My last post was on valuable gemstones.  This one will be on “gems” that you can find for free on any beach!  Quartzite beachstones are not rare and other types of semiprecious stones can be found on the beaches of the world including agates, jadeite, nephrite, jasper, chert and flint, black onyx and fossilized stones.  Tiny bits of garnet can color the sand red on some beaches, including our beaches here on Long Island, stoneinstone_2565

So which beaches should you visit and what should you be looking for?  Remember, each beach is very different:

Lake Superior: agates

Oregon beach agates, beaches around Newport including “Agate beach”.

Jasper Beach, Machiasport, Maine: rhyolite (Jasper beach is a misnomer)

Michigan Petoskey Stone (state stone), fossilized stone

Several beaches in New Zealand:

But I am sure you can find a good beach near you wherever you live!  Let me know by email if you find a cool beach as I would like to visit them all!

What to do with the beach stones once you have collected them?  You can just put them in a jar and decorate your house. You can buy a rock tumbler and start polishing them.  This can be fun.  It does use up quite a bit of electric and most tumblers are noisy.  I would be glad to recommend a brand. I have nine tumblers and use them all the time.

Several jewelers have done interesting things with beach stones, but watch out for designs that are too heavy!

There are tutorials on the web on how to drill beach stones with diamond bits in case you want to get started.

Cool  books:

Beach Stones (Hardcover), by Josie Iselin (Author), Margaret Carruthers (Author)

Poems have been written about beach stone collectors. I like this one:


Finally, you have got to read this amazing article about Rob Holman.  He collects sand from all over the world’s beaches and has about 1000 different samples in little vials.  He is a geophysicist and studies beach erosion. This article is a very good read:

Happy travels and let me know what you find.  And please visit our website.


M  A  I  D  S  T  O  N  E    J  E  W  E  L  R  Y

2 Maidstone Park Road

East Hampton, NY 11937

631 379 2200

7 responses to “BEACH STONES

  1. Nice post, Please make the following adjustment for your link of:

    Oregon beach agates, beaches around Newport including “Agate beach”.

    This site:

    has moved due to Geocities closing down October 26, therefore. Agates of the Oregon Coast has moved to

    Thank you for your kind link,


  2. link corrected – thanks. D

  3. I’m not positive the place you are getting your information, but good topic. I must spend some time studying much more or understanding more. Thanks for excellent info I was in search of this info for my mission.

  4. Pingback: Beach Art | Maidstonejewelry's Blog

  5. Hello! Thanks for the valuable info on your blog, I really appreciated your article on choosing diamond bits.

    I tried to follow your link above for how to drill beach stones as I am new to the art, but I was unable to find the article. Specifically, I am interested in tips on how to prevent the back of a stone from blowing out. And when you have softer more delicate stones, is it better to drill at high or low speeds to increase your chances of them not breaking?

    Finally, I really admire your work, you make beautiful things! Thanks for any help you might be able to offer. All the best!

  6. I think the original link was taken down so I have replaced it with a new tutorial. The key is to drill underwater (in a small bowl). I use a plastic dish. I have a small piece of wood in the dish on which I place the stone and I hold the stone in place with my fingers. The drill press is then lowered with your free hand. Do not apply too much pressure and keep the rpm as low as possible (1000 rpm range). This is to minimize the generation of heat. Heat only damages your drill bit and risks cracking the stone. Good luck. David

    • Thank you David! I have been doing mine just as you do with the exception of using a thick piece of leather remnant instead of wood.

      Thanks for the link! I found this paragraph particularly helpful and was just beginning to discover this on my own:

      “Don’t get impatient and push through the pebble on the back side. This will cause a fractured look where the bit breaks out a bigger section of the pebble. Sometimes even if you are patient this can still happen. Trial and error as well as patience are essential parts of this process.”

      Thank again for your generosity to share! I know you have saved a lot of people a lot of time with your blog on choosing drill bits!

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