Born and raised in South Dakota, Dennis has been hunting and collecting Fairburn agates for as long as he can remember. As a young boy, his father, Orin , often took him and his three brothers, David, Kelly and Paul, rock hunting. Even their mother, Lois joined in, and the boys will proudly display "mom's agates" for all to see. Hunting Fairburns is not always an easy task, as the rough terrain provides ample hiding places for rattlesnakes, and the unpredictable weather patterns and desolate locations can make the excursions treacherous. That does not stop Dennis from pursuing his passion. Dennis has passed his love of rock hunting along to his own wife and children, and hopes his grandson Frank, for whom his art is named, will also grow up to enjoy the lure of the hunt. Polishing and cutting the stones into pendants has added a new dimension to his love of the hunt. When Dennis is not busy scouring the earth for its rare treasures, he also enjoys playing guitar, hunting and fishing in the Black Hills, and spending time with friends and family.
About the Fairburn Agate
The Fairburn Agate is the South Dakota state gemstone. Fairburns are a unique fortification agate first discovered near the villiage of Fairburn, South Dakota. Fairburns are diverse in color and size, and the bands vary from very thin, intricate bands to wider bands. All of the agates in the collection were individually discovered by Dennis or a member of his family. Every agate is unique, making each pendant truly one of a kind.
All length measurements are from the top of the bail to the bottom of the agate. All hardware is Sterling Silver pinch bails unless otherwise noted.
Thank you for looking! Keep Rockin'
The Rock Hunter
I drive a dusty, gravel road
That meanders like a river, toward
A fence that cuts a well worn trail
Through prairie dog towns and pasture swale.
Arriving at the gate I find
A simple, yet well-crafted sign,
Its message terse and to the point,
“No Motorized Vehicles Beyond This Point”.
In the settling dust, I contemplate
And recall many trips driven through this gate
To travel across a grassy plateau
And overlook moonscapes stretched far below.
I remember as kids, sliding down gumbo hills,
Oblivious to the danger, enrapt with the thrill,
Much better than any playground slide,
A longer, steeper and faster ride.
I remember traversing steep sun baked slopes,
Holding on to the hillside with only my toes,
To search a ring of rocks, what more
To find an agate never seen before.
I’ve peered into holes in gravelly draws
And heard snakes buzz that gave me pause,
I’ve crawled on hands and knees in creeks
To find the agate that I seek.
I’ve hunted in searing summer heat,
Trudged with wet gumbo glued to my feet,
Buffeted by winds that blow hats away,
Searched between snow drifts on cold winter days.
All for the thrill that comes with the find,
When spotted among thousands of stones of all kinds,
Any hardships endured up until that time
Are eased with an epiphany of color and lines.
I’m what they call a rock hunter, you see,
And for over 50 years it’s been a passion with me,
So even though another hardship has been created with a sign,
I know all will be forgotten when I see the agate line.
So with a walking stick and extra water at hand,
I begin to hike across pasture land
And gaze at distant badland hills
And think of prior trips and remember past thrills.
David Buum 09/13/07