Oregon Beach Agates: What, Where and When

By Cobi DEauClaire July 13th, 2012

Beachcombing for agates

There are a thousand reasons to visit Oregon’s beaches. Every season has its own attraction to be here. Spring time is a good time for whale watching. The summer time is excellent for relaxation and cooling off when the weather is hot. The winter time with its spectacular storms and crashing waves. Of course autumn is the best time to enjoy the beaches when most tourists have gone and you’ll have the beach all to yourself.

Any season is great for agate hunting. Whenever you see rocks and pebbles on the beach, you will be able to find agates. You can tell when you have found a good spot for finding agates when you see a cluster of people intently looking at the ground, oblivious from anything that goes on around them.

Agates are a variety of quartz called chalcedony. They are clear, glassy rocks in a wide variety of colors, often in bands. Especially when the sun is out, they’ll sparkle and stand out from dull rocks. Agates appear in all sizes from small pebbles to large baseball-size rocks. Wherever you find agate, you are likely to also find another kind of quartz called Jasper which is mottled yellow, red, brown or green.

Many people hunting for agates polish the stones and turn them into jewelry or pretty ornaments. Historically, agate has been used for hardcarving since ancient times.

Next time you’re visiting the beach, come prepared with a bag or bucket to collect your treasures. You may also want to pick up a copy of the pocket guide, Agates of the Oregon Coast by K.T. Myers and Richard Petrovic, available online or in virtually all local bookstores and gift shops. One last thing to check: the tide tables. But be careful, once you catch the agate hunting bug, your walks on Oregon beaches will never be the same.

My own bowl of agates collected during many walks along the beach near my home.
My own bowl of agates collected during many walks along the beach near my home.08-Jul-2012 04:08, Canon Canon PowerShot A1100 IS, 2.7, 6.2mm, 0.01 sec, ISO 125
A classic, translucent agate.
A classic, translucent agate.08-Jul-2012 04:08, Canon Canon PowerShot A1100 IS, 2.7, 6.2mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 400
A great example of the many colors of agate:  white to dark grey, pale to mid blue, pale orange to vivid red, black. Minerals that influence stone color include iron oxides (red, brown, black, green) and manganese (pink, violet, black).
A great example of the many colors of agate: white to dark grey, pale to mid blue, pale orange to vivid red, black. Minerals that influence stone color include iron oxides (red, brown, black, green) and manganese (pink, violet, black).08-Jul-2012 04:15, Canon Canon PowerShot A1100 IS, 2.7, 6.2mm, 0.006 sec, ISO 160
08-Jul-2012 04:08, Canon Canon PowerShot A1100 IS, 2.7, 6.2mm, 0.006 sec, ISO 125
Banded agates such as these are very popular.
Banded agates such as these are very popular.08-Jul-2012 04:09, Canon Canon PowerShot A1100 IS, 2.7, 6.2mm, 0.006 sec, ISO 125
This appears to be a carnelian agate, with colors varying from yellow-orange, reddish and orangey brown. These can be semi-opaque or highly translucent.
This appears to be a carnelian agate, with colors varying from yellow-orange, reddish and orangey brown. These can be semi-opaque or highly translucent.08-Jul-2012 04:09, Canon Canon PowerShot A1100 IS, 2.7, 6.2mm, 0.006 sec, ISO 100
Note the onyx agates in this picture.
Note the onyx agates in this picture.08-Jul-2012 04:14, Canon Canon PowerShot A1100 IS, 4.0, 13.79mm, 0.01 sec, ISO 125
Another angle on the carnelian agate.
Another angle on the carnelian agate.08-Jul-2012 04:14, Canon Canon PowerShot A1100 IS, 2.7, 6.2mm, 0.006 sec, ISO 100
This onyx agate might even be classified as a "Holly Blue" with its tinges of lavender.
This onyx agate might even be classified as a "Holly Blue" with its tinges of lavender.08-Jul-2012 04:15, Canon Canon PowerShot A1100 IS, 2.7, 6.2mm, 0.008 sec, ISO 400
08-Jul-2012 04:15, Canon Canon PowerShot A1100 IS, 2.7, 6.2mm, 0.006 sec, ISO 160
Another classic, opaque agate.
Another classic, opaque agate.08-Jul-2012 04:15, Canon Canon PowerShot A1100 IS, 2.7, 6.2mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 160
08-Jul-2012 04:08, Canon Canon PowerShot A1100 IS, 2.7, 6.2mm, 0.013 sec, ISO 125

If this has piqued your interest in having your own bit of Oregon Coast Real Estate, check out these current properties for sale in the Agate Beach neighborhood in Newport.

Cobi D’Eau Claire

Comments

Nice article, thank you for for the blurb on the book.

K.

 

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