For Minnesota-based agate hunters, no collection would appear complete without the presence of a Lake Superior agate, the state’s official gem. Fortunately, several tips can help agate collectors narrow down their search for this attractive stone. Finding fertile agate hunting grounds is, of course, the first step to take. In Minnesota, popular locations include the beaches of Grand Marais and Grand Portage. However, collectors must remember to observe all local regulations. Agates in Sugarloaf Cove, for example, can only be observed and recorded.
It should be noted that not all agates are found on beaches. Due to glacial movements and human activities, agates can be found almost anywhere rocks have been deposited. While Minnesota residents are best served to hunt for agates in the Lake Superior area, searching gravel pits, dirt roads, or paths can also prove to be effective.
Once a collector has found a suitable location, they must know exactly what to look for. Simple tips for differentiating agates from other rocks include wetting the stone to emphasize translucency, banding, and the trademark glossy, waxy appearance. It can also be helpful to research the various categories agates can fall into, such as water level agates and fortification agates.
Lastly, collectors must remember to dig deep enough to find what they are looking for. When hunting on a beach, agates are often embedded several inches below the sand. With this in mind, collectors should make sure to take advantage of any storm that hits the Lake Superior region. Following a big storm, agates are often unearthed or carried from the water onto the shore, making them easier to detect