July 7th, 2016 (8am – 5pm) – Symposium, Performing Arts Center; Cedarburg, WI (on the High School Campus)…  and sneak preview of show floor for Symposium Ticketholders!

The Symposium will consist of world renowned Geologists, Authors and Collectors from around the globe. These seminars will also be professionally recorded and a Collector DVD set will be produced to commemorate the occasion.

Presenters will cover topics ranging from the different types of agates, their formations and locations, to the history of Lapidary Arts. Presentations are being scheduled based on scientific, historic and/or educational significance and will be beneficial to the experienced rock enthusiast as well as the new rock adventurer.

Symposium Ticketholders will enjoy a morning and afternoon filled with these presentations. After the presentations are complete, they will also be treated to a “sneak preview” of the 2016 Agate Expo Show Floor from 6:30pm until 9pm.  Vendors will be open for business during this time frame. Here is the complete Symposium Schedule.

Confirmed Speakers

Johann_Zenz Johann Zenz – Keynote Speaker

Topic: “Idar-Oberstein – Over 700 Years of Agate History”

Born in 1960 Johann Zenz came across minerals and fossils in early secondary school. He was infected by the love of minerals and soon the first collecting excursions followed. The membership in a local rock club brought intensive contact with experienced collectors. The collection was continuously expanded during his annual vacations in the alpine regions of Salzburg province (today “Hohe Tauern National Park” – with severe collecting restrictions) together with his father and his brother who served as the “driver”….Click for More



Mark_Anderson_pic Mark Anderson

Topic: Agatized Dinosaur Bone

In first grade another student shared his dad’s Oregon opal that was in a sealed jar filled with water for show and tell. Mark was mesmerized, and his fascination with rocks has continued since that day. While Mark’s art teachers found he naturally excelled in his classes, he never discovered his true “home” within an art genre until he had a pivotal moment when he stumbled across a copy of Lapidary Arts Magazine in 2000. It was an “ah ha” moment that he will never forget…Click for More



Breznia_pic Jamie Brezina

Topic: Sedimentary Agates of the United States

Jamie Brezina’s curiosity for agates and geology began at the early age of 10 when a family friend, Marion Ross took him out collecting in west-central Iowa. Marion planted a seed in Jamie’s mind that has lasted for 30 years. This seed has directed Jamie to countless adventures, ever seeking that next great specimen. He is currently pursuing a Mining Engineering degree at SDSM&T and has competed in an International Intercollegiate Mining Competition for four years. His most current agate project is sedimentary agates including their occurrence, deposition environment, and correlation of regional paloenvironments….Click for More



Marco_Campos_Venuti_pic Marco Campos-Venuti

Topic: Shapes of Bands in Nodular Agates

Marco Campos-Venuti was born in 1965. He has a PhD in volcanologist and is editor of the Rivista Gemmologica Italiana. Since his childhood he is a passionate collector of stones, and was always curious to investigate their origin. He has an important collection of agates and jaspers and has written innumerable scientific papers….Click for More



Dr. Jens Goetze Dr. Jens Göetze

Topic: Agates of Saxony

Jens was born in Jena, Thuringia (Germany). After finishing education and army, he studied mineralogy and geochemistry at Freiberg University of Mining and Technology. Jens finished his PhD thesis on industrially used high-purity quartz raw materials. Afterwards, he worked for some years for the glass and ceramics industry and participated in various scientific projects….Click for More



Thom_Lane_pic Thom Lane

Topic: Baker Ranch Thundereggs


Thom began collecting fossils in Texas when he was eight. His family moved many times during World War II and collecting helped him maintain some continuity in his life. When he was twelve his family settled in San Jose and he began mining and collecting more seriously. Thom mined the dumps and tunnels of the old mercury mines for rare mercury minerals which he traded with other collectors….Click for More



dietrich_mayer_pic Dietrich Mayer

Topic: Agates of Poland

In 1972, he started collecting crystallized minerals and agates. The nearby agate locales in Rheinhessen inspired his interest in agates. Over the years his collection grew more and more and he became more critical as to what to add to it. Nevertheless his collection comprises about 4500 agates from locations around the world. He found about one third of the agates himself, the remainder being acquired through purchase or trades. His favorite agates in the collection are those from Rheinhessen…Click for More



pat_mcmahan_pic Pat McMahan

Topic: Agates with Inclusions

Pat McMahan was born in Los Angeles, California in 1947. At the age of 8 he met Professor Ade, a well know rockhound who collected in the 1930’s. He had fabulous material and took Pat under his wing teaching him how to cut, polish, distinguish the various rocks, document his collection and prepare displays for shows….Click for More


Moore_picDoug Moore

Topic: Agates Under the Microscope

Doug Moore has been a rockhound for over 57 years and has served as program coordinator for the Heart of Wisconsin Gem & Mineral Society in Central Wisconsin since 1983. A photographer and adjunct faculty member at the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, Moore started photographing agates in the 1990’s and produced 11 award-winning agate programs for the American Federation of Mineralogical Societies. ….Click for More


Gene Mueller_pic Gene Mueller

Topic: Agua Nueva Agate

Eugene “Gene” Mueller is the Vice-President of The Gem Shop, Inc. and lives in Cedarburg, Wisconsin. Gene developed an interest in rocks as a young boy while visiting his grandfather in Minnesota. This interest grew into lapidary skill over the years. While teaching art at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, he saw the need of the art metal students for polished stones….Click for More



Kevin_Ponzio_pic Kevin Ponzio

Topic: Sedimentary Agates of Wisconsin

As a child growing up in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Kevin’s interest in rockhounding sprouted from treasure hunts with his brothers after watching The Lone Ranger. His love of rocks grew due to the local rock shows he would attend, as well as the plethora of rocks and fossil discoveries he had along the shores of Lake Michigan. As a boy, Kevin’s favorite rocks were Lake Superior Agates, especially ones with eyes. This love grew to include any agates with an orbicular pattern…Click for More



Stockwell_pic John Stockwell

Topic: Paleotrochis and Other Mistaken Identities

John grew up in Minnesota along the Mississippi River at Lake Pepin, and picked Lake Superior Agates that were then easily found. His interest in the science of geology took root while a teenager, and later attended Yale majoring in geology. Recently, in 2013, he earned a M.S. in geology from California State University – East Bay. While a student at Yale he worked for major mineral exploration companies in the summer, and assisted in the excavation of a fossil sauropod for the Peabody Museum at Yale. He has been employed as an exploration geologist by BP Alaska and spent parts of a number of winters on well sites in the Alaskan Arctic….Click for More