March is flying in the Virgin Valley like a wet blanket.

Good March everyone;

The storms have been blowing gustily everyday and the wind chill has been going up and down like a Yo Yo. The Nascar and F-1 seasons are underway. Not that I could get final four off their TV. If we went walking out there today; either the snow or the mud would be sticking to our feet, “walkin’ tall” and it feels like you are on Neptune. (No, I don’t think I’ve been there.). Part sunny so that the mud is on the move. There are interesting Rams Horn Selenite crystals, about 1″ not optical, that grow in certain layers.  The wind is blowing dirt sideways. On days like this you get wind burn and sand blasted; LOL. That’s a good thing as OPALS are coming to the lowering surface to find later this year. Here’s a picture of what we are trying to see in the dirt, on the dirt, and under the crud in a piece of potch,  in that mud wall, or the silver pick pile of bank.

Virgin Valley small pieces dry opal parcel
Ready to Rub - $5 a gram pick; in person.

This is how summer starts. When will the wet stop long enough to dry out for as long as I will be there? Welcome to some new miners into the valley. Not having got permission to disclose their interests, I’m not naming their names. Needless to say; New players, agents, and partnerships come and go. Opalholics are always seeming to come, and come again, LOL. I’ll probably be buried in this valley too, but it won’t be from digging in un benched banks. There’s a few new players in the wild west hoping on the fee dig market and more than one digger hoping to hit the next big one. Some of the best ground here is going to get mined. Hope they don’t go and bull right through the deposit hoping for more than there is and in the process ruin it for everybody with the Wildlife Refuge personnel. Not to mention not find the opal. In the past; the miners would just take a bulldozer to the top and spiral down the faces, hoping to hit a pocket and see it too.  We’ll be the first-est with the most-est, if I can just stop this devil box worship – and selling the remaining ground waiting for the digging to start. Oh, that went away too. I’m doing tours but the claims are ALL spoken for, if not signed off on. Formal announcement later on the website when I put the reworked pages back on.

I KNOW I don’t find all the nicest things here, I’m not a hundred other people digging in a thousand other spots. Some save a lot more materials than I do. I just get my share exploring where the mine is going to be this year. I’ve never been one to leave opals laying on the ground. My friends (and neighbors, if you are starting to define your life in Facebook terms) have some killer things posted on their pages from last year. Soon there will be a new Swordfish in the Valley, and it has a Kokopelli riding it. There will be buckets of tailings and concentrates, I’m thinking and I know Kokopelli is playing up a quality fee dig.

Blue Red Green Multicolor opal in wood cast rough
Summer is coming...

Off to the endless drudgery of paperwork.

If you are not loving,  you are not living.

Peace out.

Author: Swordfish Mining

Howdy, Howdy y'all. I'm John Church from Denio, Nevada and Swordfish Mining Virgin Valley Opal on the web at I'm a precious opal mine owner, fee dig operator, prospector and claim salesman, craftsman. I'm a 50 something opalholic who actively is working here. Much more about the opals and me on the website as I have been living here and mining opals for 2 decades. Please come to Swordfish Mining for your Virgin Valley Opalised wood pictures, information, rough, and gemstones.

2 thoughts on “March is flying in the Virgin Valley like a wet blanket.”

  1. Hello, Opal blog!

    I’ve been through Virgin Valley once, some few years ago, and picked up a few stunning specimens, which I keep in water. I have no experience cutting opal, and I won’t risk the few nice pieces I do have trying. One thing I did come across, was a few pieces of the common opal which is well…common to the area. The place we stopped at was selling it for 8 dollars a pound. It’s a fairly hard material. Breaks are glassy. Color is off white, with yellow/green, it’s milky translucent, and the material is strongly fluorescent, due to the presence of Uranium.

    I’ve been wanting to experiment with cutting this, (I’m a faceter, not a cabber), for a specific project I have in mind, but I don’t have enough of the stuff to really get started. My test cuts, performed on smaller pieces, were more than satisfactory….the material polishes up quite nicely with Cerium Oxide, and the experimental cuts I did, after cutting out the more obvious imperfections, came out very nice. There is some visible striation, but for the project I have in mind, that shouldn’t be an issue.

    My only problems now are that I’m 3000 miles away from Virgin Valley, and I have only a single small sample remaining of the common opal I need. I’m looking for larger pieces, from which I can cut cube shapes of approximately 1 inch per side. I need enough for four such pieces, so approximately half a pound.

    I don’t know if Swordfish traffics in this interesting material, but if you do, could you drop me a line on what you would charge for select pieces of the stuff?

    1. Hiya; That is the Fluorescent opal from The Peacock Opal Mine here. I have a few larger hand picked choice pieces at 20 a pound and grab samples for a dollar a chunk. $20 a pound for selected best UV light response and normal light green color. I’ll email photo.

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