Archive for August, 2013

All Hail the Gengenbach!

Gengenbach01This is one of the few ‘neighbours’ that exist of the famous Lierbachtal thundereggs – and looking at it, you can see the similarities!  It is hard to judge from one specimen, especially given how varied this patch of ground seems to be, but it does seem to have a certain aesthetic of it’s own though – somewhere there in the cold flowbanding and touches of pink.  Either way, this is a lovely stone and a very rare addition to the gallery that I have finally got round to putting online!  This fellow is 18cm across.


Californian Beauty – Wiley Well and Turkeytail

Sometimes it seems to me that the Californian stones are among the most beautiful thundereggs to be found anywhere.  It is a shame though that classifying them is so problematic.  Both Wiley Well and Hauser are often dumping grounds for specimens with very little classification. Unless a really distinct tag is provided – preferably by someone who actually found the stone – then one can never really be sure what we are dealing with here. I have finally got round to getting some specimens with a Wiley Well tag up onto the gallery, but this must come with a caveat of uncertainty.

More importantly though, these are some of the loveliest thundereggs to go up on the gallery in a long time, in my opinion!

wiley02 wiley03 wiley04


Accompanying that is a specimen with a much more detailed classification.  The Turkeytail bed is a specific and relatively newly discovered location named after the complex feather-like structures in the matrix.

Turkeytail 02

New German Location – Hirschberg

Hirschberg01This complex and rather beautiful stone filled with Barite and quartz is the only specimen I have ever seen from this location.  It is hard to judge a location by just one specimen, but the colours and textures here seem very distinctive.


New German Location – Dörrkopf Thundereggs

Dorrkopf01This exquisite little stone is one of the best of the new locations from Germany that has come along in a while.  Dörrkopf is a classic Thuringia Brown with all the familiar features – agate bands around quartz, smooth matrix with grains, etc.

Click here to see the rest of the German gallery.


New Oregon Location: Little Apple

littleapple01Simple but beautiful, this is the first example of a Little Apple thunderegg to be included on my gallery.  This hugely obscure bed has never been that widely known and remains one of the tougher locations to track down.


The Ur-Thunderegg – New Location, New US State: Wisconsin Fluorite Thundereggs



At first glance this little stone could easily be dismissed – especially if you have been spoilt by all the magnificent agates from elsewhere in America. But two facts make these Wisconsin Fluorite thundereggs stand out spectacularly. The first is that, as the name suggests, they are one of the few locations that are often filled with something other than agate/quartz. The other is their age. With Oregon thundereggs dated at about 30 million years old and European stones up to 300-450 million years old, it comes as quite a shock to realise that these little fluorite thundereggs are a staggering 1.1 billion years old. That dates them right back to the Pre-Cambrian period and roughly to the time of the first multicelular life on the planet.

Such thoughts make the head spin. Just about the entire development of life, the first structures, the first ‘creatures’, the colonisation of the land, extinctions and evolution, over and over – throughout pretty much the entire history of life on this planet, these little rocks have been sitting there quietly in the ground. Suddenly it seems as though these extraordinary thundereggs should be the centrepiece of a collection, not some curious extra. This is the ur-thunderegg, at least to our imperfect perception.


New Oregon Locations – Fuston, Wild Iris etc.

The intricacies of what one might term the Richardson family of thundereggs (which sprawl all over Oregon it seems!) are enough to make a collector like me with only a vague understanding of it all curl up in a corner.  For a long time, the Richardson section of the gallery has been a mark of shame for me – a largely unclassified heap with some of the most famous thunderegg beds in the world largely just thrown into a pile together.  In my defence though, well, just look at these things?  How exactly is one supposed to tell some of them apart?  Red bed?  Blue bed?  Especially when you see how much they vary within the beds themselves as well.

To celebrate me finally getting up off my arse and beginning the process of fixing all this, and just to muddy the confusion even more, here are a few new locations that I have managed to acquire and publish.  With my hat in my hand, I might as well confess that there is no way I would be able to distinguish some of these from others in this area, and if I didn’t already have my hat in my hand, I would take it off to those who can.

First up is South Blue Bed.  As one might expect, this is a bed located a bit to the south of the famous Richardson Blue Bed, which I sometimes suspect makes up around 95% of the thundereggs on the market!  To me, this looks like a new point of access to the same bed, but the dealers seem quite happy to run with the new tag so I will as well.  Here are two new specimens from South Blue, which recently arrived.   Both very cute stones and ones I am very happy to have representing this new location on the gallery.

bluesouth 01 bluesouth 02


Another new discovery has also appeared on the scene very recently.  Sniffed out by Jason Hinkle about 15km from Richardson, there are very few Wild Iris bed thundereggs on the market so far.  In spite of the distance from Richardson, the similarity is still pronounced, though I am wondering whether the matrix is displaying a distinct richness and dark colour?  More specimens will be needed to say for sure.


Although there will almost certainly be more spectacular specimens of this location, this was one of the first small batch ever to be made available anywhere, which gives it a certain special feeling (almost like a first edition book!). Aside from that though, the complexity of that interior and my uncertainty how on earth it formed the way it did, as well as the simple depth of that clear agate, make this a very striking stone for me. The sort you can turn over in your hands, getting ever-changing views deep inside.

The last new location for the moment is the obscure Fuston thunderegg.  Not often seen and with a distinctively worn and faded looking matrix, this is a location I know very little about.  Here though is a specimen showing some nice moss filaments.

fuston 01

Just to finish off, a few specimens from more familiar locations that are worth a look.  Here is a Pony Butte specimen doing what that location does best – striking moss structures.

Pony Butte 03

And lastly, a Pony Creek stone that is notable for being one of the few thunderegs to be substantially filled with something other than quartz/agate.  Trouble is I am not sure what this stuff is!  My ignorance of geology rather shows itself when presented with specimens like this one.  Still – a very unusual and striking thunderegg!


P.S.  Please bear with me while I sort out the Richardson galleries.  At the moment there’s still a big ‘roadworks’ sign over them all and for the next few days/weeks there may be stones in the wrong places and links that do not work.  However, at least I have made a start and it WILL be sorted soon I promise.