a 501(c)3 Non-Profit Education Organization 23 August 2019

Revenue Streams of Fire…..AGATE!

An overlooked gemstone that can fire up serious revenue streams for you!

Stop for a second and look at the banner of this newsletter. Yes, that is fire agate. Ever seen fire agate like this? Most have not. During our recent IIJA Gemstonbe Summer School, we took a very close look at fire agate and found a gemstone with far more potential for creating amazing revenue streams than most realized. Rather than give you a bunch of mumbo-jumbo about revenue streams and generating sales, I am just going to show you the story of fire agate and let the pictures tell you how you can create some great revenue Streams of Fire…..Agate!

This is the image that most people have of fire agate, the amazing polished gemstone. This is from our friends at Fire Agate Studio. When I first saw their website and the amazing cutting craftsmanship of Ryszard Krukowski I honestly thought someone had gone a bit crazy with Adobe Photoshop. But the colors you see at left are true to life for this amazing specimen that we have here in the IIJA Student Reference Collection.

During our Gemstone Summer School last Tuesday, we took a journey deep inside the fire agate to see the wonders of this gemstone that few get to see. The beauty and romance are amazing. Join me here for a tour inside these amazing gemstones and the very, very unique properties they present.

For our journey, we had some wonderful specimens of fire agate donated to us by IIJA Global Community member Michael Gillespie, along with a collection of rough and polished specimens from various places. At first glance, they all look pretty much the same…but that is where your eyes deceive you. In truth, every fire agate is special. Every fire agate has its own romance and beauty that is individual to itself.

Every fire agate…..has the potential to create a fiery revenue stream. Let’s look closer.

There are several explanations of the term “fire agate” depending on whom you are talking to. My personal favorite is what you see at left. When light is transmitted through the stone it looks like a burning ember from a fire. Always unique and always pretty.

Others make the case that the burning embers are shown in the color shaped nodules as you saw with the Fire Agate Studio specimen above. You can choose whatever works for you because there are no wrong answers to this one. Fire agates present many different views that are always hot as fire when it comes to capturing a customer’s interest, if you know and appreciate the beauty of fire agate.


At right is another view of another fire agate using an overhead LED fiber-optic light and the back transmitted halogen fiber optic light. The amazing changes will “wow” your customers if you practice and know how to demonstrate the romantic beauty of this stone.

But wait! There’s MORE!



Here is a great image that captures the nodule formation of the fire agate. It is along the formations of these nodules that the fire agate structure and colors form. It is reported by several members of our IIJA Global Community, however, to be very careful when cutting fire agate. The color-generating layers are very thin and, just like opal, it is very easy to polish your way right through the color-producing areas without knowing it. For this reason, fire agate requires a very experienced hand when cutting and polishing.

Most sellers of fire agate rough have it in pans of water and there is a reason for this. As you can see at right, here we have a piece of fire agate rough both dry and wet. It is far easier to see the potential of the rough gemstone when finished if you view it wet. I don’t recommend licking it, but if you find what appears to be a nice fire agate rough that is shown dry, a little bit of spit can go a long way to helping you make an informed purchasing decision.

But don’t lick it….as your Mother would tell you….you don’t know where it’s been!


Here are a few slides to demonstrate what fire agate looks like rough and then to the finished, polished gemstone. Once again, it takes an experienced fire agate craftsperson to bring out the complete beauty of a fire agate but when complete, there is nothing like it anywhere in the world.

Sometimes polishing the top of a fire agate can create amazing structures. Below are three images at 10x, 30x, 60x through our Meiji Techno microscope showing a radial pattern structure of this fire agate with a polished top. The nodule structure was oriented just right to present this amazing radial color wheel pattern in this gemstone. As I said earlier, every fire agate is different and every fire agate is amazing!


One of the best ways to demonstrate the beauty and rarity of a fire agate is by using even the most basic of microscopes. Here at 10x and 30x you see the nodule formation of this fire agate, a classic formation that has become the most famous formation for showing fire agate beauty.

This particular specimen is fairly rough and was polished just on the top of the stone. Imagine the beauty of top quality, finely finished fire agate when shown to your customers in a microscope. They will be amazed!

This next one is just for fun. At right you see a small portion of a fire agate that has been surface polished without any real attempt to cut the stone to a finished condition for the setting. But this small area caught my eye as I have learned to look closely at every stone as every fire agate demonstrates new and unusual features and formations.

This one was no exception as seen below.

My wife loves cheetah print, so anything cheetah I am always on the look-out for in case I find something special for an upcoming birthday or anniversary. That is why I was quite amazed to find this cheetah print looking area of this fire agate. Cheetah Agate? I don’t think so, but this is definitely a cheetah print in this fire agate, demonstrating once again that you need to always be on the lookout for something new and unusual in fire agate.

I did make a large size print of this and sent it to her for our upcoming 28th wedding anniversary in October.

I will most likely have to find something else to go with it, though.

But there is one more astounding image that I found in this small fire agate.

Here is it below.

I call this the Streams of Fire…Agate. This image has not been Photoshop’d or worked. This is how it looks with an overhead Mike Lite LED Fiber Optic. The added light source of the LED fiber optic brings out many features that the ordinary halogen dark field and fluorescent overhead simply cannot show. To me, the image at right looks like some kind of lava field with fiery rivers of brightly lit lava flowing through the channels.

What does it look like to you?

THAT….is the beauty of fire agate. Always different. Always special, and always beautiful.

Its fire agate. A natural gemstone mined mainly in the Southwest US and Mexico, that is available for you to create your own amazing revenue stream of fire agate…..for yourself.

Robert James FGA, GG
President, Insurance Institute of Jewelry Appraisal

a 501(c)3 Non-Profit Education Organization

Tuition Increase Coming Sept. 1.

Due to the increasing cost of operations, the IIJA must announcement significant tuition and rate increases as of September 1, our first tuition increase in 8 years. We are announcing this early to give everyone considering joining us to do so at the current low tuition price. 


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