Semiprecious stones called agates make Lake Superior far more attractive than any other lakes in the world. These gems formed some billion years ago during volcanic activity that created the continents we know today. Glacial activity around 10,000 to 15,000 years ago distributed the agates stone across the country particularly in Northeast Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin. Agates stones come in different variety of shapes, sizes, and even colors. Collectors and jewelry makers sought after their famous banding and luminescence.
These are hidden gems from the ordinary rocks that often hide their beautiful colors and they are most treasured because of it. Agates are so loved in the country that the Minnesota state made them their official state stone since 1969.
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Cool Enough to Buy
A number of gift shops and souvenir shops throughout the Upper Midwest sell them polished and ready to be adored. But most people treasured them because of the challenge finding them in the shorelines of Lake Superior. It’s a fun and rewarding activity for the whole family to enjoy during vacations.
When hunting for agates, it’s important to know its characteristics and special features. Expert agates hunters spent years spent countless hours even years hunting down the semiprecious stones. One can only develop an eye for unpolished agates after picking up thousands of stones from the shorelines. Agates stones are mostly translucent but some are opaque. The best give away of the stone is its waxy and glossy rock surface.
Tips to Find Agate
Here are some tips on how to train your eye in finding agates in Lake Superior:
Check for pitted husks. Oftentimes softer mineral formed around the agates, hiding from plain view. Don’t disregard a stone that has pitted husk; instead turn them over to check for cracks that may reveal the beautiful branding which the agates are famous for.
Hunt in the early morning or late afternoon. Agates, when held up in sunlight, gave a particular glow because of its translucent and waxy luster. It’s best to hunt them when there is enough daylight or when the sun begins to set.
Dig not just near the shoreline but also in gravel pits and dry land. Most people look near the shorelines if not in riverbeds as well. Agates can easily sparkle underwater; so many people will search the shores. It may sound a good idea until you notice everyone is searching the same spots. Timing will be your best ally when hunting for agates. These gems will surely surface after a big storm or high waves. So tune in for weather forecast and be sure to head to the beach before once it’s safe. Your chances of finding agates will drastically go high.
Carefully check other ‘ordinary’ bigger rocks. Agates are usually formed in holes or hidden in larger host rocks. Don’t disregard any ordinary stone just because they don’t actually match the polished agates bought in gift shops. Check crevices for any signs of branding that appear to be brown, orange, and translucent. Then weigh the suspected agates from other rocks that are lying nearby. Agates are made up of a type of quartz which makes them dense and hard.
Listen to your instinct. When hunting for agates make sure to turn off your pretty rock syndrome. Do not check for prettier rocks that somewhat appear attractive to you. Instead, focus on the special characteristics of agates. Picking up every stone that catches your eye will only leave you unproductive. You may end up with a lot of river stone but fewer semiprecious gems.
The Path Less Traveled
Walk a different path. When the beach seems overcrowded in one spot, look for agates where people don’t usually venture to. Tread carefully though, as you may be entering a private area. You can find more agates in an area where nobody cared to search for. Fewer people hunting down agates on the beach, there’s more of chances of finding one.
And while looking for those beautiful stones, make sure to keep comfy in one of our Michigan hoodies so you can keep the hunt going as long as you need.
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