How to Collect Gemstone’s and Make Money Selling Them

An introduction to agate collecting in Eastern Minnesota, where some of the worlds most beautiful agates can be found.

Eye catching agate jewelry

Agate is a gemstone that’s found through out the world, in country’s such as as Germany, Brazil, Uruguay, Scotland and many others. Fortunately its also found in the good old USA, in fact the agate Capital of the world is Moose Lake Minnesota. The agate is known as the gemstone of Eastern Minnesota, because agates can be found all over the rural landscape, just waiting to be picked up by a rockhound( rock collector) There are, as you can imagine, different types of agates. They are  named after their appearance’s with names like candy strip, eye agate, floater and shadow agate, just to name a few. The value of agates is determined by their, color, size and type. Agate can sell for a few dollars to hundreds and some experienced agate collectors make tens of thousands of dollars a year. Not bad for something you could find in a Field, using only your hands. 

Where to find agates.

Before you can find agates, you will of course need to familiarize yourself with what to look for. Start by purchasing books on the subject with colorful illustrations. Recommended books are; Agates Treasures of the Earth, published by Friefly Books. Another more generic book is Gemstone buying guide, published by lntl Jewelry Publications. Rather than go collecting by yourself, it might be a good idea to join a rockhound club of enthusiast’s. This will give you an insight into the subject, and help to find the best locations, although many rockhounds like to keep their locations a secret. There are also forums and blogs on the subject. Generally the best places to look for agates are gravel pits, by the side of rail road tracks and construction sites. Field’s where the land is continually being cultivated are also good locations. However you should first get permission from the land owners. 

Colorful faceted agates

Although as I have said field’s and gravel pits are the best locations to find agates, they are not the most popular, neither are they the most enjoyable places to search. If you are looking to make a family outing, the best place is Lake Superior-its shores and shallow waters.

I would first suggest a trip to Moose Lake Park visitor center.  Where you can see the best examples of rare agates, which were found in the area. Notice their blight colors, bands and size. also get familiar with other types of rocks, to help to distinguish those which are not agates. Buy a copy of the Rock Pickers guide to Lake Superior’s North Shore, available from gift stores. Ask around for the best places to collect rocks. Rock collectors locations are Tettegouche State Park and Paradise Beach. You can also rent snorkeling gear with wet suit and search off shore, if the weather is good.

Moose lake Minnesota

Where and how to sell your agates.

Assuming you have found some nice Eastern Minnesota agates and wish to sell them. You will first need to clean and make them look their best. The simplest thing you can do to enhance their value is rub them mineral oil, this will help bring out their colors. If they are super nice, you may want to get them face polished. Each year the Minnesota Mineral Club hosts a show for the exhibition  of agates.  There members of the public can see agates from all over the globe and agate owners can have their prized agates put on display. Also they can buy and sell agates. 

You can also sell your agates on eBay. Sharon Smith who is vice president of the Cuyuna Rock, Gem and Mineral Society has made what started out as a hobby into a business, buying and selling gemstone’s worldwide  through eBay. So go ahead and see if you have an eye for agates, you never know what you might find just lying around.  


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2 Responses to “How to Collect Gemstone’s and Make Money Selling Them”
  1. Joie Schmidt Says...

    On October 20, 2009 at 9:14 pm

    Nice article*



    -Liane Schmidt.

  2. BJ Says...

    On August 17, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    A few suggestions.

    1) The lake in the photo above is far too large to be Moose Lake. I wonder if it was confused with Lake Superior, though the sand color makes me wonder if this is even a Minnesota Lake Superior photograph at all since most of those beaches are reddish or gray and pebbly, not white sand.

    2) You can look at rocks at Tettegouche but you are not allowed to keep them since it is a state park.

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