The agate hunters that hunt for miles
and miles of grassland, drive hundreds of miles searching for them,
really do love their agates...
As a fairburn hunter, my best
collecting sites are a cherished secret. You may find few real fairburn
hunters that are really going to give you the location of their "secret
Many collectors talk of the old days
when the best sites were located around Fairburn, South Dakota. This is
the true original location of the fairburn agate, named for the town for
which it these exceptional agates were first found.
The Agates of North America written by:
Jack Zasadil states: "...front Scenic, to the northeast of Hermosa, to
Orella, Nebraska, just across the South Dakota Line. I have heard them
being found from as far south as Gordon, Nebraska, and from my place at
Hermosa eastward to Cuny Table, thirty miles away.."
Fairburn agates may even be found in a
wider range, and I invite agate prospectors to update the regional
prospecting area information by sending me an email with the location
(general area) of their finds.
a fairburn hunter, what makes the best fairburn agates worth so much?
- Size: usually several ounces
(Over a pound are rare)
- Colors, brighter are more valuable
(blacks and oranges are highest in value)
- Quality of Banding
(More narrow bands = more valuable, and more color variations in the
- Number of Bands
(More band mean higher value)
- Shape of Pattern
(True holly leaf patterns are prized, especially if whole on one side,
and runs though the middle of the agate to the other)
- Damage, Cracks or Breaks
(This reduces the value, especially if an agate has deep cracks which
break the patterns)
- Is it an artifact? Doubles value!
(Look for smoothed and worn spots and knapped areas)
Current prices can be found on
www.ebay.com and doing a search for
You will find that large fairburn agates fetch a price
that is unbelievable!
How to know a "REAL Fairburn"!
A real fairburn will have the
traditional holly pattern, with distinct parallel banding. The
exceptional specimen above shows the holly shape in many places,
as well as the distinct parallel banding, note the color changes in the
agate. This fairburn agate is even more valuable as it is an artifact,
and was used as a tool by the Indians.
Note in the shape of the agate that it
easily fits the hand, and that the agate was knapped or notched out in
the lower right corner to make the agate easier to hold. There are
several edges on the agate that were used for knapping, smoothing,
pounding, and for shaping arrow shafts.
As an agate hunter, I find that some of
the most beautiful fairburn agates are also agate tools, since the
Indians loved to use beautiful agates in their daily work. Anyone that
has additional information on these Indian agate artifact tools is
invited to contact us via:
Teepee Canyon Agates
The specimen above is an exceptional
tepee canyon agate, notice the limestone edges, and the bright red and
yellow banding. This is not a fairburn although the banding is parallel
and the pattern is a holly leaf style. Value of this teepee canyon is
about half the value of a similar sized and colored fairburn agate. Note
also that a slice is not as valueable as a complete nodule. Today many
agates are not polished and are left rough to be enjoyed in their
natural state. (Like the fairburn specimen pictured at the top of the