Posted by: Kath Usitalo | June 16, 2010

Agate Lady Is Still Rockin’

A couple who stopped by the museum asking Karen to assess rocks they'd found were a bit disappointed when she said there were no agates among them

In a post a year ago today I told you that the Agate Lady Rocks. Karen Brzys, an expert on the semi-precious gemstones, owns the Gitche Gumee Agate and History Museum in Grand Marais on the Upper Peninsula’s Lake Superior shore. She’s still rockin’.

The Agate Lady's new book features rock solid info and stunning photos

Karen recently completed a new book on the subject: “Agates: Inside Out.” It’s more comprehensive, she says, than her first title, “Understanding and Finding Agates.”

Both books help you to “think like an agate,” the approach she uses in guiding rockhounds on successful hunts. The new book carries 265 diagrams and color photos by expert mineral photographer Tom Shearer of Duluth, Minnesota.

I haven’t seen it yet but my brother Dennis thumbed through a sample copy on a recent visit to the museum and gives it high marks. The shipment of books is due to arrive by the end of June and will be available at the museum, online and at gift and rock shops and bookstores.

In addition to researching and writing books Karen makes “mineral art” that she sells in her museum shop and at art shows. And this summer she’s offering a lecture series on Lake Superior agates at 7 p.m. every July and August evening. The programs will be held in the “corral theater” on the museum grounds and admission is by donation.

Rock on, Agate Lady.

A sample of Karen's stained glass-like "mineral art." She also makes beautiful desktop accessories, nightlights, lamps and more.

Visitor Info Clicks:

Gitche Gumee Museum

Grand Marais

Upper Peninsula

Travel Michigan



  1. Wow…..amazingly beautimous window hanging! I can just imagine the winter sun pouring through and dreaming of summer in the warmth of the colors. I’ve even found a few agates of my own but am not very good at it. I just like rocks of any sort – rocks are good! 🙂

    • We have one of her small window pieces and you’re right—beautiful.
      She does great work; next visit I think I’ll get a nightlight.

  2. I have never been to Grand Marais, but would like to someday. Would love to learn more about agates…to have an expert identify them. Don’t think there are many on the beaches ’round here in L’anse/Baraga.

    • You must visit.
      Nice town.
      It’s been fun connecting with Karen; I admire what she’s accomplished through a lot of hard work, creativity, Finnish SISU and a number of talents.

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