Agates and Jaspers: Beautiful Revenue Streams

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PinkDiamond
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Agates and Jaspers: Beautiful Revenue Streams

Postby PinkDiamond » Mon Apr 29, 2019 8:07 pm

Here's a new one from the IIJA on agates and jaspers, that's loaded with photos, one of which was taken by Barry Bridgestock, whose emails I have posted a few of for you. Robert James links us to Ron Gibb's book on Amazon, in case anyone here doesn't already have it, and I highly recommend that you do. It's the best book out there on them if you ask me, but I've known Ron for years, so maybe I'm a bit prejudiced. ... Nope! It's the best one available. 8-)

He does ask if anyone can ID a few agates the paperwork was lost on when the car rammed through the office and destroyed many gorgeous and valuable specimens, so if anyone has any ideas about what type they might be, please let us know. Enjoy! :)

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a 501(c)3 Non-Profit Education Organization 29 April 2019

Agates and Jaspers: Beautiful Revenue Streams

Long overlooked but long-term best sellers that many jewelers ignore. We take another look at these important revenue streams.

For many years agates and jaspers have been considered by the main stream jewelry industry as the materials of hobbyists, lapidaries, collectors and old guys with little else to do but go out putzing around in agate producing fields. Little consideration has been given to these beautiful gem materials by traditional jewelers. Agates and jaspers have been considered the "step children" of the gemstone industry, leaving huge streams of revenue to go unnoticed.

That issue is changing.

Between the world diamond markets committing business suicide, and the new generation of "Millennials" seeking earth-friendly, natural gemstone adornments, the market for agates and jaspers has finally reached a point where demand is high, supplies are high, and prices are low. What more could you ask for in a new revenue stream for your store?

Before the drunk driver destroyed our Amazing Gem and Mineral Museum for Kids, we were preparing a large presentation of the World of Agates and Jaspers. Unfortunately, a 20 year old kid on recreational pharmaceuticals destroyed much of the planned displays. However, we were able to recover the specimens you see below, and I wanted to share these with you to demonstrate just some of the amazing beauty to be found in gemstones from this beautiful material.

Why Agates and Jaspers Attract Attention

Anyone who has sat out on a summer day and watched the clouds to see what shapes you could find will understand why agates and jaspers are so inviting to customers. Each is different and each presents its own unique picture that is interpreted differently to each person viewing. The shapes, forms and pictures found in agates and jaspers evoke special meanings and interpretations to each viewer. Here are a couple of examples below.

Examples From Barry and Alan

Over the past few years of promoting agates and jaspers many folks have sent in images of amazing specimens in their collections. Two of these caught my eye as great examples of why agates and jaspers evoke such interest.

Below left is an image of Crowheart Butte in Wyoming (©KACProductions) and below right is a cabochon cut agate from our IIJA Global Network member, Barry Bridgestock of Artistic Colored Stones in Yuma, Arizona. It does not take much imagination to see the connection in these two images.

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Our good friend and IIJA Global Network member Alan Hodgkinson from Scotland sent in two fun images that were the "smile of the day" here in the IIJA office. Below left is a famous picture entitled "Scream" by Advard Munch. Below right is a "screaming face" agate from the famous East Coast of Scotland agates. Took me a couple of minutes of standing back from the computer screen to get the full impact, but I do see the "scream" in the agate. In case you have not done so already, be sure and get Alan's book: Gem Testing Techniques, the most complete and up-to-date book on gem identification in the world. You can learn more about this amazing book here: Alan Hodgkinson: Gem Testing Techniques. I seriously recommend that no gemologist be without this important reference book.

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Agates and Jaspers

Before we begin, I have to tell you that the full scientific explanation of the formation of agates and jaspers is well above my pay grade. As a result, I am not going to delve into the science of this as it is a life-time study all its own, based on the people I know who are deeply involved in the agate business. The information I am presenting is based on knowledge sent to me by these folks, which I am passing along with full acknowledgement of the above. Our good friend, Ron Gibbs published a book in 2009 titled: Agates and Jaspers which is, in my opinion, one of the best information resources for agates and jaspers on the market. (The information on his book is at the end of this page.) The nice thing about this book is that it puts some pretty complicated concepts into languages that everyone can understand. Therefore, to describe the difference in "agates" and "jaspers" I will simply refer to the book:

Agates: "Agates are composed of a cryptocrystalline form of silica (it is called chalcedony)." Agates and Jaspers, pp 8.

Simply stated, agates are members of the chalcedony family of gemstones, which is of course within the quartz family.

Jaspers: "The formation of jasper requires a particulate and cement. On the earth's crust the major process of particulate creation is the sedimentary rock cycles." Agates and Jaspers, pp 108.

Simply stated, jaspers are created when sediments are glued together naturally with natural occurring materials.

That is about as far as I am going to try to take you on the formation of agates and jaspers. Ron's book is available on Amazon in case anyone would like to learn more. For now, let's look at some really amazing agates and jaspers.

We will start with my favorite: Agate Creek Agates from Australia. The specimen below, along with a large collection of others, was donated to the IIJA by IIJA Global Network member Rene Boissevain of Agates Australia

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The amazing variations in colors and formations make the Agate Creek Agates the most beautiful in the world...in my humble opinion, of course. Agates are so diverse that opinions and appreciations of agates will vary widely, and no one agate is considered the finest or best based on personal preferences.

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Now, let's just look at some image of agates and jaspers. As always, these were photographed wet to bring out the true beauty. If you attend a gem and mineral show looking for agates and jaspers be sure and see them wet. The final polished gemstone will not need this but it does allow you to see how the material will look when polished if you wet the stone. An example is seen at left.

Below are a group of agates and jaspers (and a couple of others) from our collection. Where possible I have provided the names. Any error in a name is mine as we lost some of the documentation in the car wreck. I do not mind anyone sending in a correction to help us be as accurate as possible.

Let's have some fun...

Image Cherry Creek Agate

Image Kambama Jasper

Image Fire Pit Agate

Image Brecciated Mookaite

Image Gecko Jasper

Image Australian Tiger Iron

Image Poppy Jasper

Image Rain Forest Jasper

Image Crystal Pocket Agate

Image Zebra Stone

Image Name Unknown.

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This one is also "Name Unknown" due to the loss of the documentation during the car crashing into our building a few years ago. The wide golden band toward the bottom has an iridescence that is much like labradorescence. Difficult to photograph but amazing to see in person.

If anyone has information on these we would appreciate your help.

I actually have many more specimens but we are running very long in this newsletter. Suffice it to say agates and jaspers provide a huge array of colors, formations and patterns. All are unique, all are beautiful, and all can be major revenue streams for the jeweler who can think outside the box and look to modern alternatives to some of the more traditional gemstones that are having major marketing problems.

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For those who are interested in learning more about agates and jaspers, click below to buy the book from Amazon. The book was published in 2009 and I could not find another source at this time.
https://www.amazon.com/Agates-Jaspers-R ... 0578005557

Anyone who reads the jewelry industry media with the reports from JBT about this industry shrinking like the Witch from the Wizard of Oz after getting hit with a bucket of water, take heart....this does not reflect the true status of this industry. Jewelers who have moved to colored gemstones in general, and categories like agates and jaspers in particular, are THRIVING. Let me say that again: Jewelers who have moved their inventory into colored gemstones are THRIVING!

If you want to be among the THRIVING group of jewelers, join us at the AGTA GemFair Las Vegas 2019. I guarantee you this will be a trip well worth your time both now and in the future. Click the icon below for more information.

Robert James FGA, GG
President, Insurance Institute of Jewelry Appraisal
a 501(c)3 Non-Profit Education Organization

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Visit the IIJA to learn about our world class programs in gemology and jewelry appraisal by clicking here: https://instituteofappraisal.com/

©2016 Insurance Institute of Jewelry Appraisal Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. We encourage sharing and caring throughout the industry as long as all copyrights are left intact. All images and logos copyright their respective owners and used here simply for learning and sharing.

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Insurance Institute of Jewelry Appraisal Inc.
PO Box 1727
Helotes, TX 78023
PinkDiamond
ISG Registered Gemologist


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rocks2dust
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Re: Agates and Jaspers: Beautiful Revenue Streams

Postby rocks2dust » Tue Apr 30, 2019 2:22 am

Last 2 look like dendritic jasper from several localities (sometimes called "Yellow Feather" or "Black Feather") and binghamite (or perhaps silkstone, if it isn't very chatoyant in some areas).

For books with some great photography and examples, I'd also suggest Agates with Inclusions and Picture Jaspers from the Northwest. Their web sites feature some nice photos, too: Agates with Inclusions - Picture Jaspers from the Northwest (these sites are picture-heavy, and can load slowly; they are worth the wait, so be patient)

Also some interesting "scenic" stones at Prof. R.V. Dietrich's: Mimetoliths site (there is a book, but not sure it is currently in print).

Finally, like just about any other gem material of value out there today, one needs to beware of simulants and treatments.
r2d

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SwordfishMining
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Re: Agates and Jaspers: Beautiful Revenue Streams

Postby SwordfishMining » Tue Apr 30, 2019 8:03 pm

Yes, his book is on my to buy list. Agates are my favorites and seem to come to me wherever I am rockhounding. I have a lot more agate and jasper from the rock shop closure in Lakeveiw to sell that Im not sure what they are exactly. I know Don made the doors to Rainbow Ridge Opal Mine in Virgin Valley and I used to love sitting around listening to the stories of the old days. The Roebling collection opal in the Smithsonian was not even one of the biggest or best opals that was produced before recent recorded times he said. Thats one of the reasons they put locked doors on the adit. They also did not dig further in that direction. I have some recorded conversations Im just waiting to use later being converted to DVD.
As I slab them up, a lot will be more obvious where their source was. That same kid in Helotes broke the box of specimens i had sent Robert for Virgin Valley Opal research too. Pity no trained honest appraisers are available for American Opal. Until then I guess we just have to keep selling them as finished gemstones and jewellery. The big slice in the broken dome turned out to be stable or at least it never cracked after drying out and sitting around until i unpacked the returned box. Sort of a purple base like a different mine I found produces with out distinctive plume garden play of color. How to polish a round top gem limb cast with color to all the sides from the middle out is a hard choice, but until them its not crazing.

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PinkDiamond
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Re: Agates and Jaspers: Beautiful Revenue Streams

Postby PinkDiamond » Wed May 01, 2019 9:35 pm

I copied your post and sent it to Robert James, r2d. Thanks for the tips. :)
PinkDiamond
ISG Registered Gemologist


· ´¨¨)) -:¦:-¸.·´ .·´¨¨))
((¸¸.·´ ..·´ There are miracles left for you to do .... -:¦:- -:¦:-
-:¦:- ((¸¸.·´* It all begins inside of you. ;)


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