Hot Rockhounding Spots: Bouquet Agates

Bouquet Agate

Bouquet agates are agates embedded with tiny colorful flower “bouquets” rather than the more common banded agate like those in the header photo above. Where are these most lovely and rare agates found? Bouquet agates are found in the Trans Pecos region which extends from the Chihuahua desert in northern Mexico through the scenic, arid mountains of Big Bend National Park and Gaudalupe  National Park in west Texas. Our rock hunting adventure began in the U.S. border town of Presidio, Texas and took us to the football field sized agate bed of  Manual Benavides which is 12 miles south of Lajitas, Texas.  This agate bed is so remote we wondered how it was ever discovered! Yet getting there (with a guide) is only the start.  Now the hard work really begins; the agates are typically buried 6-12 inches underground just above a layer of green volcanic basalt. Uncut agates usually range in size from 1-5 inches in diameter, are egg shaped and absolutely ugly! 

Bouquet Agate Rough

 Only when hand cut by a diamond saw are the delicate, colorful bouquets revealed.  However, about 9 in 10 are disappointments with only clear chalcedony centers, so we gather as many as possible in the dry Mexico sun hoping for a few of the spectacular bouquets!   To see many more photographs of these incredible stones go to Matt Dillon’s FlickR site:  

Check back soon for more of our rock hounding adventures in Mexico, the American Southwest, Brazil, and Namibia and beyond!  Silver and Stones is always interested in learning about interesting rock hounding adventures.  Can you share your experiences with remote rock hounding sites?

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