Hiya all. The mud is almost gone and this weeks coming snow should not be a blizzard, I hope. The weather is just going to be wild, so plan for the unpredictable vacation. Adventure awaits and rockhounding gives you treasure to return with.

It’s official, Kokopelli opals will be open in June, if not on Memorial day weekend itself. (I will be gone a couple days across there). Final details will be posted on the website. The fee is going to be 125 a day to start, no limit on your finds. Tailings at this point are more prospecting the faces still. I have a bank there producing a pine cone an hour. From the actual pit the opal resembles the Royal Peacock Mine more than the Bonanza. Opal evaluation for cutting and treating of specimens are going to be offered by Brent (who used to run the Peacock fee dig) when he shows up to spend some time with us. The plan is for it to be attended all summer and I will fill in when they can’t be there, but until then you can still hire me for the day. My rates apply to the job being hired for. 2 diggers minimum to go mining or the claim/seminar tour.

Burrito Bistro
The winter team working the tailings.

Christmas Wishes to all- Open online

Greetings and salutations everybody everywhere forever! I hope you find some love in your heart for yourself this year too. Peace is the goal. Heaven is the reward. The fire season is gone and the Virgin Valley ice season is upon us. Please start thinking about your summer vacation to Kokopelli Opal & Swordfish Mining guided precious wood, black and other color precious opals, fee digging. By appointment only at present, attended, opal harvesting the best way we can. You keep all you find after paying up front to try your luck. No mine limit! Multiple faces to dig in- Trees, total opal replacements, precious skins, common.

Blue Opalised wood Virgin Valley, Nv


Sheldon NWR closed non maintained roads due to extreme fire danger. Opal mining at the Peacock Fee dig is still open (That access road is not on the open road map.) Details of the other closures in Oregon can be found at Swordfish Mining claim sales and tours are suspended until the imminent danger has passed. Thanks for your consideration.

Holloway Fire Contained In Nv, Others still burn.

Hiya all;

We are smoked only, not incinerated. Thank all the fire crews (100s of men and women)that got the Nevada side of the fire under control, and the new fires that lit while they were here. Now they deployed up into Oregon to finish off the top half. This fire did burn all the way to the Long Draw fire from last month. It will go over 450,000 acres when it is all over and done I’m afraid. Quite a bit of “Sage Grouse habitat”, just got rehabilitated the way it worked forever. The folks around here figure it ruined around 20 ranches, the families will not be able to wait out the 3 years until they can put cows back on their allotments. The drought has the price of hay up so high, if you can find it, it is as expensive as gasoline. I have a fire sale on for 1/3 off in the show cases in town. It will end as soon as the fire does. It was a gesture to all them of appreciation for their hard work.

There is still smoke in the air from the other fires in Oregon and California which are up wind from here. The smoke is not so bad we are taking shelter with filters on yet. The Klamath Falls Rock and Gem club came out for a weekend at the gem opal mines. There were several nice pieces found but as always not enough…Color was found at my place if not greatness. The buckets from them have not been seen by me, so the might have a piece or two to cut like I found.

We were rained off my claim on Sunday by more thunder storms. In the afternoon it was better and I went back to get one I had been digging on when the rain started. It is almost impossible to leave color showing in the “wall” and leave. At least it did not start another fire. There was rain with this storm. This mine is where my current gem digging is going for the 100 a head fee, 2 person minimum.

End of the mining year so everybody who has a claim needs to make sure those little papers are filed everywhere on time with the fees (hope you don’t have to pay the lease fee of 140, but the law in writing says 100, but the BLM are wanting 189 or something each so don’t lose your claims because you sent a copy and not a small miners exemption with an original signature saying you are a small miner or …all your claims are gone if you don’t fix it just as they say.)

Looking East towards…


Holloway Fire Painting the Skies Red all Night

We are right to the left of the big burn in the center.  Kinda busy. Still folks digging and opals coming out.  The NWR is rounding up horses and mapping mining district boundries finally since 1975 act of congress.

Reality is what it is.

Cattle mutilation on Alder Cr Ranch this last week. Papers don’t report them anymore. Again with all the “mysterious” signs that rule out the known natural causes and point more and more to “aliens” grabbing some bovine delicacies than any predator or person.

What else is there to say?  No, there are NOT people found that way are there? No, it has not affected finding opals in Virgin Valley at all. Been a real buzz in the bars. I saw some KILLER opals found by novices in the tailings this week. Oh, and if this needs discussing further…The aliens have not come in shooting yet, despite the obvious ability to win, so I think they are friendly and helpful like a bunch of Star Trek scientists from some other reality more in danger from us than us from them.

Swordfish Mining Fee Digging

Hiya Everyone;

Opening day is getting closer at the big 3 fee digs while I have already had a customer.  The weather is just dandy. We did have snow for Cinco De Mayo, but it melted right off again in the valley. There is white on the mountains and the top of the Steens. Not too hot and in the 40s at night. The Opal Negra folks are on their way!

In case you missed them.. I’ve put up two more opal videos to Youtube. Google is forcing me to lose my existing accounts and user names to conform to their spying policys.  If they succeed I will have to republish everything on a new account. Thanks Mr Greedy and I appreciate you reading my mail to better target me for advertising…NOT.

A Contra Luz specimen :Contra Luz from Virgin Valley Link. The song is the owl and the pussy cat by The Prairie Home Companion. I forgot my camera had sound. New fangled toys!

Her is my best plume play of color that ONLY comes from HERE. And yes, it came from our mines, not any of the public fee digs. None are found in Australia, None in Africa of any great size, but they have some similar patterns, None in Mexico. You really have to be in America at Virgin Valley to find this quality of play of color anywhere near this big of size.

My outstanding black limb cast: Black opal with plume play of color.

No sound on this one as I forgot my camera has sound LOL.

I’ve opened up my premier wood claim in the valley for fee digging. I even found precious opal there, but it was in the tailings. There is only bank digging sold there as the tailings are so rich. They wer going fro precious and threw most woods behind them. If you have been to the other digs you will notice they do not have much wood  available. I have so much there, I have to limit it to 300 pounds a day with the standard fee. I have clean logs at my house  for 1 dollar a pound and up, depending on quality. Black centers are less than the cream or purple woods. Chunks, not rounds, 50 cents per pound.Also have multiple digging sites for custom day prospecting digging tours. Enough of the necessary commercialism….

The freeze pump at the shower will not run. The pond is fine.  We can still fill our containers at the lower spigot by the beaver, I mean McGee fishing pond or at the flowing well at the rest area. I’m not sure what the summer residents will do if the refuge enforces the questionable policy of not letting them fill up water trailers like they tried recently. The showers were still running the last time I looked in there last month. (I tend to soak at a hotter spring a few miles away.) It wasn’t vandals, but the locust tree there by the pond. It lifted the line up and separated it. A job for Friends of the Refuge or maybe even the refuge employees. Membership is free and the work is fun with good company. Made of hunters, miners, and visitors. These folks are responsible for the “small” maintenance there, while the refuge does the large, equipment type, things.

Speaking of equipment, the roads are all graded and waiting to bite your tires LOL. Don’t forget your spare, and a can of fix a flat might come in handy too. I tell people; I have always got at least one flat going over Idaho Canyon (Knott Creek Rd) to the Black Rock desert side. Two times Leah and I had to walk out because of 2 flats.  Well, to the Leonard Creek ranch for help from our friends there.

The fish are biting if the fishermen and the birds are any indication.  The pelicans have arrived to fatten up for the summer and our friends the herons are on their nest. The burros had a several of the cutest little foals already and a couple more look like they are ready to drop. The herds down on Jackass Flats by the Thousand Creek BLM Fire station are big and healthy. Hard to imagine the refuge trapping all the burros and horses off. But, they are proposing no horses or burros, on the about 600,000 acres here.

Seems like they have been here forever, but it has been less than a second to the antelope and deer populations. They hope to increase the native herds by removing the competition. We’re probably lucky the hog herds of the Virgin Valley Ranch in the past did not establish a wild boar population. The re-introduced beavers are probably what caused the extinction of the Virgin Creek cutthroats. Those canyon crreks are now choked with beaver ponds damming up the three creeks.  Well, they SAY they are killed off.  Which is humorous, There’s no fish there, so you are not allowed to fish there LOL. I was surprised at the size of the clam middens by some of the caves up there.

That is about all the news I have for today. I need to get outside and scrub off the logs from yesterday and see if one is the hunk that will make me a millionaire (chortle – snort). If you were wondering if I demand shares of anything, I do not. You will always get everything you dig out without having to give half to the mine. And you will always get to finish the day on whatever you find. Mine closes at 4 and that is final regardless of what mine you are digging here.
A car load of wood to process into specimens and products.
Purple woods from the fee dig

Gotta go. My neighbor is coming over with his tractor to re-bury my septic line where the wind uncovered it last month. Going to put rock over it this time and not just blow sand.

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.

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”