Cool June in the Valley.

Howdy Howdy; Its been a break in the heat now for a week. It has only gotten into the seventies and low eighties. Despite the slower than expected opening weekend in the campground, it has been a steady spring with lots of visitors. I’ve been in and out trying to help get the Kokopelli open where we want to build. This week ought to resolve all that and by next month…well the floor will at least be there. It is already leveled where my truck was parked.

Coming: Gift Shop
Coming: Gift Shop

I’ve heard of wonderful things coming out of Rainbow Ridge Mine justifying the price raise to 100 for tailings (& loads to 600). Loads really are by reservation only as some digger told Opal Negra as they bought some jewelry on the way out. The Bonanza is open for tailings digging and the Opal Queen is not open. The Peacock has to have had a lot of business by the number of folks going up and down that side of the valley so I assume the opal is coming out. There really is NO number or way to quantify or qualify what has been mined if the owners don’t show it off. To tell the truth, I warn people when they do find worthy opals and get them home that it is called the thieves stone because the way thieves will snatch it if they can’t be caught, or think they will like brash teenagers. Treating it like another agate has cost about a quarter of the owners their prize. Just saying they rate the case display, not the coffee table. I have the pictures of a few expensive reward able for return items on my website. Have to look among all the pleasant things to find their captions.

I did rescue the “drying pieces of what turned out to be Contra Luz Opal from the Peacock out of the mineral oil it has been in a few changes of for well, over 6 months easy. Not sure I trust it to do anything else with and maybe make all this go away. That IS the problem with trying to dry a big or probably unstable opal without going the extra yard and replacing the water with resin or? I put a movie up on Facebook in the Virgin Valley Opal Group

45 degree contra luz
45 degree contra luz

Ghoulish twig cut off
Ghoulish twig cut off

I sent off to “our Guy” a very gemmy bark. Can’t wait to see what is made with it. He must have a thousand cts (I know between us we do) of precious wood jewelry. Or if you have to be snobbish semiprecious due to the fact it has some matrix and is treated. We aren’t trying to fool anyone. Some does not have to be treated. My Esty store has some treated at 20 a ct.
or even dry rough to play with.

I’ve been busy with vehicles, fee diggers, claims guests and gardening work. I knew a house was work but acreage just quadruples that. Other things like trying to replace or repair my old Forester took way too much time long with the replacement vehicle. I’ll trade a contiguous set of ten 20 ac lode claims for a new/almost Subaru Forester. That’s 200 acres unpatented mineral rights with access on the side of Rock Springs table between the Rainbow and the Peacock. Woods and opal coming out of the touched on one side & I can point to where to start digging on the layers on the other side hill. Call me to discuss. Got more disposable cash you’d like to convert into hard assets? I have the ten claims buffering (200 acres you drive up) to Rainbow Ridge Mine. It has separate dead end access, gated in winter with power lines across property. I’ll buy my own car with what was left after taxes. I won’t trade for out of state property. Pardon my barking; I’ll stop.

The quest goes on…


Arizona has gone and went.

Hiya again from the high desert outside of Denio, NV.

They forecast snow and more snow tomorrow.  Probably just evaporate, but not always. The weather was nice in Quartzsite, AZ this year.  No ice, no horrible winds, even though we did get dusted badly and will have to completely reclean all the cases. This is the real reason deals are had at the end of the show; the prospect of cleaning everything so it can be taken inside somewhere, is daunting.

I did get to go walk around the show as I was again lucky and had great neighbors by my booth. Everything is in motion for next year again, lots won’t be coming back to sell or could not afford the space rent up front, and it is 20% higher for next year, town jacked the tax rate over 10% now too.  I shuffled my space down the west side right next to Bill Carmona and out of under the power pole. I lose my sign posts but gain 45 feet to the dog walk and outhouses. There was more than one friend watching this years show from some hole in the ground somewhere. Most were able to get out and come if they had so desired, (I think they stayed home to catch some rockhound highgraders during this time of year) but a few were back filled and missed dearly.

In other news. I didn’t make enough cash to go invest it in future sales prospects in Tuscon. I wish the dealers there luck, but I heard their crowd was from the same being milked by the rulers economy ours was. Lot of competition from overseas and fewer buyers compared to tourists. Our neighbors at Sunstone Ridge got their stock of Faceted sunstones, beads, and rough, stolen from between shows. Know your sellers. I hate to be protectionist as I do business around the world and they are my friends too, but…this whole industry is fraught with scam artists and unscrupulous sellers who prey on the uniformed. If you are at an established venue, dealing with a mine outlet of distinct material or any artisans, who use the same materials, you should be assured of genuine articles and truthful information. This is where knowing your seller becomes the ethical way to support folks more than make an extra nickle. In this business it is cash and carry, so try to give the cash to those that carry the expenses. My cutters have more than one UGLY American that never paid them for their work.

Walking around I did see higher prices on the “new” no longer new Ethiopian opals, but there was some higher qualities available for that. I actually ran across Mr Massey (Shewa Opals; for the locals back during development.) looking at the display cases early on the morning I signed up again and got to say hello. I didn’t sell a single “close out” parcel to the few buyers i entertained. I do have faith folks will realize that gemstones are much better hard assets after food and home than money and start investing in Colored stones and jewelry that is NOT poised to collapse like the housing market. i.e. NO colored gem is stockpiled like diamonds. I’m putting rarer things away than diamonds because the chance they will ever appreciate is almost guaranteed by their scarcity. Not that I have any money outside of my holes in the ground, so I’m limited to the collection I find and create. LOL. Enough talk, here’s what I found for me this year. I have simple tastes if refined.


“Art Shark”


Memorial Day Weekend tailings digging at the Rainbow

Hiya all; Well all you Opalholics, summer is NOT here. Opening day at the Rainbow never got warmer than the 50s. It was cold and windy with showers. The mud welcomed us and the road into the tailings was one lane of two fresh scrapes down below the 3 inches of mud. I didn’t even consider driving down the other side of the valley that afternoon. Less than half of the normal opening weekend crowd was there. The line of cars got stalled as folks got stuck going in. By 9 we were all digging tho’. It was miserable so no one was wandering around gloating with big ones from the piles to show off in the gloom and drizzle. I did hear repeated finds from a couple piles. Walkin’ tall with mud gloomed onto the boots for sure.  6 or 7 loads were sold and I saw opals from at least 3 of them. Like I said it was a bad day light wise. I’m sure ounces went into the tailings in muddy dirt clods that night. Everybody got back out of the mine Ok. Today was snowed out but it’s supposed to be clearing for a couple days around Monday.  Did not talk to any other valley diggers so I can’t give a sitrep on the Peacock or Bonanza mines. The campground was barely populated,but I blame that on the oil situation and the economy going belly up on peoples savings instead of just a couple bad banks.  Give us a couple warm days without rain and it will all be dry again. Even with the rain the tailings were dry when you got below the surface (2-3 inches). The montmorillite here soaks up water and breaks down fast but it sort of swells and makes a waterproof crust of dust and the rest of the water just runs off. I have seen tailings from 20 or 100 years ago still like that. Smooth dirt crust on top and originally mined rough chunks under the surface. Well I did find the usual suspects of opal. About 1 -5 gallon bucket all told of every thing including dirt clods and rocks. The un expected big one and some cones. Here’s photos.

Fresh tailings opal from Rainbow Ridge 2011.