Want a piece of the MSU Rock? Take home some Spartan Agate

Dec 5, 2016

Have you thought about what to buy the jewelry-lover in your life this holiday season? Consider the lovely Spartan Agate, a man-made “gemstone” made from the thick layers of paint applied over many decades to The Rock on MSU’s campus. We talk to the jeweler who makes them to find out how she does it.


The Rock on MSU’s campus has been an important part of the university’s history since the late 1800s. Today, it serves as a billboard of sorts for a great number of different student groups who rotate painting over it on a daily basis, and over the years that paint has really built up, so much so that a slab of the rock recently fell off. Instead of disposing of it, the MSU Surplus Store and a local jeweler decided to make it into unique keepsakes called Spartan Agate.

Current State talks with jeweler Mel Swartz, the maker of Spartan Agate, and MSU Surplus Store Manager Kris Jolley.