Prospecting for Agates!

We will do our best to assist you with some hunting tips...

As a fairburn and lake superior agate hunter, my best hunting beds are: you guessed it---- ON EBAY! I am a confirmed ebay nut, I have to check each week to see what awesome fairburn and lake superior agates are for sale. This is a expensive habit at times, but one that I love.

Seriously now, finding high quality agates, especially fairburn and lake superior agates is getting to be more difficult as the years go by. Many old collectors are now gone, their awesome collections have been disposed of and many of the best collecting areas are closed due to overuse and new federal and state collecting laws.

As a lover of the wilderness, I feel that many of the problems that have occurred have been due to unrestrained use and abuse of these special lands. We need to unite to open more of these collecting areas by working together and using our influence. Plus, we need to educate the young adults as to the wonders of collecting, as well as working together as collectors to preserve our distinctive heritage.

Note: that updates to state and federal laws and current policies will be added to this site at a later date.

Grassland Agate Beds in South Dakota

One of the best places to hunt is in the Buffalo Gap Grasslands of South Dakota and the Oglala National Grasslands of Nebraska. New finds are being found daily, since erosion with wind and water is continually exposing new freshly exposed areas to hunt. River beds are a great place to look for new agates, but be careful and wear boots for rattlesnakes.

The best tips and tricks as well as photos of exceptional finds and stories will be added to this site, to be shared with our agate community. Please use a self addressed and stamped envelope for return of photos.

Agate Beds of South Dakota

Agate Hunting in South Dakota

Fred's agate hunting expertise is well known, at least by me, since he usually finds all the best agates!

Fred and I, have been agate hunters as well as fossil hunters for years. We love to go rock and fossil hunting and know that hunting agates is an art. Now if you can find an "old-timer" that will assist you with "educating you" to be an expert agate hunter and prospector, then you are in for a real rock hounding treat!

In the grasslands of South Dakota, are many areas that are open to agate hunting. The primary hunting areas for the fairburn agate were east of Fairburn, east of Oelrichs and south of Ardmore. Please note that there is to be no collecting in National Park Areas as well as Wilderness Areas, and that collecting is only permitted on national grasslands and with permission on private lands.

To Find Fairburn Agates:

  • Look for rocks with parallel banding
  • Look for rocks with a smooth, exterior texture
  • Look for holly shaped patterns
  • Look for rough melted, cracked surface look
  • Look for thumb print indentations

Top Quality Fairburn with Holly Pattern

Prairie Agates:

  • Prairie agates are not fairburn agates
  • Prairie agates have cloud shaped patterns
  • Prairie agates do not have parallel banding stripes
  • Prairie agates are nice agates and beautiful too

If there are any prospectors/agate hunters (you don't have to be an "old timer"), out there that would like to share their tips and tricks on prospecting, please feel free to send them to:

Thank you, Jennie




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