During that past several years, we have been looking for agates in our country, Argentina. The main sources are located in the following three regions:

1- Cuyean Region (commercially known as “Condor” agates);
2- Patagonian Region (Patagonian agates - this region is separated from the rest of the regions in Argentina by the Rio Colorado or in English, the Red River).
3- Mesopotamian Region (where "Entre Rios“ agates are found).

The climates, wildlife and landscapes are completely different in each of these regions


The above picture shows a source of agate near San Rafael City, Mendoza Province, about 30 kilometers from the main road. No cell Phones work here. The landscape is not very “friendly”; it has thorny bushes and precipices so that it is advisable to watch your step. I slipped twice here with my back-pack and slid on my back for about 3 meters . That hurt! There are no dangerous animals here. Although there are tons of agates here, it is not easy to find really good ones.

Agate that we had to dig
because there were no more
agates on the surface.

Same agate wet.

Agates found by the end
of the day . They looked
fine, but were disappointing
after they were cut.

Good example of a Cuyean agate.


This is our favorite place to hunt for agates. The landscape is beautiful, horizon is endless, no one around, just animal traces of foxes, Guanacos (like a Llama), and ostridges. It is a very lonely place where no sounds of motors, people (even airplanes) are heard. Of course once you are there, you are on your own. There is no dangerous wildlife here. Although during March, we found a poisonous snake (really unusual) and some Black Widow Spiders that are more common. We travel more often to this area than to other sources in Argentina. The distance from our home in Buenos Aires to one of the sources is of approximately 2400 kilometers. We often drive about 6,000 kilometers for an entire trip.

One of the sources in the Patagonian Region

Patagonian Agate source during Summer

Patagonian Agate source during Winter

Agates found by the end of the day.

Good example of a Patagonian Agate


Inside a Natural Reserve near the agate sources.

Entre Rios Province is about 400 kilometers from Buenos Aires. Agates here are abundant, but quality agates are very scarce with less 2% being “collector grade”.

Claudia trying to find “the Agate”.

Uruguay River, natural border between Uruguay and Argentina.

There is a dangerous and poisonous snake here called the Yarará (Bothrops alternatus)that attacks on sight. Fortunately they can be easily seen because of their bright colors.

The following shows a mountain of agates in an agate mill . These agates are now being grinded up to build a very long highway to Brazil.

Agate Hill

Some of the agates look very similar to Brazilian Agates. Sometimes, and after cutting several hundreds of kilos of “Entre Rios” Agates, something unusual might appear.

Gray and yellow agate from Entre Rios

Green pseudomorph

Blue and beige agate

The following pictures are of slices in our new “experiment”.

Slice from Entre Rios agate

Slice from Entre Rios agate

Slice from Entre Rios agate

The following pictures are hand Polished agates from Entre Rios Province - this is also a new “experiment”.

Hand polished agate

Hand polished agate

Hand polished agate

When traveling Northwards towards the Brazilian Border, agates get bigger and quality gets lower .

Ricardo & Claudia Birnie