How would you like to dig for gem that is as wonderful to look at as it is rare, and best of all you can find many thousands of dollars worth in just a day of digging?
What is that gem? It’s opal and although opal is usually associated with Australia, you can find it in many areas of the United States and Canada. These areas include Nevada, Oregon, Idaho, and British Columbia in Canada.
Opal comes in many colors common opals such as the milk opal, milky bluish to greenish; resin opal which is a honey-yellow with a resinous luster; wood opal this is caused by the replacement of the organic material in wood with opal; menilite which is a brown or gray color; hyalite is a colorless glass-clear opal sometimes called Muller’s Glass.
One of the most valuable types of opal is black opal, it is a jet-black stone that in light produces an absolutely amazing site; inside the stone you see an inter-tangled flashing of color, called the opals fire.
So, what is black opal? Well black opal is formed over many millions of years. It actually was originally petrified wood, but over several hundred million years opal leached into it and transformed and replaced the minerals into black opal.
For a very few lucky folks you may still find examples of what is called conk wood. This is a specimen that is petrified wood that is in the processes of becoming opal. These specimens can sell for a great price to the right collector.
Another very valuable form of opal is fire opal, these are transparent to translucent opals with warm body colors yellow, orange, orange-yellow or red and they do not show any play-of-color inside of them, but are valued for the intensity of color that they show. These are the type of opal often found at the Royal Peacock Opal Mine in Denio, NV.
Mining For Opal
At the opal mines you will find that you will most often be allowed to dig through the tailings, and at a few places you are actually allowed to dig in the main mine.
You’re probably wondering why it is that you would want to waist your time digging through the tailings piles of material others have already discarded?
Well, it’s because it can pay off in a big way. Although digging for opal in not extremely hard, it can be hard to see opals sitting in the waist material. The opals get a lot of dirt encrusted to the outside of them, so it can be very easy to miss them. So if you don’t want to go through the labor of digging out your own material this may be the way to go.
If you decide to go to a location where you can dig in the actual mine itself you will find that your opals most often form in clay deposits that once dried out become very crumbly and is often not to hard to dig out.
Be sure to keep your area clean if you are digging your own material because you don’t want to smash an opal with a chisel or screw driver simply because you didn’t see your opal sitting there under the waste material.
The clay will often stick to the outside of your opals. This clay shell on your opals can be very hard, so if you see any sign of opal in a piece of material the best thing to do is place it in a bucket of water. Just leave your find to soak and head back to look for more, after a while the clay will come right off.
It is not unheard of for folks to leave opal mines with many thousands of dollars* worth of material with them, so if you’re looking for a treasure hunting vacation to catch a rainbow in a stone, this may be the trip for you.
Where To Find Your Opals
Some of the very best fee for dig mines to discover your opals are listed below:
Royal Peacock Opal Mine Denio, NV
Bonanza Opal Mines Virgin Valley, NV
Rainbow Ridge Opal Mine Virgin Valley, NV
Spencer Opal Mine Spencer, ID
Juniper Ridge Opal Mine Lakeview, OR
Okanagan Opal Vernon BC
*Please understand the fact that although some gems are sold at a price like that, the odds are very much against a person not directly in the mining business ever even seeing a gem of that quality. Treasure hunting vacations are not about getting rich, they are not about the treasure you find in the ground, they are about the treasure you find in searching for the beauty that nature has to offer, and the treasure of enjoying time with family and friends. Enjoy your trip for these things and you will have a treasure hunting vacation of a lifetime.
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