AGATES Presented by STRATAGEMS, this site is an invitation to share their fascination.


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What's New


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Ballindean   Luthrie

The run-up to our 2017 agate collecting trip was very unpromising, weather-wise, but when we reached the charmed land of Montrose the weather smiled on us with beautiful Spring sunshine. But we were disappointed to find that the best Usan fields were in crop or otherwise inaccessible.

In 2016, Jean found a remarkable onyx nodule on Lunan Bay beach. It was perfectly smooth and a flattened spheroid shape. Since the local onyx nodules are quite angular the implication is that this agate had been rolling around for a very long time; possibly hundreds of years.

So it was an astonishing coincidence when on our 2017 trip Robin found a very similar onyx on another part of the same beach, equally almost spherical and perfectly smooth. Both were 40 mm. across.

It seemed a shame to cut them so we tumbled them both and have kept them as mementoes. Here they are:

Jean 2016 Robin 2017

This brings us to a new gifts idea: we can now offer “Friendship Stones” single nodules, typically up to 12 mm. cut in half with the faces polished . One half is to give to someone special, the other to keep; a symbol of a bond between two people. Here is a pair:

The rest of the week was moderately successful and we were excited to try a new site in Fife. Unfortunately it is patrolled regularly by two resident collectors so results were rather sparse. Nevertheless, there were plenty of interesting fragments showing and we found one good whole nodule, see below:

Our search was suddenly cut short as we were attacked by a vicious rainstorm accompanied by gale-force winds, and we decided to retreat. Unfortunately, we were a long way from the car and by the time we reached it we were cold and absolutely soaked! The only course of action was to retreat to the cottage for a complete change of clothing and a hot drink.

Perhaps this year we may be able to give it a more thorough search.

This is onyx country --- can you spot one?”

We can supply standard or custom size cabochons of Scottish agates and other British stones, also some lovely Australian opal; we can also supply finished jewellery items. Ask us for details.

We also have available a large stock of Northern English and Scottish mineral specimens for sale, some from sites where mineral collecting is no longer possible. Please enquire.


Cabachons For Jewellery

Cabochons For Jewellery


We cut many hundreds of agate nodules during the year. Many of them finish up on the garden path as scrap, while the best are polished and are sold to collectors. The really ‘un-partable-with’ go into our own collection!

Occasionally we come across agates which display strange and curious features reminiscent of birds, insects or surreal landscapes. To illustrate, here is an example showing a stone featuring a ghostly image with scriptural overtones:

Dunure Reflections

“The Burning Bush” , a Biblical illustration from Binn Hill”


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