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Wonderful World of Agates, Wisconsin

Last Updated: 12th Jul 2008

By David Von Bargen

For a weekend in July 2008, the town of Menasha, Wisconsin became the center of the world for agates of all descriptions. The UW Fox River Valley campus was turned over to all things agate. 40 dealers competed for attention with 70 display cases filled with all kinds of agates (including cases from the Smithsonian and Seaman Museums). The dealers were selling agates from the US (Fairburns and Lakers were in abundance with good representations for Cold Water agates and Kentucky Agates). World localities represented Tajikistan, China, Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico. Agates could be had for a dollar to specimens well into four figures. Not only were specimens, rough and jewelry available, but dealers also had lamp shades, candle holders and paper napkin holders constructed of agate. At least 8 authors of agate books were selling them and there was equipment available for polishing agates. The show also was connected to a symposium on agates with a full day devoted to various agate topics as well as talks that were open to the general public.

Dealer Hall

Display Cases

United States:

The Infamous Eye agate.
It caused Scott Wolter to lose a bet with Kristen Gum from the Travel Channel's Cash & Treasures
and brought fame to Gary Richards (but not fortune)

Kristens eye agate
Kristens eye agate
Kristens eye agate
Kristens eye agate
Kristens eye agate
Kristens eye agate

Worldwide agates:

A few non agates got into the show. The following jaspers by claiming to be closely related to agates. A few amethyst crystals from Brazil also were able to sneak in by claiming that their rinds were agate.

Agates often resemble other things.

If one was reduced to the fetal position by all of the agates, you could wander a bit further into the Weiss Museum and see a few mineral specimens, as well as feed unruly persons to their dinosaurs.

The talks and some of the displays will be available on a 2 DVD set. Since most of the cases had previously held mineral specimens, the organizers promised to fumigate the cases before they were returned (many minerals became homeless for the duration of the show, but none were harmed in the making of the video.)

How many other mineral species have their own ale (or where is the fluorite stout?)

Article has been viewed at least 35519 times.


Bravo David,
Great report! I sadly had to miss this awesome event. I wished I could have meet Brad Cross and June Culp...


Everett Harrington
13th Jul 2008 1:35am
Excellent report! I wish I could have attended as my good friends, Tom & Jim Harmon were there with their world class Montana Moss Agates. I also understand Tom was one of the featured speakers. I just know it had to be a great weekend!

Brooks Britt
14th Jul 2008 10:48am
Brooks, I had wondered if those might have been your Montana agates.
Your collection is also wonderful.

Gail Spann
17th Jul 2008 2:57am

Well, those agates are from the same guys that have provided most of mine, The Harmons. After the Tucson show I send Dave Wilber a Montana agate that I had in my display case as a gift for all he has done for the hobby. He was overjoyed and said he was putting it in his collection that he was showing in the Houston Museum earlier this year. He called me on the phone to thank me personally. He is just a great person, I could have talked to him for hours!

Brooks Britt
19th Jul 2008 2:13am

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