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128mm x mm. Photograph by Ingrid Warden.

When one is describing collecting agates at the Lunan location, it's always difficult to explain just how much time and effort it requires to find the very best specimens. Colllectors overseas are used to having a plethora of examples available to them from digs, quarries, mountainsides, vast riverbeds, hugely extensive coastal sites, and others, albeit that many of what is gathered is not of high quality and only very few pieces once cut are worth polishing and displaying. Lunan Bay is another kettle of fish altogether. Productive shingle is nearly always very limited and so only very small numbers of pieces are to be collected on any one trip, with many trips not even providing anything worth taking home. The rarity then, of pieces such as the one photographed above, is very great. In visiting the location for over twenty years, I have maybe 10 such pieces, and numerous curiosities. I collected this agate during December 2021, while the tide was on the ebb and washing the shingle very high on the shore, south of Lunan Water. One can walk this particular stretch many, many times and discover almost nothing of note. It is so far, the largest, and most solid (that is to say composed of mostly agate and not quartz or calcite etc) piece that I know of from the location. The mossy inclusions are intriguing, and appear to be composed of calcite. I ground and polished this piece with grits (supplied by a very kind friend) and a glass tile. It took somewhere around 12 hours to accomplish in total. I feel it was worth the work! You get very close to a specimen in working very closely with it for such a convoluted span of time. You get to know every pit and curve in the outer surface, how the face feels after each stage of grit. You get to appreciate the weight of each half and how best to treat the agate with the proper utmost respect. You get to know the finer details and marvel at the intricate landscape within. It's a fascinating and visceral experience.