South Dakota Rockhound

Bubblegum Agates

Fairburns get the acclaim and are the most sought after agate from South Dakota. Prairie Agates are the most widespread. Bubblegum agates are sometimes their basic form, they often do look like plain, rather monotone chunks of chewed and discarded bubblegum. The real magic of bubblegums often doesn't show until you tumble polish them, when the gorgeous patterns underneath are revealed. Here's a collection of bubblegum agate photos, including some showing what they look like in their "raw' form, and then the beauty of a polished stone.

 Click on any of the images below for a larger view

Bubblegum Agates

Spotted Heart - Bubblegum Agate Bubblegum Agate - "Brain Coral" "Bloodstone" - Bubblegum agate
"Spotted Heart" - A fairly typical (but gorgeous!) pattern on a tumble-polished bubblegum agate, with the obvious eyes. Patterns like this often aren't revealed until after a polish removes and smooths outer layers. "Brain Coral" - A raw, unpolished bubblegum agate just as it was found on the Buffalo Gap National Grasslands. Most are reddish in color, so the creams of this one are a bit unusual. "Bloodstone" - Another typical, polished bubblegum agate. This ruddy red color is pretty common for the bubblegums from Buffalo Gap National Gasslands. 
Bubblegum Agate - Asssorted "Red Pox" - Bubblegum Agate Deep Beauty - Bubblegum Agate
Assorted bubblegum agates, as found on the Grasslands and unpolished. "Red Pox" - Reddish and creamy tones seem to be the most common colors on bubblegum agates we find, some with red "eyes" on a creamy background, some vice-versa. "Deep Beauty" - This one was left in the tumbler a while. Most of the obvious eyes were tumbled off, revealing these subtle patterns underneath.
Bubblegum Agate (Raw) - South Dakota Rockhound Bubblegum Agate (Mid-polish) - South Dakota Rockhound Bubblegum Agate 5 - South Dakota Rockhound
"Hidden Beauty" (1 of 3) - Doesn't look like much, does it? We call these "Easter Island heads", raw bubblegums that often look like Eastern Island statues (particularly the dark ones). You wouldn't think this would polish well, but... "Hidden Beauty" (2 of 3) - This photo shows the same stone after it's been in the rough-polish phase for a good month. The irregularities are getting worn down, and some of the patterns underneath are becoming evident. "Hidden Beauty" (3 of 3) - The final product. This after another month and a half of rough-polishing and fine polishing. It's hard to believe beautiful patterns like this can be found under "ugly duckling" stones like the first pics to the left.
Bubblegum Agate 11 - South Dakota Rockhound Bubblegum Agate 12 - South Dakota Rockhound Bubblegum Agate 13 - South Dakota Rockhound
"Holy Crap!" - The most appropriately named stone out here. This was a little black chunk before throwing it in the polisher. It's one of those stones that when you first open the polisher and see it, you let out a loud "Holy crap!", given the unexpected beauty that resulted from the polish.  A small stone, but one of my absolute favorites. "Holy Crap - The Sequel" - Another of the small bubblegums with just an incredibly gorgeous pattern underneath an initially plain exterior. "Cousin Eddie"- You know cousin Eddie from the "Vacation" movies"? The family  member that just didn't fit in? This is the Cousin Eddie of the bubblegum world, a polished bubblegum with a pattern different than the rest (although definitely not in a bad way here).
Bubblegum Agate 14 - South Dakota Rockhound Bubblegum Agate 15 - South Dakota Rockhound Bubblegum Agate 16 - South Dakota Rockhound
"Creepy Eyes" - Another of the small bubblegums with just an incredibly gorgeous pattern underneath an initially plain exterior.  "Ruddy Cloud" - Not sure I should have ever started naming each piece. My creativity in naming only goes so far! So named here for the two "clouds" against the ruddy red background.  "Bob" - Hey, told you I was running out of good names. So let's just call this one "Bob". Each polished bubblegum is unique, but you see the red/cream/mottled "theme" here, as with many others. Makes it tough to come up with a unique name!
Bubblegum Agate 17 - South Dakota Rockhound Bubblegum Agate 18 - South Dakota Rockhound Bubblegum Agate 19 - South Dakota Rockhound 
"The Limit - The pattern on many bubblegums definitely doesn't extend through to the core of the stone. There have been some stones where I've shaped and polished too much, and most of the pattern has disappeared. This one is approaching the limit, where more rough polishing and there'd probably be little pattern left. "Beyond The Limit - And if you take a polish even further like this one?  You might have a few splotched remnants of the "eyes" of a bubblegum, but most of what's left is the main matrix at the core of the rock. Still a pretty one with the crystally core of this stone. "Bill" - This is "Bob's" older brother.  Obviously a similar kind of bubblegum agate, but a little bigger.
Bubblegum Agate 20 - South Dakota Rockhound Bubblegum Agate 21 - South Dakota Rockhound Bubblegum Agate 22 - South Dakota Rockhound
"The Imposter"- Polished bubblegums often seem to have these thing, parallel bands. They're often "Fairburn-like", with very thin, parallel bands, even having the fortification pattern of a Fairburn. But the patterns are always very, very fine, with very thin banding. "Deep Black"- A definite bubblegum shape when I started polishing it, this one was pure black on the outside. I tumbled it for over a month...still all black. Another month, and a hint of pattern started showing through. More tumbling led to this, showing some incredible fine banding, but only found WELL down below the original surface. "Ugly Duckling"- A weird looking, worn bubblegum before any polishing.  The "eyes" are apparent, but some differential weathering on different structures has led to a very unusual shape.
Bubblegum Agate 23 - South Dakota Rockhound Bubblegum Agate 24 - South Dakota Rockhound  
"Thick Crust Pizza"- REALLY thick crusty, with a nice tomato sauce on a slice of pizza.  You see it, don't you?  Anyone? Anyone? "Hidden Treasures"- Given that agates form in rock cavities, it's not surprising that many agates you find HAVE partially filled cavities. Often they only become evident after tumbling. Here, a little window to the hidden cavity was revealed after tumbling.  
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