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  Author   Comment   Page 1 of 6      1   2   3   4   Next   »
jay bates
Here is a picture of a real Ellensburg Blue Agate. I bought it at an auction of material being sold by the DeYoung Museum in San Francisco. It was twice the size it is now. To stop a bidding war, myself and another bidder went together and split it. The deep blue color and extreme hardness for an agate, mark it as an Ellensburg.

Tom K
That is one beautiful agate Jay!!

The color is amazing!!


Tom K
Wow, Nice piece!!!
Yep, that's the right color. Getting hard to find as the ranchers have fenced off the land and don't want collectors around. They never have found the source, it's always been found washed out on the ground. They are finding a nice blue up along First Creek, but it's not the cornflower. Last time I looked, EB was going for over $100 an ounce.
jay bates
My brother lives in Ellensburg and has collected the agate along First Creek, it is nice but not Ellensburg Blue. He has several pieces of Ellensburg Blue he bought from a longtime resident of Ellensburg. Thanks for the info on what it is selling for these days.
don Meyer
Nice piece. . . I found a site all about this stone.
Talk to ya again soon!
Thanks for sharing. Question though... I can't see any banding in the piece. Is the banding very subtle?
I only ask because I love the subtle lines in ghost agates, and if this is similar, I'd like to maybe find somewhere to purchase one.

Fabulous color.

jay bates
There is no banding in the piece in the photo. Some Ellensburg Blue does have banding. I have a banded piece also, but I think the solid blue is much better gem material.

The new material being found along First Creek is bluish but nothing close to the real deal.
Hey I just found a site at - they have some pretty good pics of blue agate - I am trying to buy some from them but have not heard back yet.
Joe Dunleavy

Isn't the material shown in most of these pictures actually Chalcedony? To be in the Agate category it has to be banded and usually differs in color by band. All Quartz is not Chalcedony or Agate but all Agate and Chalcedony are Quartz. Just as all Agate is Chalcedony and Quartz. All Chalcedony is not Agate. If a material is not banded it cannot be Agate in the strict sense of the word as used by mineralogists.

If a material is not banded it should not be termed Agate. Perhaps "Ellensburg Blue" Quartz is more likely a name befitting your sample. If it's been cut from the native stone it could still be from Agate, since it could be from one of the bands. The small piece shown could very well fall into this class but without it's banding it can no longer be called Agate. It is a lapidary stone now since it has been cut from it's origin rock and no longer holds it's distinguishing characteristics which mark it as Agate and it can't be distinguished from any other Chalcedony by chemical or other tests (Agate is Chalcedony after all). Can we just call it "Ellensbug Blue" as it's fame denotes and leave it at that. It is still rare for it's clarity and color and not likely to be easily found. Now put Jasper in the mix and we have a usually mottled dense opaque material that is not translucent like Chalcedony. I collected a nice 1 pound piece of pure red that is very rare for this location. The red is usually only a surface flow of very thin layers rarely exceeding a 1/4" of thickness in this area. The brown and yellow are usually very thick layers. Now the black layer has me stumped since it has never been reported from this location. It appears to be dull blue but when cut it is a beautiful black color inside. How about throwing in Chert and Flint two other materials from the quartz family (truly just rocks made up of Quartz but categorized as types of Quartz by mineralogist). How I love the mineral Quartz and it’s many names, some justified by mineralogist and some by salespersons trying to sell their wares and differentiate from common rocks.

I just located a 200 pound piece of beautiful blue Quartz but it does not even begin to look as beautiful as that found around Ellensbug Washington. Been there a few times looking for some and come up empty I'm sorry to say. My Quartz is very brilliant blue until it is removed from the water for a few days then it looses much of it's deep blue and becomes a pale blue. It's still pretty but not Ellensburg pretty.

It's so hot outside that the doves are cooking their eggs for the hawks for breakfast on the pavement so they leave them in peace instead of pieces.

Joe D.
Jay Loch
OK, besides locality, whats the difference between Holly and Ellensburg Blue? I have some Holly and it sure looks the same as the Ellensburg pics and descriptions.
jay bates
Chalcedony is a microcrystalline translucent variety of quartz usually milky or gray in color. Agate is a varigated chalcedony with curved colored bands or other markings. PLEASE NOTE OTHER MARKINGS ALSO MAKE AN AGATE!

In the case of Ellensburg Blue Agate it can come in two varieties, both a band agate type and a more valuable plasma type agate. Technically you could call the plasma type a chalcedony, but both varieties come from the same location and calling the plasma type a chalcedony would cause some confusion and would not due justice to it's colorings and value since most chalcedony is rather drab.

Holley Blue is not only from a different location, but a different state. It is also a different color being a more of a purple color while the Ellensburg Blue is a more of a sky blue in color and is harder. I have both varieties and to me there is a very noticable difference.
Mindy Newton
If anyone here is familiar with a sub-type of chalcedony known sometimes as "Nevada Chalcedony," could you explain its relationship to "true" chalcedony? I am finding a material that is close to pictures I see on, for example, the site, "Beautiful Spheres" which is termed "Nevada Chalcedony." I'm trying to discover just what this material should be called, and how to classify it as to quality.
jay bates
Mindy there is certainly nothing wrong with labeling a chalcedony from Nevada, Nevada Chalcedony.

You will find that sometimes things are misnamed for commercial purposes or that some things ending in ite are not all minerals. Some ites where named many years ago and they are continued to called by an old inappropriate name because it is difficult to change the name and it would cause confusion. The mineralogy community is particular about the naming of new minerals and frown on old names that don't meet their standards. I do agree with the mineralogy community we don't need any new ites that are not minerals. Maybe some of the old ones that are misnamed could be phased out, but it should be done without causing wholesale confusion.

Others including those who sell lapidary material, rock hounds, and lapidarists are not so particular and tend to use old coined names with which they are familiar, or worse, coin new names that are inappropriate. Even so, I think it is appropriate to call chalcedony with concentric rings or other markings, agate. All the lists of agates, include chalcedony that have marking other than concentric rings, even though they sometimes also give a definition of agate as only being a chalcedony with concentric rings of different colored material. Even the dictionaries disagree as what is an agate, some use the definition of an agate as having concentric rings and others use the definition of having concentric rings or other markings. I think this confusion is the result of the mineralogy community sticking to an old definition of agate that was developed many years ago in Europe and since that time, agate has in common usage, come to mean more that the original definition.

Mindy you are getting in a confusing and complicated subject of which neither you or I, or anybody else for that matter, can adequately sort out to the satisfaction of all those concerned.
Joe Dunleavy

Chalcedony doesn't have any sub groups in mineralogy! Quartz has the so called sub groups which Chalcedony is one. Agate, Jasper, Onyx, Chrysoprase and Heliotrope are the other members. Flint and Chert are two others that are sometimes included but are really just rocks not minerals. The fancy names you see associated with mineral varieties are those that are put on them by sales people and gemologists not mineralogist.

How about this confusing list:


Amethyst Pale lavender to rich purple transparent crystals; may show color zoning.
Apricotine Yellowish red, apricot-colored quartz pebbles (Cape May, NJ).
Arkansas candles Quartz crystals about six times as long as thick, in clusters (AR).
Arkansas stones White porous rock filled with microscopic quartz crystals cemented with chalcedony; see novaculite (Hot Springs, AR).
Aventurine Quartz spangled with mica flecks; variously colored; occasionally termed crysoquartz.
Binghamite Crystalline quartz containing goethite replacements (MN).
Cairngorm Scottish name for Smoky quartz.
Cat’s-eye Quartz crystals with a silky luster from fibrous. inclusions; somewhat translucent in green, gray, red, or yellow.
Citrine Transparent pale to rich yellow quartz crystals; frequently showing smoky bands.
Crocidolite quartz Another name for Tiger’s-eye.
Crysoquartz see Aventurine; an uncommon term.
Dumortierite Granular quartz with inclusions of dumortierite; blue, pink, purple, white-speckled.
Falcon’s-eye Another term for Hawk’s-eye.
Gold quartz Milky quartz containing gold inclusions; a rich commercial ore of gold.
Green quartz Transparent greenish quartz.
Hawk’s-eye Transparent colorless quartz containing fine parallel fibers of blue crocidolite.
Herkimer diamond Usually pure, clear quartz crystals from Herkimer Co., NY which are many times doubly terminated
Indian jade Incorrect term for adventurine.
Iris quartz Clear rock crystal containing minute air-filled fractures which produce the effect of iridescence.
Lake George diamond see Herkimer diamond.
Little Falls diamond see Herkimer diamond.
Madeira topaz An amethyst which has been heat-treated.
Middleville diamond see Herkimer diamond.
Milky quartz Translucent to nearly opaque massive quartz, see also Gold quartz.
Morion Nearly opaque to deep black Smoky quartz.
Mosquito stone Quartz containing minute dark inclusions; sometimes called mossy quartz.
Novaculite Trade name for quartz whetstones.
Occidental diamond Little-used name for rock crystal.
Pincushion quartz Clustered slender quartz crystals from Collier Creek Mine (Crystal Mt., AR).
Prase Opaque, dark green quartz colored by inclusions of amphibole.
Quartz cat’s-eye Light to dark grayish green crystalline quartz containing fibrous inclusions.
Quartz topaz Incorrect term for Citrine.
Rainbow quartz see Iris quartz.
Regalite A green quartz of white quartz with green veins; seldom-used term.
Rock crystal Transparent, water-clear quartz crystals with single or double terminations.
Rose quartz Pink or rose translucent quartz.
Rutilated quartz Transparent, sparkling quartz crystals containing needles of rutile.
Saganitic quartz Transparent colorless quartz containing need-like inclusions of actinolite, goethite, rutile, tourmaline, etc. see Rutilated quartz.
Scotch pebble Pebble chiefly of smoky quartz, but in general any variety of quartz pebble.
Scotch topaz Citrine or yellow quartz.
Siberian amethyst Trade name for deep reddish violet or purple amethyst (Twin Peaks, AZ).
Silkstone Crystalline quartz containing fibrous goethite replacements; less pure than Binghamite.
Sioux Falls jasper A brown jasper-like fine grained quartz (Sioux Falls, SD).
Smoky quartz Transparent to opaque smoky brown to black quartz crystal; see also Cairngorm and Morion.
Smoky topaz Incorrect term for Smoky quartz.
Soldier’s stone Seldom-used name for amethyst.
Sowbelly quartz local Creede, CO ; name for amethystine quartz.
Star quartz Asteriated rose and clear quartz crystal.
Thetis hair stone Quartz crystal containing inclusions of green.
fibrous hornblende; see also Venus hair stone.
Tigerite Alternate name for Tiger’s-eye.
Tiger’s-eye Yellowish or yellowish-brown gem quartz. pseudomorphous after crocidolite; colored by limonite.
Topaz quartz Recommended name for all topaz-colored quartz.
Tourmalinated quartz Transparent quartz crystal containing fine or coarse needles of tourmaline.
Trenton diamond see Herkimer diamond.
Venturina see Aventurine.
Venus hair stone Quartz crystal containing inclusions of reddish brown or yellow rutile fibers that appear to be tangled.
Water drop quartz Quartz crystal containing inclusions of water drops or air bubbles.

Now you see why some people just say "That's a pretty Quartz specimen", when asked for an opinion. It's no wonder that Wayne only seeks out Corundum. He sticks to his own milieu, #9, and leaves #7 a wide margin. Myself I'm fascinated by #7 and #6 especially since they are the building blocks of Earth.

Like they say "If it looks like a Duck, Quacks like a Duck and doesn't say "AFLAC", then it's probably a Duck"! If it's Chalcedony (Quartz), then it's Chalcedony. red, white, blue, green, black or whatever color you see in it.

Look at what some people call Amethyst and you have to scratch your head. How can Amethyst be clear or anything but purple? When does Microcline become Amazonite? Do we call it poorly developed Amazonite or microcline (Feldspar). What makes it one variety or another? Do we go by our mineralogist peers or just make up any name that pleases us? The answer may be simple, it's your rock you call it what you wish to. But if you want to be in step with your hobby and try to stay correct in your naming then you must use prescribed naming techniques from the ISTs.

Joe D.

Hi Joe,

The only problem corundum has is being called "ruby" when it's pink or purple, and many blues has been called "cornflower" when it's not. I guess the name adds a little more money to a gem being sold.

With corundum coming in every color, it did have many different names during the early 1900's, such as: Oriental amethyst, oriental emerald, oriental topaz, etc.
Today corundum has only a few names for it's different colors. One that quartz will never be able to match in beauty is the sapphire called padparadscha (lotus flower).....

With North Carolina and Georgia having every color that corundum comes in, why would anyone want to look for quartz?
Don Peck
Wayne, you are baaaaaaad!
Joe Dunleavy

I knew my little comment would wake you up. The reason to look for Quartz is that those "Gems" you talk of (#9) are too few and far between to satisfy most collectors. The Quartz is usually almost everywhere, except where Corundum resides it's a bit scarce. We know that silica rich minerals sometimes are present with Corundum, unlike what the ISTs spout. We even have the non gem variety of #9 in one of my favorite cricks here in Peeay. I have only found one piece with crystals on it and it is pink. The ISTs here in Peeay say I didn't find it here but that I brought it back from North Carolina. They say this due to the lack of their knowledge of prior documented finds in this area. They didn't do their homework very well and would have gotten an "F" from me if I was grading their work. I had to point out to them that it was quite prevalent in this area back in the 1800's and that there were no fewer then 3 Corundum mines in this area back then. They even picked it up from the ground and threw it on their wagons for shipment to England in the early 1800's. They documented a few colors but not pink so it was assumed it wasn't here. You know what "ASS OUT OF U and ME" (Assuming) gets you. As you say Corundum comes in many colors and if the right impurity material is present it can be most any color we percieve.

I'm going back to that site I found the pink #9 as soon as the weather cools off a bit and do a little more searching. The area it's in is a bit of a hard walkabout for me so the hot and humid weather keeps me close to home.

I did find some pretty translucent blue Quartz and some Almondite (what the 1800's ISTs called massive Garnet). Also the first solid red Quartz from this area. Most of the red is laced with impurities and looks ugly and crumbles when cut. I only found a few pieces of Golden Quartz this time (there is no Gold in it). All the Quartz from this site is very hard and takes a great finish. The black Quartz takes a much better finish then the black Jasper I found a few years ago at another since closed site. I still have my eye on a piece the workers left when the old quarry was closed, it's about 20 tons would be my guess. They used to cut them huge like that for holding up railroad bridges. I don't go into the old quarry since it is "out of bounds" on this land so I just gaze from a distance on it every time I visit my favorite crick.

Most of the old quarry was filled in and is not visable anymore. The crick cuts right through the land it used to occupy and I believe the workers used to deposit their clippings onto the sides of the crick to try and keep it out of their quarry. Some of these clippings are a few tons in weight so the heavy rain doesn't disturb them much but does erode them a bit.

No #9 here that I have found yet but plenty of pretty rocks for me to enjoy until I get a chance for more exotic destinations for collecting.

Joe D.
Hi Joe,

I've never hunted corundum outside of North Carolina or Georgia,
with so many different deposits and mines in the two states, my
prospect list numbers in the hundreds.
I guess with corundum not being mined much in the last 100 years,
most modern Ist don't give it much thought? This has made it a guessing game on my part with no Dr. Pratt or Lewis to turn to!
Everything I've learned has been mostly trial and error. But in NC and GA most warm color (reds and pinks) corundum is found in amphibolites and cool colors (blues and greys) in or near a pegmatite. This is a "general" rule because I've found all colors in both, but it holds true most of the time. One mine that has no "rules" is the Corundum Hill Mine (NC). I have found all colors at the now closed site, it's in dunite.

"Probably the finest emerald green colored sapphire in the world came from the Calsagee (Corundum Hill) mine. The specimen is a crystal 4 x 2 x 1 1/4 inches; part of it is transparent, and several very fine gems could be cut from it." - History Of The Gems Found In NC, George Kunz, 1907

I keep'a looking!
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