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”


2012 Quartzsite schedule.

Howdy from the cold and clear. Here’s show dates for those new calendars to plan on your Snowbird trips down to warm Arizona for the REAL BIG shows:

45th Annual Quartzsite Improvement Association POW WOW in center of town.
JAN.18th to Jan. 22nd.

That’s where everybody in town goes during the 5 days it is open from their own booths.

Everywhere else:

JAN. 1st 2012 – FEB. 28th 2012

Nov 1st 2011 – Feb 28th 2012

JAN. 6th 2012 – JAN. 15th 2012

Nov 1st 2010 – Mar 28th 2011

JAN. 20th 2012 – JAN.29th 2012

The Main Event
Jan. 7th 2012 – Jan. 22nd 2012

Gresewood Swap and others also have spaces.

Hope to see you there.

October Frosting

Well, there are the coffin nails in another digging season. If opal is on the surface it is being frozen and thawed daily now. Proven stable or crazed; winter is the final exam. The fee digs’ billboards all have closed signs on them. The mines have been put to bed for winter and the maintenance is getting caught up. Individual miners are still running around.

I’ve put in another handful of claims. I am preparing to change Swordfish Mining Virgin Valley Opal range of operations again. I am working in association with a new startup called Kokopelli Opals. Our partnership should bring more stones to light. There is a store on Opal Auctions with my name on it too. YAY. Now if I can learn to play like an adult haha. I just need the time to prepare the offers around my rough.  Funny how life gets in the way of life.

When my Swordfish Mining Virgin Valley Opal is in major production; there will be no more tours or claim sales;  I will be mining and selling only and you should have hired me last year.  It’s not like the opals are not there waiting for us to find. At this point I am still taking claim tour reservations for the 2012 year with deposit only. A limited days Fee Dig (Like Spencer or Morrison Ranch) will be announced for 2013 when claim sales end.

I should warn visitors with play vehicles. The road to Mc Gee Mt thru the Bonanza millsite has been chained off; no warning signs or reflectors. So, if you are buzzing down a public road and miss that 90 degree turn down another way and get cut in half by a chain, they bad, they warned, they lose in court.


Green Fire cabin


Well 9-11 has passed and the mines are closing.

Hiya all. This is really justa short note to tell you that the Rainbow Ridge Mine has closed for the season and The Royal Peacock is not far behind. Another client has discovered precious opal on their claims. We’re looking for great things next year already. Next year could be the end of acquisitions and the start of gemstone production.

I also humbly submit my first gemstone auction on Opal Auctions. I can use the money. It’s one cute little stone located at . Not a tops gem (this is an auction) but whoever wins it will love it for the price I’m sure.  360′ multicolor.

I hope the Postal Service keeps our local office open. How much can we whine that we live 100 miles from next town and parcel services. Until next time here is a little more eye candy.

drool drool
33 gm Virgin Valley limbcast

Smoking Stone – Denio Jct Fire

Hiya All:

Been a late night here. I started early doing a tour in Virgin Valley for a Gemologist geologist which ran long. Then the required game of scrabble at the Opal Queen which I barely won, blackout. Up came, well, not quite up, I had been ignoring threatening skies while digging for 2 hours LOL. Had a real “hot” lightning storm walk across our neck of the woods. I only know of the one fire so far. The one here burnt to the side of Denio Summit as seen from the Jct looking south. The Pueblo Volunteer Fire Department kept an eye on it and BLM crews arrived to 4×4 crawl around on the hill to knock it out.

Fire scar from lightning strike.
08-24-2011 Lightning fire by Denio Jct

Other than that boy did I find a pretty opal. I had to even make a poor Utube video of it.

Say no more here is the link.

Well actually,  to say more there is another post with still pictures at the Opal Auctions forum. I do need to get around to having more auctions for some of the gemstones I’ve cut from some the stable material that comes from here.

By plume play of color we mean the Play of color in the opal appears to be on the surfaces of sulfide growths that look like leaves or ferns inside the gemstone rough.

The Klamath Falls Rock and Arrowhead club came out for the annual dig I host for them. We did not find any precious opal on the new claims I bought that we went to. We did prove we were digging in the right direction.

Soothing Summer Survey

Howdy Howdy; The digging has been perking right along despite the economic woes of many. Not getting out there near as much as I would like to this summer. The Opal Negra has re-opened from their short vacation. I’ve been busy with paperwork and rearranging the town castle and estate. Well, that and seeing the Steve Miller show in Harveys Stateline with a vehicle down on Saturday afternoon; seems It never gets down to my chores haha.

Julie from the Peacock Mine thinks traffic may be down a little or at least is not up. I would guess so. How many times have you seen gasoline prices go down in summer. It’s nice to know we are still an E ticket vacation destination, with travel time being the highest cost. I was hoping to work in after a black opal pocket but ended up trying to find the corner posts of a new development in the works here. The BLM has sent surveyors to find the real corners of the mining district boundaries, but it seems they do not mark them like they used to. Now you have to go on their website and get GPS coordinates instead of looking for the stakes. Mining maps are not allowed to use those easy to get numbers tho’ thanks for making my job slightly easier. To find where I have to measure off the angled distance instead of taking the numbers from where we stand.


Until next time here’s a core video.

Fourth of July Weekend

Howdy all; Looks like the sun is coming out and we expect temps in the nineties. The digging has shown some nice finds so far. Last week I had the pleasure of re-assuring a Peacock digger their 12+ inch specimen really was going to be nice when cleaned up. He was afraid his was not worth all the days of digging and was going to stay more but this one was really worth it. (Another digger turned down 1,000 form the host for one they had found that day.) A mud covered multiple level opal with white clear and a large portion of black down one half. It was in many pieces and I told him how to approach drying and cutting or just specimen preparation and congratulated him on a great find. It may not have been night-bright but it had good multicolor fire with a flashlight.

I’ve heard tell of some nice things out of the loads at Rainbow Ridge too. I’ve found a few small things digging, but I’ve been more busy with my claims and buyers this year. I have also acquired a property I will escort fee diggers too. Custom parties, 150 a head, prospecting in the right new places. Common woods and opal guaranteed in the bucket from work and tailings even if you don’t get blacks in the bank.

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.


The season is open again. Have not been around the digs to here what was found so far. There’s been many rainy days to dampen every ones spirit, but the diehards are out in their raingear walking tall. The big news for this year is that the Opal Queen Fee Dig Mine CLOSED to the public. The owners have gone back to private operations this year. The other Fee digs; the already open Peacock Opal Mine, the soon to be open Bonanza Opal Mine, and the last to open Rainbow Ridge Opal mine, will have basically the same hours and rates as last year. The Denio Jct has been seeing more traffic regardless of the cost of gas. Wish so many weren’t passing thru on hopes of greener fields when they arrive. The Diamond Inn Bar is open and going strong with live music nights and Birthday parties again. The Town BBQ is scheduled for June 4th this year. Again it will be a steak dinner with all the potluck fixin’s we can make and a raffle with many splendous prizes. (That a word? Guess not by my speller but it sound good so I’ll add it to my dictionary for them.) ‘Til next update…Remember we are all neurons in the great internet brain!!!!

Hello world!

Hiya all…again. Seems like the web wants you to spend time as much as the television people do. My website is back online after wresting it back from Tucows. This new version will replace the other one if I can get back to it. Not much going on. Been a fairly cold and damp march with just enough good weather to see that it WAS muddy at the mines. The Opal Queen is not going to be open like it was last year. New operators if any. Call ahead. The Peacock looks to be on their usual schedule of opening first. The NWR road crews have been working on that stretch of the Virgin Ranch Rd to fill washouts and put rocks on the road. Summer is coming.