superior trails | lake superior sunset superiortrails - shovel point

Lake Superior Agates, Gemstones & Rocks
Part 3 - Identifying More Beach Rocks & Minerals

Eye Agate from Lake Superior Beach
Here's an Eye Agate my neice found at Little Girl's Point



Go Here for Guide Books on Lake Superior Beach Rocks and Lake Superior Agates

How to tell Lake Superior Agates from Rocks that look like Agates

In a previous page, Part 1, I offered pictures and descriptions of common beach rocks found on Lake Superior beaches. In a seccond page, Part 2, I show some beach rocks & minerals, and some agates, that can be polished into attractive gemstones. In this page, Part 3, I continue to show and describe more varieties of rocks and minerals that make attractive gemstones. I also show here some recent agate finds and some agate-wanna-bes that some will mistakenly identify as an agate.

My identification and descriptions rely on a variety of sources, all of which are listed in the recommended agate & beach rock books section at the bottom of this page. The book "Rocks & Minerals" by Bob and Dan Lynch was particularly helpful because of the huge amount of color pictures of various specimens. The "Lake Superior Rock Picker's Guide" by Kevin Gauthier and Bruce Mueller provided some helpful supplementary information, as did my reference books by Susan Robinson and Sparky Stensaas. Karen Brzys booklet on "Understanding and Finding Agates" was helpful in identifying true agates from agate first cousins or agate wanna-bes.

Clicking on the small images shown here will bring up a larger view in a separate window. By the way, if you want to print out any of these larger images, just *right click* on the image and choose "copy image" to copy it to your hard drive. Once there you can click on it and print it out.

blue line
Agate Cousins - Agate Wanna-Bees

water level agate

Water Level Agate?

I initially thought this was a water level agate but because the bands appear more opaque rather than translucent I think not. The bands are formed like they do in an agate but the crystals of the bands are so small they are opaque.



basalt with quartz band

Basalt with Quartz fill

Here's another example of a banded rock that isn't an agate. Quartz has filled a seam in a basalt rock.



jasper quartzjasper quartz agatejasper quartz


Here's three quartz occlusions where jasper has been fused with quartz with some agate-like banding around the margins. Some would consider these true agates.

banded gneiss

Banded Gneiss

Here is another example of opaque bands formed in a metamorphic rock. Gneiss is abundant in the Upper Peninsula beaches.

banded chalcedony

Quartz-Chalcedony Bands

Here we have translucent bands alternating with some that look more opaque. However from what I understand exists with a true agate, the bands are too broad. So I'd say this is another wanna-be.



I believe these specimens are prehnite. The specimen on the far right may have some copper staining.



These rocks are Jasper, a microcrystaline form of quartz that has been stained, usually by iron ore. The rock on the right is Jasperlite with bands of iron ore.

Jasper with Calcite fill

jasper with quartz inclusions


This Jasper rock has calcite inclusions.




These banded rocks are slate, another metamorphic rock. Originally a layered sedimentary rock but was later subjected to heat and pressure to fuse the layers together. Slate are smooth and usually flat. Make good skipping stones.



I think these interesting rocks are chert.


Books on Lake Superior Agate Hunting & Rock Picking

Many of the books we own ourselves or have reviewed them extensively in libraries or bookstores. They are offered through our association with as an Amazon Associate (our modest commission on sales is paid by Amazon, not you)


Understanding and Finding Agates
Lake Superior Rocks & Minerals: A Field Guide to the Lake Superior Area

Recommended by a SuperiorTrails friend & rock hound, this new guide has actual photographs of various rocks and minerals found on Lake Superior beaches. Co-author Bob Lynch is owner of Agate City Rocks and Gifts in Two Harbors Minnesota

Agate Hunting DVD
DVD: How to Find Agates

Karen Brzys. Director, Gitchee Gumee Agate & History Museum, has created this comprehensive tutorial to finding agates. Includes over 750 photographs and diagrams.

Lake Superior Rocks and Minerals

Lake Superior Rocks & Minerals Field Guide

This new edition by Dan and Bob Lynch will help you identify up to 75 rocks and minerals you might find washed up on Lake Superior beaches. Has full color photographs to aid in identification.

Lake Superior Rock Pickers GuideLake Superior Rock Picker's Guide

Here is another book recommended by a Superior Trails reader and rock hound who was able to identify over 50 rocks found on the beach using this guide by Kevin Gauthier and Bruce Mueller. Also included are tips for polishing the stones and rock. Kevin and Bruce also publish a similar guide for Lake Michigan rocks.

Agate Hunting on Lake Superior BeachesAgate Hunting Made Easy: How to Really Find Lake Superior Agates

My wife Jo found this agate hunters book while traveling in the UP and thought it would help her find her first Lake Superior Agate. It is full of tips for agate hunting (and rock picking) and has some very good color photographs of a number of agate variations as well as photos of the other kinds of rocks you'll find on Lake Superior beaches.


rock pickers guide to lake superiors north shoreRock Pickers Guide to
Lake Superior's North Shore

Sparky's guide covers what north shore beaches to comb, a bit of history on the formation of the various rocks found on beaches, and helpful information and pictures on identifying beach rocks and minerals.

Gift Ideas for your
favorite Rock Hound

Agate Shirt
Rock Collector &
Agate Hunter
T- Shirts

Agate IdentificationAgates of Lake Superior

See more recommendations on guides and books on Lake Superior Rocks, Minerals & Agates



burlington bay beach
Best Agate and Rock Picking Beaches around Lake Superior

Rock On Festival - Lake Superior Agates

Agate collections on saleWe were there at the 2021 13th Annual Rock On Agate Festival in Grand Marais, Michigan.

We had a great time at last year's festival. My wife Jo found 5 agates on the beach and is now an addicted agate hound!.

Links for Rock Picking on Lake Superior Beachs and information on Agates and Rocks found around Lake Superior

- Minnesota's State Gem: The Lake Superior Agate

- Common Minnesota Rocks - Minnesota Geological Survey

- Bob's Rock Shop - Online 'Zine for Rock Hounds

- Rock Identification Key - By Don Peck on
(I just recently found this site. The key looks real neat and am looking forward to using it on my mystery rocks)

For a nice introduction to rock tumbling, see Cheralyn Maturi's Minnesota Iron Range Website

Marie Frazier, who lives in central Minnesota, has created a number of unique jewelry items from Lake Superior Agates and other gemstones. See her Lake Superior Agate Jewelry Website here.

About the Lake Superior Agate - Minnesota's State Gem


Continuing your Travel & Trekking
  Around Lake Superior
Superior Trails Lake Superior Circle Tour

The big holiday season attraction around Lake Superior is Duluth's Bentleyville Tour of Lights, one of the largest outdoor holiday lights displays in the USA. See more Duluth Holiday events here. - Reinhold Development - 2023
Privacy Policy Mobile-Friendly Lake Superior Circle Tour Travel Planner

bay furnace campground upper peninsula Lake Superior Camping
& Campground Directory

Best Camping along Lake Superior.

Shovel PointLake Superior Travel Directories

Minnesota Travel
Wisconsin Travel
Upper Peninsula Travel
Ontario Travel

See our Directory of our favorite Upper Peninsula Scenic and Recreation areas.Upper Peninsula Porcupine Mountains

Walking along Canal Park Drive Don't miss experiencing Duluth's Canal Park, Shopping and Entertainment District.

Enger Park Tower Duluth MN
Duluth's Enger Park Tower provides a panaramic view of the city of Duluth.

porcupine mountains hiking trails
See our reviews on Best Hiking and Camping Guides around Lake Superior.

Canal Park Brewery Beer Garden
Enjoying lake breezes and views at the Canal Park Brewery Beer Garden - Canal Park.

Best Burgers in Duluth
Follow our Hunt for the
Best Burgers & Pubs in Duluth, Minnesota.

Pride of Baltimore II Tall ShipTall Ships Duluth Festival is coming in 2016


Canal Park Brewery Beer Garden Enjoying lake breezes and views at the Duluth Canal Park Brewery Beer Garden - Canal Park.

Devils Island Lighthouse Apostle Islands
See the lighthouses on an Apostle Islands Cruise.

burlington bay beach
Best Agate and Rock Picking Beaches around Lake Superior

Travel Information

lake superior road map of Lake Superior Shoreline
Lake Superior Circle Tour Road Map & Guide to Travel Attractions around Lake Superior.

How to recognize Lake Superior Agates and Beach Rocks.Lake Superior Agate?

Best Lake Superior Agate Beaches

saxon harbor beach

Understanding and Finding Agates
See Our Reviews of the best guides to Lake Superior Agates and Beach Rocks.


Agate collections on sale
At the Lake Superior Agate Festival

basalt with quartz band
Agate Imposters - Agate Wanna-bees

Grandpa Tony's madeline island and Most popular Madeline Island AttractionsSee our guide to interesting and fun things to see and do on Madeline Island.

rose garden plantings
See Duluth's Rose Garden at Leif Erickson Park.

Golf Courses Around Lake Superior
See our
Reviews of golf courses around Lake Superior.