Thundereggs from Germany
From your first encounter with them, it is apparent that there is something significant about the German thundereggs. They almost rival those of Oregon in their diversity and substance, producing some very impressive world-class rocks. They have a warmth and glowing beauty all their own - often with a pale and fine-grained matrix or fine banding agate forming atolls, crescents and elongated fissures rather than broad pools.
However, it is also apparent that there is something different in the air in Germany. There is something a little shadowy and difficult about it. German thundereggs are never quite as easy to find as you think they should be when you realize how prevalent they are in the country - and information about them is even rarer. It wasn't until quite recently that I found out why that was, when someone informed me that the collecting of German agates is actually forbidden in a very large number of places. Partly it is because the sites are within nature reserves, partly because they are on private land. Then again, insurance causes problems with digging in quarries. Sites are built over. Etc etc. Some options remain open of course - such as gravel pits. But even so, the extent of the problem was quite a shock after I had developed such a sense of the significance of these stones. Of course, the same is true in Oregon to a smaller extent, with many beds locked away in wilderness areas etc, but Germany seems to have taken that to an extreme degree and, in the process, seems to have has applied a bit of a stranglehold to the thunderegg world there, preventing it from becoming another Oregon. I suppose that is partly a reflection on the way things work in Europe - a nest of regulations and fences without much room for digging holes!
Of course, people do still collect them from forbidden sites. There can be little doubt. When there’s something that is really important to you, your conscience does tend to find its own way round external barriers. As Stephen King once said – if they outlawed stamp collecting, it wouldn't’t stop the stamp collectors, it would just mean that they would hide their stamps at the bottom of the cistern and gloat over them after dark! But it does sometimes add a sense of the underground and even of danger to the German thundereggs. They come with a vagueness and a silence that is very different to Oregon. Instead of the fun sense of thundereggs sitting on their pedestal that you get there - with collectors enthusiastically chatting about 'rough' and their many expeditions into the wilderness - here, there can be a very different dynamic going on. Sometimes German rockhounds can be reserved with their information. Where and when rocks were found is glossed over in ways that would cause an Oregon collector alarm. Specimens are reduced to a vague 'old stock' from vague locations - or even deliberately mis-identified.
All this makes this page only more important. These thundereggs are of immense importance and info concerning them should be available. I have a special fondness for German stones myself and I pay special attention to them in my collecting. I intend to use this page to present whatever limited information I can gather on them and their sites, forbidden or otherwise.