Hunting For Oregon Coast Agates

Hunting for Oregon Coast agates is a hobby that many beach combers get absolutely hooked on. It's no wonder!

The translucent stones that range from clear to orange to a blue-gray color are often like finding buried treasure. Very beautiful and, once tumbled, even more so.

There are roughly 15 to 20 varieties gracing the coastline, including Jaspers, Carnelians, Mosses, Clouds, and others.

These beautiful stones on the Oregon beaches tend to range from a average couple pounds in weight to hefty five pounders. They are also very hard, rating 7.5 on the Mohs scale* of 10. Ten is representative of the hardness of diamonds. As a result, they are able to take on a very high polish.

* In 1812 the Mohs scale of mineral hardness was devised by the German mineralogist Frederich Mohs (1773-1839), who selected the ten minerals because they were common or readily available, except for diamonds. 

You can test a material by the Mohs scale yourself by scratching an unknown substance against one of the known ones below. If the substance is able to scratch another, it is harder. If both scratch each other, they are the same hardness.


Hardness

Mineral

Everyday equivalent

1

Talc

Baby powder

2

Gypsum

Fingernail

3

Calcite

Bronze coin

4

Fluorite

Iron nail

5

Apatite

Glass

6

Orthoclase

Penknife blade

7

Quartz

Steel knife

8

Topaz

Sandpaper

9

Corundum

Ruby

10

Diamond

Synthetic diamond


agates oregon coast

Special Tools Needed For Your Adventure 

A bucket and your eyes! ;)
 

Best Times For Your Hunt
 

You will want to go out at low tides for sure. In fact, two hours after high tide will leave you freshly exposed beach and make them easier to locate. If you want to get even more specific, the tides rise and fall every 24 hours and 50 minutes, which leaves roughly a six hour window of time to get out there and grab them.Winter and early spring months (December through March) are primetime for stone safaris. The winter storms that blast the beaches leave them exposed for all to see. 

Get a local tide table book from nearly any of the shops in town. The small booklet should only set you back a buck or so. You're more than likely to find some books on the very subject of agate collecting. In fact, there is a store right in Newport that can help you. 


FACETS Gem & Mineral Gallery
1240 NW Grove St
Newport, Oregon 97365
541-265-6330
Website
 

 

Best Places To Find Agates

agate hunting

Contrary to popular belief, they do not come out of the ocean. A few of the standard places to search for these lovely gems are in gravel beds, in the creeks that cross the beach and at the edge of cliffs. The greatest concentration of agates are found from Florence to Otis. Below are some of the noted places along the Oregon Coast that you may consider hitting. Not a sure thing, but a good guide. ;)
 

  • Cannon Beach, long, sloping sandy beach.
     
  • Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint, north of Oceanside on the Three Capes Loop, cobble pocket beach near rocky headland.
     
  • Oceanside beach, park in paved parking lot at north end of town.
     
  • Agate Beach State Recreation Site, north of Newport.
     
  • Cape Perpetua, cobble pocket beach near rocky headland.
     
  • Neptune State Scenic Viewpoint, south of Yachats, check beach and creek.
     
  • Strawberry Hill, south of Yachats, long, sloping, sandy beach.
     
  • Whisky Creek beach, south of Charleston, check beach and creek.
     
  • Gold Beach, broad, sandy beach stretching miles to Otter Point.


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