ton of gorgeous agates in my own yard.

All kinds too!

Glendive Mt just a couple hours away..and home to many dinosaurs...has beautiful huge agates.

Agates
by: Jerry

Agates are where you find them! I have found them in E Wa., E Or. and Idaho. Even California!
Some of our creeks have nice jasper and garnets. Living in Wa. Now. Have over 100 lbs of polished agates, NW agates. There are blue, browns, eyes, bands, etc.

Agate Information.
by: Anonymous

Agate and chalcedony are composed of silicon dioxide but differ from quartz in lacking a continuous crystalline structure. Their structure is considered microcystaline, which results in conchodial fracturing the same way glass does. They can be knapped to produce functional cutting edges.

Agates are formed in voids in volcanic rock. They are MUCH harder than the host rock, thus surviving long after the host rock has been eroded away. In my experience, they are also lighter than most other typical beach stones. The combination of hardness and light weight seems to explain how they are fortuitously sorted up to the beach surface by wave action.

As almost all Puget Sound beaches are composed of glacial deposits, one would suppose that "our" agates are of mainly Canadian origin. Many have such rounded forms that suggest long periods of smoothing in active rivers or streams - before being subsequently transported south by glacier.

Agates DO NOT wash up from the depths of Puget Sound. They erode out of bluffs and enter the "conveyor belt" of a nearshore drift cell. This is the opportunity for them to be beachcombed before being transported off the wave terrace into deep water. In other words, I do not feel guilty collecting agates - if no one finds them, they eventually will be lost into the abyss.

As long as there are feeder bluffs to erode, there will be "new" agates supplied to beaches. Bulkheading to stabilize shorelines shuts off the supply of agates along with overall loss of beach sediment.

Once only, I turned up an agate in my backyard, elevation approximately 130' above sea level. Very long odds that I don't expect to repeat!

-----------

beautiful
by: Mathews

During my childhood days I have the hobby to collect agates
from seashore. If w wash it and polish these pebbles it will look really beautiful and it can even use to decorate landscape.

AGATES!
by: Angie

My boyfriend and I are agate freaks and just recently started collecting them in the last 4 years.

We have close to 2,000 that we have collected near our home on Camano Island and recently started a collection at a place that we stay on Orcas Island.

The sizes we have collected on Camano Island range from very small to a little larger than a golf ball.

We have inquired with a few different places and have been told that an agate really has no value - but to us; some of the ones we have are priceless.

I have a blue one that is one of my favorites and it is about an inch in diameter.

We are planning a trip to Agate Beach as we have heard that is a great place to hunt.

agate frame
by: Rockhound Katie

Where did you find the agate frame. I saw one in Lincoln City, OR and would love to display some of ours. Thanks!

Puget Sound agates
by: agatefinder

I've enjoyed collecting agates since I was a child walking with my grandfather, my favorites are the very clear ones with color, and the ones that have worn to a smooth almost polished egg ready to be in a pendant.

The other day I picked up a display frame that has glass on both sides, I placed my agate collection in it and put it in the window, It is a great way to display them.

I did a Google on Puget Sound agate geology and found a lot of good information at various universities on the subject.

Birch Bay Blaine
by: Anonymous

Agates here are uncommon but not rare, same as down there in Whitbey.

Agates come from vocanic vugs (holes in vocanic rock) located in the sound which slowly wash up after storms or when you get lucky.

WA agates tend NOT to be banded whereas the Montana and Lake Superior tend to have bright banded patterns great for cutting.

BUT always, look closely in your agates.. I polished and mounted one that looks like a eye inside from here nice 1/2" pendant sized:)

value of my 1lb agate
by: Anonymous

I have a 1lb agate with very little quartz in it. I can't find anyone who can give me a value. Can anyone help?

Alberta Agates
by: milomorai

I have been finding agates in Alberta and Saskatchewan for a few years now but cannot find any information on Western Canadian agates...

Washington Agates
by: Aman

I have been hunting those agate gems here on the East side of Washington for the last 30 years and I still have not found enough. It's an agate addiction I can't shake.We have some excellent alluvial gravel deposits here in SE Wash that have produced some amazing agates. To learn more vist the Treasure Hunting Wiki

Iowa Agate Hunter
by: Anonymous

I guess I don't know what people all know about agates here, but I can share my basic knowledge.

I'm from Iowa, we have some nice agates, and further up into Minnesota there are really nice ones.

Agates are a volcanic rock, I'm pretty sure made of silica oxide. Silica is what makes glass glass and that's why it has the similar transparency.

The nice white bands you see are quartz and many times there's a quartz "eye" in the middle. The eyes are beautiful and prized by buyers.

It's pretty cool to think about magma deep in the earth cooling just right to form these beautiful gems.

I'm moving to Washington in a week! and can't wait to do some hunting. Many times where you find jasper you will find agates too. Peace and love to you all.

AGATES AND THUNDEREGGS
by: agatas argentinas

Hi, I love agates, and of course, I'm an agate collector and dealer from every source in Argentina. I want invite to you to visit my website,

www.agatas-argentinas.com.ar

Thank you, regards, Marta Vandemandier

info about agates
by: Marilyn, from Port Townsend, WA

This is great information from Karen Bledsoe about sea agates.

Go here:
http://www.helium.com/items/934631-how-to-find-and-identify-agates

Enjoy!

Agates From Patagonia
by: Ricardo & Claudia

Hi! We are great fans of agates from Patagonia , Argentina.
Check our trips and agates by clicking here :
www.agatesfromargentina.com

Your Agates
by: Anonymous

I am so far up to about half that amount of exactly those colors, sizes and shapes.

I love the sport of finding them.

My children can spend many hours on the beach looking for glass and have also learned to recognize agates!

Beaches along Puget Sound.

Agates and Beach Glass
by: David and Lin

It's surprising to me that we haven't had any other comments on agates. I know there are a lot of beach glass fans in Washington and agates most of the ones we know also pick up the agates.

We don't know much about them except: Old timers have barrels full of them, so they are not rare.

There are rare ones but they are hard to find...that's why they're rare!

Some of the "common" ones though are absolutely gorgeous.

Here's a book that is highly recommended and not expensive: Agates Inside Out

"...for the more commonly seen agates, this is a superb book.

"The author clearly describes the formation, various theories for the banding development, what types of rocks have some of the best agates, how to evaluate the agates based on numerous factors (color, shape, luster, banding, pockets, composition, and more), and where to find agates.

"Of the most prominent types of agates known, she provides excellent descriptions that are complimented by outstanding images of photographer Thomas Shearer."

Agate
by: Bearwomyn

Did anyone give you sea agate info?? We just moved to Birch Bay and are finding them everywhere.

We don't know exactly what they are, how they form, if they have value (other than their loveliness!)

Saw your post, was curious if anyone replied. Be well, fellow beach comber!

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Coffee Break.


OdysseySeaGlass relies on advertising to cover costs of sharing sea glass info from around the world. Purchasing from an ad on our site costs no more than directly and provides us with a few cents income.

You will see Google and Amazon ads as well a few other advertisers as you view our pages. .


Browse Our List of Recommended Sea Glass and Beach Books