We have informed you of the history of agate hunting. We have outlined famous people who collected agates. And we discussed the great moments in agate hunting and what they might mean for us going forward.
That doesn't sound right. Wait here while I read over parts one and two of the Agate Hunters Handbook.
Hmm, I guess we didn't. I guess we were planning to but were too busy agate hunting.
Yes, since you ask, we did find one. Well, at least something we classify as "vaguely agate-like", which you will soon learn is a very good haul indeed.
Anyway, we could do the history of agates and all the famous Agateers and all that, but this is only a three-part series so don't you think we'd better get down to the shore and start collecting?
The first important thing with agate hunting is knowing where to look. I suppose, once upon a time, any old Lake Superior shoreline with rocks was good enough. This was back 100 years ago when ten percent of all the rocks here were attractive, fist-sized agates. Unfortunately the popularity of agate hunting has made agates quite rare. By my modestly scientific sampling of roughly 50,000 Lake Superior stones I have determined that there aren't any actual agates left here, though you can still find some of varying quality and prices in local stores.
What does this mean? It means we have to use our wits. We have to search in unlikely places. Agates won't be sitting high on an easily accessible, scoured over shore. You need to dig down, preferably on the wet side of the tide line, possibly while you're perched awkwardly between two huge rocks, with freezing cold incoming waves lunging at you. You'll have to catch large lake trout and search their bellies on the possibility that they swallowed something really good. You must go deep sea diving in forgotten Lake Superior shipwrecks in the hopes that some doomed passenger was traveling with their museum quality agate collection. Or best yet, buy an old brass lamp in a Grand Marais antique store, rub it, and when a genie appears and offers you three wishes, wish for three agates, nice ones, worth at least $40 each on Ebay. Three agates, three wishes, no genie worth his or her salt will allow you to group multiple agates into one wish.
Now that you have found yourself a likely agate hunting spot, what next? Look for agates, but because you won't find any, enjoy the other stones. You will be seeing a lot of them.
The other stones are graded thus:
A. Underwater, and of jewel-like amazingness.
B. Wet, pretty and compellingly complex.
C. Dry, interesting, kind of, a tiny bit, if you try, and remember, you only need get them wet to make them pretty!
D. Dry, at home, in your rock collection where they are random rocks of no particular interest to anyone. Don't try to show these to people.
But what do you do if you find a genuine, glorious, bona fide agate?
Congratulations. Leave the agate there for the next person.
Just kidding. Get an expensive case for it and ask everyone you know and have ever or will ever meet "Want to see my agate?'
Of course they do! And while they are marveling over your amazing agate don't forget to mention "The Agate Hunters Handbook" in three parts. It will have had little to do with your triumph, but a little common courtesy never hurt anyone.