I am Lee Bates Jay Bates' brother. Maybe I can help on the Ellensburg Blue issue since I am a rock hound from Ellensburg WA. The famous Ellensburg Blue is a chalcedony not an agate. It is found near the power lines near Horse creek canyon as one writer said. It is rare and very little is found each year. It comes from the Thorp Basalt near First Creek which is near Horse Canyon. I do not think blue agate from Red Top is Ellensburg Blue. The Geology Department at Central Washington University in Ellensburg WA who has studied it is the best source on this. Almost every woman in Ellensburg wears what they claim is an Ellensburg Blue. We locals hold it up to the light to look for a special glow to se if it is an Ellensburg Blue. I see blue chalcedony which the owner says is Ellensburg Blue which may not be unless it passes the test. I like all blue agate or chalcedony but Holley Blue is my favotite. It is easy to work and has a beautiful lavender tint to it. Ellensburg Blue is hard and may crack if you are not careful.
I might add that Ellensburg Blue does come as both a clear blue chalcedony and an agate variety with concentric rings. The clear blue chalcedony variety is preferred for jewelry.
Can you describe the special glow that true Ellensburg blues can have??
Matt I think the pictures and the site linked by Bonnie above, speak for themselves. I describe it as sky blue as in the sky blue you see at higher elevations.
Thanks, thats a great site! I kind of figured as far as the face up color. I though there was a special back lit characteristsic Eblues may have that "locals" look for. I am asking because I have several nice blue agates that l believe are Eblue -definitly not African or Holley and are northwest collected. So if it turned a certain hue when back lit or something like that it could help me in identification. I'll post some pics so you all can have a go at them.
Best wishes and Happy hunting!!
I'm not much of an agate guy, but I like blue and you've got a whole bunch of good ones there!
CHECK OUT THIS SITE...www.eblueagate.com
the backlit heue that you see on the e-burg blues is pinkish in color when held up to the light. thats always worked best for me when in question out in the field.
interesting the counter
I like blue
Yup I think 500 or 600 of those hits are from me, I like blue!
They are Famous!! Good thing I have them in my collection! With lots of time and hard work I have discovered their true origin............OREGON!!
Just ran across your site and read some of the blogs on Ellensburg Blues. I just found one yesterday which is one of the best ever in all my years of hunting. It is not banded as is suggested it must be to be considered an agate which I disagree with. I believe the best agates are not banded as banding causes weaknesses in the stone. The more clear and flaw free the agate the higher the quality, the higher the hardness of the stone, therefore the higher the price.
Lori, I know the best Ellensburg Blues are considered to be those that are not banded. I consider the idea that an agate has to be banded as a ridiculous out of date idea. Under such as strict definition most of my agates from the western states would not qualify as agate. I have argued against such a strict definition in the past and have given up arguing with the ists. In my view an agate is a piece of chalcedony that is translucent and has a pattern in it like a bands, moss or plumes etc, not strictly bands. Also I would consider the non-banded Ellensburg Blues to be a plasma type of Ellensburg Blue Agate since just calling it blue chalcedony does not do justice to the reputation of Ellensburg Blue agate and causes confusion.
Thanks Jay, I am in total agreement about the banded definition. I couldn't quite figure out yet how to post pictures on here but I have them publically published at this website.
Even though my newest and best E'burg blue is only 20 grams or about 100 carats it is still an awesome find. For anyone not familiar with the growing scarcity of these gemstones, a person is lucky to find a good blue even the size of a fingernail these days. I hear tell that high quality blues can fetch over $300 a gram making a find like mine well worth a day in the sun rockhounding. I will try again to figure out how to put photo's on here with my blog and take a bunh of pictures of my blue gatherings over the past 30 years. Of course, most of my several hundred pounds of agates aren't blues, but I love agates and hope to have another rock tumbler some day. Anyone have one for sale cheap or want to trade?