Since the year 2013, the Internet offered agates from China that can compete in their better qualities with other occurrences of agates of high-end worldwide.
Dietrich Mayer writes about the sites in his article "Top agates from China" Mineralienwelt 5 / 2014: "... the finding-locations are in the province of Hebei in the district Shanggu in the North of China... Farmer are digging in not officially licensed and sometimes extremely dangerous trenches specifically for agates in the basalt rock. There no access is possible without personal friends and acquaintances. The "traditional mines" are situated near the two villages of Dishuiya and Wangbatu, the "middle-class mines" in Beipo and Mujialiang...".
Above mentioned finding-sites are the first in the West known localities for agates that are mined at the place of their origin. More sites await their announcement. For the European collector, the slightly cheaper traded agates of the middle class mine are more popular , possessing a larger bandwidth in their colors, which show black, greenish purple, pink and bluish tones in addition to the characteristic yellow and red tones.
Agates of the middle class mine are brought into the trade at the time as (unprofessional) cut halves and rough stones. Deep scratches and cracks in the cut halves (1) suggest that the cut of the stone was done only inadmissible cooled, or may even performed dry. The consequence of this is that the stones need to be grinded one to two millimeters or even need to be re-cut.
Lots of rough rocks of these sites contain good, worthy of collection agates in a percentage that is lower than 10% like other sites worldwide are offering usually. So nodules filled up with macroscopic quartz occur in addition to the beautiful, desired specimen of fine agates. Even far more common are nodules completly filled with iron carbonate or partially filled (4), which are useless.
The rough stones are now offered in two grades, "minerun" (unsorted) and "highgrade" (selected). The "highgrading" implicates naturally that the "minerun" quality is deprived of the their best specimens and decreases the percentage of fine nodules.
Agates from the “Middle-Class-Mine” are showing in addition to their distinctive colors more typical characteristics which distinguish them from other finding locations of agates. You have often spectacularly formed "valves" (22, 14, 23), that support the theory of the origin of agates from a gel. Very peculiar "zigzag-like" structures of the pigment distribution that is independent to the common banding of the specimen can show up in the centimeter range (20), as well as in the millimetre range (3).