My name is Jan Lakowski, and for the past twenty-odd years (I was born in 1982) I have collected Scottish agates. I do not intend to discuss the subject of agate genesis here, nor do I intend to sell any specimens, instead, this website is a way for me to share the most beautiful, unusual and elusive of the agates in my collection. It must also be noted while all the specimens photographed for this website were self-collected (unless unusually I have indicated otherwise) the majority of the agates on this site were cut, ground, and polished by David Hudson, a very fine lapidary and valued friend. This website should be considered as a tribute to his talents. His website in collaboration with Andy Robson can be linked to here.

                 Please take a look!

 

I particularly appreciate stalactitic and sagenitic agates. Stalactitic agates consist of inclusions of chalcedony in quartz and agate formed in long vertical formations, that resemble those that can be found in caves of limestone. Sagenitic agates show "sprays" of zeolites which are various mineral inclusions, that the chalcedony has formed around in layers, sometimes "gloving" the inclusions with unexpected and beautiful results. In my years of collecting, I have aimed to identify the locations on the east coast of Scotland where these types of agate are most likely to occur. They can be difficult to identify in the field, and examples of these varieties may be discarded by an unscrupulous collector if unrecognized. Sagenitic agates (or sagenite, the name is derived from the similarity of the formations of mineral inclusions to actual sagenite which does not occur in agate) can be of a material other than agate, or contain little translucence. Only experience can inform a prospector of their occurrence. It has been said that sagenite in Scotland, where it appears, is often of little distinction, and not as well formed as in agates from foreign locales, but in my experience in locations where it is encountered, fine specimens can be found, with perseverance, serendipity, a sharp eye and timing. It is my aim to show others how wonderfully strange this form of agate can appear, and in Scotland, as opposed to more exotic locations. Additionally I am also interested in Scottish jaspers, mainly those that contain agate also, as well as orbicular jaspers, plume agates and moss agates.

 

It would have been possible for me to have been very specific as regards each location, and as to where each specimen has been discovered, however I feel it is important that I make very clear how compulsory your own exploration is when it comes to fossicking along the coast. A far greater sense of satisfaction and achievement can be attained by happening upon the more remote and least accessible locations yourself. It must also be said that if a recently discovered location is discussed, the supply of agates may be soon exhausted if many collectors are made aware of the exact spot. Often you will find clues that suggest even in a very well hidden area, you are indeed, not the sole pioneer. The coast is in a state of constant flux as regards the emergence of fresh material and stoic perseverance is nearly always rewarded if generally productive areas are investigated thoroughly. In the case of Usan, Kinneff, Mull and others, caution must be advised when descending steep inclines to search pockets of shingle. Tide times must also be scrutinized, if not to protect yourself from a swiftly rising tide in a very exposed location, then certainly to provide yourself with the most productive period for collecting (mostly as the tide ebbs or retreats, especially after an unusually high tide or after periods where the sea has been rough which may or may not be reflected in weather inland, during precipitous weather where the shingle is wet and translucent material is more visible, when the light is diffuse under heavy clouds and strong sunlight will not compromise your vision (although searching shingle in the early morning or late evening on a sunny day may highlight specimens unseen otherwise) or especially in areas where coastal shingle is prevalent, as the high tide reaches its apex and new material is revealed, sometimes in my experience, in front of your very eyes) Pinpoint your own favourite locations through your own experience of an area, and always carry extra clothing, food, water, and a mobile phone and alternative light source when exploring the more remote areas.

Several photos in the Usan section and in the Kinneff section were taken by my very dear friend David Dorman, a very fine and imaginative photographer. You can probably tell which ones (let me give you a clue, his are the photos that are IN FOCUS!)

 

For anyone with any questions as regards the content of this website, I can be contacted here: jan.lakowski82@gmail.com. Alternatively, please post a comment below.