Friday, July 22, 2011

Jequitinhonha Agate from Brazil

Last year at Moose Lake Agate Days I purchased a 12 pound Jequitinhonha Agate from Brazil. The guy I bought it from had just a handful of these amazing agates that he purchased from a guy who said they had been stored since the 1970s.  Apparently someone hypothesized back then that the rivers of what now is Brazil drained the diamond fields of what is now western Africa 250 million years ago when the continents were last connected as Pangea.

Here are a couple of shots of the agate I purchased.

This agate completely blew me away. It was found buried in the Jequitinhohna River in Minas Gerais, Brazil . Apparently the sands of the river are diamond bearing. After the agate eroded free of its host rock, it ended up in this river. The river sands contained diamond dust, deposited when the continents were last connected as Pangea. The diamond bearing sands in the river naturally polished the agate.

We all thought that there were just a few of these incredible agates available. Last winter, however, the guy who had the agates called my dealer to admit that he held some back. When I showed up at Moose Lake this year, my dealer friend had around five bins of this agate for sale at a price more reasonable than what I paid last year for the one I purchased. The lower price allowed me to buy 25 or so of these agates to sell at the Gitche Gumee Museum. They range in price from $60 to $190, the latter being an agate that weighs over 15 pounds.

Here is a shot of some of these agates showing mostly the husk side -- still naturally polished.

Here are a couple of maps to show you the geographical location of the Brazilian agates. Most of the Brazilian agates are located in the southern part of the country.

The Jequitinhonha agates are found in the central part of Brazil.

The map of Pangea, which is the name of the landmass given to the super continent that formed when all the continents were last combined, shows the close geographical proximity between the Jequitinhonha agate area and the diamond fields of western Africa.

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