New US State: Wyoming – New Super-Rare Location: Virgin Valley

thunderegg786Nothing like launching a whole new US state!  Here we have the first thunderegg I have ever even heard of from Wyoming – the so-called Virgin Valley.  It is a curious stone.  It might not excite agate lovers (all it has is very fine sparkly druze), but it is so drastically different from anything else I have seen from the US that it sure gets me excited.  It is a light-weight stone, both because it’s hollow and because the matrix is filled with air pockets in a manner more reminiscent of certain Saxony stones (Bokelwitz) than any other US location that I know of.

Incidentally, I created this image by photoshopping together a scan of the surface and a macro photograph deep into the geode, in an attempt to get a decent depth of focus.  It is next to impossible to get the entire stone in focus with the equipment I have, so this is an attempt to get around that.


Introducing Killer Green’s Dark Twin

Killer Green is one of the best known of the Oregon locations and one of the best known of the world’s green thundereggs.  It is justly famous and well-loved for its amiable blend of light green and grey and crystal etc.  But very recently (2012) it has been discovered that Killer Green has a dark twin.  These come from a secret location not so far from Killer Green itself (in the Harvey Gap region), and are known only as NJ1.  This new thunderegg is very similar to KG in some ways but has a depth and richness that is totally new.  Here, the greens are darker, the patterns deeper and more complicated – it’s a powerful mix and promises to be a major new discovery.



I managed to get a sack of rough specimens and have recently been cutting them.  The quality rate is a little on the low side, but still well worth it and producing exciting results.  Here are some examples and in time more will be polished  and loaded onto the gallery.  The stones are actually quite varied – more so than KG – ranging from deep green to greens so dark they are almost black, then sometimes moving into shades of brown and unexpected patterning.


There’s a few more currently on the gallery as well, and look out for more as I work  through my stock.


The German Uglies (Not So . . .)

I must admit, there are a few locations in Germany that I have  called ‘ugly’ in the past – Albaum, for instance, which seems a dreary flawed soup of brownish agate in an anonymous matrix – about as unexciting a thunderegg as you could ever hope to (not) find . . . but that has to be said with an awareness of my strong tendency to support the underdog.  Locations that are perfect – or rather a little bit closer to perfection – tend to bore me.  Locations like Albaum itch!  I want to find more – give them the chance to show what they can do – get to know them . . . and then, eventually, they always do.

The following is a little Albaum thunderegg that I polished just today.  Still a bit flawed but very cute, with a good shape to it.  The agate is edged in deep dusky pink moss.

albaum01This single specimen represents the only Albaum I have yet found that I would call a ‘nice’ stone – but it has fired me up to see more of them.  Hopefully my quest will eventually get deeper into the heart of this quiet little rock.

Another location I often thought of as ugly is Altersbach – a generally random rip in a uniform granular matrix, with amorphous blobs of red like dodgy fungal growths inside it.  No shape – no flow – no elegance . . . I never even bothered to get one in the flesh to be honest.

Altersbach01Until now . . . Altersbach03These two stones strike me as stunning, especially in the complex details.  And they leave me muttering darkly about ebay scraps.  The moral of this story is that one should never give up on anything – and if a location frustrates you, then this only means you need to look harder!

One last stone here, and this is a taster for the future.  This is a Wingeshausen thunderegg – a location so obscure that I had never even heard of it until a contact suddenly came up with some.  Actually that should be locationS, since I have specimens from 4 beds awaiting polishing.

Thunderegg488The curious thing about these stones is that the cores are usually far removed from straightforward agate.  Some are laced with iron and other minerals beyond my basic skills to analyse.  I will work on these over the next few days/weeks and then there  will be a proper update on the gallery outlining the different beds.  That’s my next task . . . one of them anyway!

Baumgartental East Side Update

Baumgartental Bed 2 Thunderegg

The above stone has been with me for a long time – a lovely little specimen from the Baumgartental East Side location (from the east side of the valley).  It is still one of the best Baumgartentals I have seen, and I have worked with quite a lot.  I have just updated the gallery with a few new stones – the best of the ones that have passed through my hands in the past few years.  And for the first time this begins to show just how changeable these stones can be.

For a long time, i was working with a distinctly different form with a far paler and more distinctly two-tone matrix.  Like this:

Baumgartental2 04

It has to be said that once i acquired a stock of these they stuck to their basic formula pretty tightly – all very similar with very reduced agate and quartz ranging from decayed mess to glitteringly brilliant.

Baumgartental2 05a

They were beautiful stones, but not the most varied, i thought, so it became a game of finding one with slightly brighter quartz maybe – or a slightly better shape.  Yes – I was even getting what you might call board!  But of course – that’s the thing about a specific batch that you acquire – dug up from one patch of ground maybe – one small area of the infinite geology of the earth . . .

Baumgartental2 06

Compare, for example, with the following:

Baumgartental2 08

Both these last two specimens are tiny – just 4.5cm across.  And maybe this also changes the rules somewhat.  At any rate, finding these small stones, the very first ones to emurge from a small batch I acquired, suddenly opened the location up again!  Jolted me out of any weird Baumgartental reverie.  There will be more of these as I slowly work through them.  And the one thing they do prove is what an amazing location Baumgartental can be!

Baumgartental2 09b

Just to keep things going . . .

It’s high time I got some updates online, I know.  Things haven’t been silent egg-wise – I have been getting more and more active selling material, mostly to contacts and on facebook.  So I have been going through my chaotic storage boxes, polishing stones to order, clearing out lots of material – and finding a few treasures in the process that i had completely forgotten about!

Like this lovely Felsenschlag – an example of striking gold if ever I saw one!

Felsen sunset

Without doubt, Felsenschlag is one of the contenders for Germany’s ‘flagship’ thunderegg.  The more I see of it and the more I track down higher quality specimens (not always easy), the clearer it becomes that this is one of the greatest locations in the world – an easy match for the famous Bakers, Esterels or any other location.

It is high time I updated the gallery of these since it is a location I always tend to focus on.  Here’s another new specimen I was lucky enough to get:

Felsen Floater


In your FACE, Baker mine!!

One reason I have been having such a clear-out and sale was because of a massive delivery of stones from some of the classic German locations.  I swore blind to myself that I would leave them carefully to one side until I had made some serious inroads into my existing stock – but I just couldn’t resist letting a few special ‘previews’ jump the queue!


Top one: Mönchstal
Middle row: Kopfchen
Bottom row: Baumgartental

These stones are wowing me – they are a great example of how smaller can very definitely be better!  There are many more amazing treasures in this new delivery, but they must wait for the moment!

The middle row Kopfchens are especially striking to me.  There is a particular combination of beauty and flaws about this location that sends me into a kind of loop of urgently hunting more and more of them – I would say questing for perfection but that is unfair since, although there is sometimes a frustration connected with the search, I still have a deep fondness even for the most ruined and battered ones. Indeed, agates that tend towards pristine ‘perfection’ like the Bakers soon lose their interest for me. In this case, there is both beauty and stress, beauty and narrative. And it is irresistible!

Here’s a second Kopfchen specimen – a larger one:

Kopfchen large

To end with for the moment, here are two Gottlob specimens that stood out, the first a smaller one with creamy banded agate.

Gottlob Milk


The second is a stone that has given me more than it’s share of stress. I spent hours and hours on this one over the last few weeks. Badly cut to begin with (someone had cut right along a pressure ridge on one edge), it had also broken on cutting, so i decided to recut it and shave about a centimetre off the face. Then my awful saw did what it does best and made a right mess of that so I had to grind through something like an additional half-centimetre of saw marks to actually get it flat! But i finally finished it after a 5 hour blitz!   As one of the biggest specimens yet and with a substantial bloom of amethyst, it was well worth it.  It’s a big, beautiful specimen of one of the other greatest locations in Germany – a real presence on the shelf.


Gottlob giant


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


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