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 Home » Rock Tumbling Library » Fee Mining and Digging for Gems, Minerals, Gold, Crystals

Fee Mining and Digging for Gems, Minerals, Gold, Crystals

Click a green state or blue link text to view fee mining locations

Fee mining collecting map
Fee mining collecting map

Fee mining sites are places where you can pay a fee to dig, pan, or search for rocks, minerals or gemstones and keep whatever you find. There are many places in the United States where you can pan for gold, wash gravel for gemstones, or split rocks to find fossils and have a reasonable chance of being very successful. We have been to fee mining sites many times, had some fun, and found some nice materials. We did not make a great find every time, but it was a good experience overall. One of our favorites is looking for Herkimer "Diamonds".

If you own a fee mining site not listed here, please let us know. To be listed, a site must have a website and pass our review. We do not include sites where collectors search through materials that have been "salted" with things to find or where materials from other mines or locations are hauled in. Not all of the sites listed below require a fee.



Board Camp Crystal MineQuartz crystals
Crater of Diamonds State ParkDiamonds and 40 other types of rocks and minerals including: lamproite, amethyst, banded agate, jasper, peridot, garnet, quartz, calcite, barite, and hematite.
Dixie Crystal Mining Co.Clear Quartz and Phantom Quartz
Jim Coleman CrystalsClear and White quartz crystal. You can also expect to find some interesting pieces with Adularia and Calcite
Ron Coleman MiningQuartz crystals
Sweet Surrender CrystalsQuartz crystals
Wegner Crystal Mines & RanchCrystal Forest Mine and Phantom Mine group dig and tailings collecting area.






Consolidated Gold MinesGold
Crisson Gold MineGold
Diamond Hill MineQuartz crystals (smokey, amethyst, some doubly terminated, some skeletal)
Gold 'N Gem Grubbin'Gold, rubies, sapphires, emeralds, amethyst, topaz and more
Graves MountainBarite,quartz, rutile, ilmenite, kyanite, pyrite, lazulite, pyrophyllite, hematite, goethite, limonite, iridescent hematite
Hogg MineBeryl, star rose quartz, black tourmaline, and aquamarine
Coos Canyon Rock and GiftGold
Maine Mineral AdventuresQuartz, tourmaline, beryl, lepidolite and more
Maine Mineralogy Expeditionsblue beryl, golden beryl, amethyst, tourmaline, rose quartz, smoky quartz, clear quartz, mica, feldspar, apatite, lepidolite
Poland Mining CampsPollucite (gem grade), spodumene, kunzite (cab grade), muscovite and perhamite (tan spheres) with white fluorapatite.
Caledonia MineNative copper, silver, datolite, quartz, feldspar, calcite, and epidote
Desert Rose Mine - Blanchard Rock Shop Fluorite, barite, galena, quartz, smoky quartz, linarite, brochantite, wulfenite and more
Kelly MinePyrite, allophane, calcite, brochantite, phyllite


Brushy Creek MineAquamarine, tourmaline, garnet, beryl
Cherokee Ruby and Sapphire MineRuby, sapphire
Cowee Gift Shop and Mason Mountain MineRhodolite and ruby
Crabtree Emerald MineEmerald
Euraka Gold Panning & Carolina Gem FlumingGold and Gems
Emerald Hollow Mine63 different gems and minerals.
Emerald VillageEmerald, semi-precious stones
Little Pine Garnet MineGarnet
Lucky Strike Gold and Gem MineGold
Mason Farm Staurolite ProspectStaurolite, corundum, ruby, sapphire and even gold has been found here
Mason's Ruby and Sapphire MineRuby, sapphire
Rose Creek MineRuby, sapphire, garnet, amethyst, citrine, moonstone, topaz, smoky quartz, rose quartz, quartz crystals and more!
Sheffield MineStar ruby, sapphire
North Dakota Geological SurveyNDGS runs scheduled dinosaur and fossil digs from late June to mid-August. Note: All fossils found go to the North Dakota State Fossil Collection in Bismarck, ND. Check the NDGS website for full details.
Big Thunder Gold MineGold
PaleoAdventuresPaleoAdventures runs scheduled dinosaur digs in the Badlands area of South Dakota. Note: Your guide will inspect the fossils that you find. Diggers can keep common fossils that they find and purchase commercial-grade fossils that they find. Scientific-grade fossils are given to museums and universities. Check their website for full details.


Please Let Us Know About a Fee Mining Site!


If you own a fee mining site not listed here, please let us know by emailing the URL of your website to: To be listed, a site must have a website and pass our review. We don't include sites where collectors search through materials that have been "salted" with things to find.

RockTumbler.com Authors



Hobart KingHobart M. King has decades of rock tumbling experience and writes most of the articles on RockTumbler.com. He has a PhD in geology and is a GIA graduate gemologist. He also writes the articles about rocks, minerals and gems on Geology.com.
Sours: https://rocktumbler.com/blog/fee-mining-and-digging-sites/

Opals in Oregon

Find Opals in Oregon
 Rough Opal From Opal Butte, Oregon

While Australia produces over 97% of the worlds supply of opal today, Recent mining at Opal Butte in northeastern Oregon has produced a wide variety of large flawless opals.

The most common gem-quality varieties are hyalite and rainbow opal, but the less common play-of-color varieties contra luz, hydrophane, and crystal opal are economically more important. Opals are formed in rhyolite, basalt, sandstone, marl and rhyolite. Rhyolite geodes are a common source of opals. They are classified as mineraloids, meaning that they do not have the characteristics of crystals. It is a crystal like product of silicon dioxide which is deposited under somewhat low temperature and forms in fissures and cracks of rocks.

One way opals are formed is from water carrying a mineral called silica that seeps into volcanic lava. Lava has air bubbles that, as they cool, become receptacles for the liquid deposits. This is why Oregon is opal territory. From its position at the edge of the North American crustal plate, Oregon has played host to many volcanoes. If the conditions are right, the seeping silica forms opals within the volcanic air bubbles.

Find Opals in Oregon
The Oregon Opal with the Ocean inside
Credit: Mckenna Praetorius

Oregon's opals

Oregon's Morrow County is the site of a large opal mining operation in an area called Opal Butte. Although these deposits were identified in the s, they were not mined until when West Coast Gemstones, Inc. began work there. They have located and sold exquisite gems as large as carats.

The Opal Butte opals are found in rhyolite geodes, also called thundereggs. Thundereggs can look like regular rocks on the outside but, broken open, can reveal agates or opals on the inside. Only about 10 percent of the total geodes mined at Opal Butte contain gem-quality opal, and only about 1 percent contain gem-quality opal with play of color. The remaining geodes contain agate, quartz crystals or common opal.

Opal Butte is not the only opal mining area in Oregon. The Last Chance Mine operates near La Pine in the Bend/Fort Rock District of the Deschutes National Forest, and a few others have mining claims in the area.



It appears that there are no other fee-dig opal mines in Oregon. Those looking for a fee dig mine near Oregon can try to Dig Your Own Unique Opals From Nevada.

Find Opals in Oregon
Oregon opal with visual effect of being underwater when held to light.obtained at Opal Butte Mine. Oregon, USA.
Photo: Inna Gem
 
Find Opals in Oregon
Contra Luz Opal - 2, Carats Opal Butte, Morrow Co., Oregon, USA

See also: 

Part I: Top Spots For Gem Hunting In The US

Part II: Top Spots For Gem Hunting In The US

What is Lake Superior Agate, and Where Can You Find It?

What is Petoskey stone, and Where Can You Find It?

Where to Find Gold in the United States

Sours: https://www.geologyin.com//06/where-to-find-opals-in-oregon.html
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Where to Find Opals in Oregon?

Tracking gemstones in the Pacific Northwest

Where to Find Opals in Oregon?

If someone mentions Oregon, you are likely to think of the foggy coast or weird, cool Portland, not fiery gemstones created after volcanic fire centuries ago. But it's okay to use Oregon and opals in the same sentence. These gorgeous gems have been found in the Beaver State.

To see a change of color

Opals are magically beautiful, with intense, dramatic color. The word "opal" comes from the Roman word opalus meaning "to see a change of color." In gem-quality opal, one single stone can flash every color of the spectrum, offering an unrivaled intensity and quality of color. Precious opal flashes iridescent colors when viewed from different angles, described as play-of-color. Common opals don't have play-of-color characteristics.

One way opals are formed is from water carrying a mineral called silica that seeps into volcanic lava. Lava has air bubbles that, as they cool, become receptacles for the liquid deposits. This is why Oregon is opal territory. From its position at the edge of the North American crustal plate, Oregon has played host to many volcanoes. If the conditions are right, the seeping silica forms opals within the volcanic air bubbles.

Oregon's opals

Oregon's Morrow County is the site of a large opal mining operation in an area called Opal Butte. Although these deposits were identified in the s, they were not mined until when West Coast Gemstones, Inc. began work there. They have located and sold exquisite gems as large as carats.

The Opal Butte opals are found in rhyolite geodes, also called thundereggs. Thundereggs can look like regular rocks on the outside but, broken open, can reveal agates or opals on the inside. Only about 10 percent of the total geodes mined at Opal Butte contain gem-quality opal, and only about 1 percent contain gem-quality opal with play of color. The remaining geodes contain agate, quartz crystals or common opal.

Opal Butte is not the only opal mining area in Oregon. The Last Chance Mine operates near La Pine in the Bend/Fort Rock District of the Deschutes National Forest, and a few others have mining claims in the area.

Fee-dig mining

Miners at Juniper Ridge Opal Mine in southeastern Oregon have found red, orange and golden yellow fire opals there. While for a time Juniper Ridge allowed "fee dig" mining, in which the public could come in and, for a fee, dig for opals, they no longer offer this possibility.

It appears that there are no other fee-dig opal mines in Oregon. Those looking for a fee dig mine near Oregon can try the Royal Peacock Opal Mine in Denio, Nev. It's about miles from Lakeview Oregon and offers fee digging to the public between May 15 and October 15 each year. You can do bank digging for $ per person per day. Expect to bring your pwn tools (like ice-picks and rock chisels) and work hard. Alternatively, you can "mine the tailings," sifting through loose rock in already mined areas searching for the opal the original miners missed. That costs $75 per day.

Sours: https://getawaybest.com//where-to-find-opals-in-oregon
The Rookies Find Valuable Opal In A Dangerous Abandoned Mine - Outback Opal Hunters
What a find! :: This gal walked away with SEVERAL large opalized logs!

The Royal Peacock Opal Mine offers guests a chance to mine their own opals. All you find are yours to keep!

Digging is allowed May 15 through Oct. 15, WEATHER PERMITTING. No reservations are needed; however, PLEASE SIGN IN at the Gift Shop before starting to mine!

If you have never mined for opals before, or even if you have, we will be happy to show you the basics and get you started. Staff are on-site throughout the day to answer questions and offer advice as needed.

When signing in at the Gift Shop office, you will choose from several different types of mining, as follows.

Bank Digging

Bank Digging costs $/day/person. And, it is hard work! However, it may offer the best chance to find a noteworthy opal. In bank mining, you work ground that has never been moved or sifted before.

We prepare the mining banks in the off-season. Using heavy equipment, we remove hundreds of feet of clay "over-burden." That exposes sloping, near vertical "banks" or terraces of opal-bearing substrate.

The work of bank mining involves knocking fresh material from the bank, typically with a pick or rock hammer. We recommend removing no more than a hand's thickness at a time. It is important to work evenly, and not to "under-cut" the bank. Undercutting can create dangerous rock-fall conditions for yourself and others.

Often, the sound of your pick hitting glass may be the first sign that you have found something. The next step is to use small hand-tools to dig the specimen out. Typical tools include ice-picks, sharpened screwdrivers, and rock chisels. (See: Tools needed for mining)

Depending on the type of opal you find, you may wish to place it in a bucket of water once you have fully extracted it. For some types of opal, this will prevent cracking and crazing that could result from rapid drying. With other types of opal, such as limb casts, soaking could cause any remaining wood to expand and crack the opal. If in doubt, consult on-site Royal Peacock Opal Mine staff.

Children under 12 are not allowed to dig in the bank.

Click the photos below for a pop-up slideshow of bank mining at the Royal Peacock Opal Mine

Raking the Tailings

Another, less expensive (and less strenuous!) option is to mine the tailings. It costs $75/person/day.

The "tailings" comprise mounds of looser material that can be sifted through using garden rakes (although picks can be useful, too, for breaking up clods).

Sometimes the opals found in the tailings were previously missed by bank diggers. Other times, they were dumped there by the backhoe during initial bank preparation, or  routine daily site work. Each morning, the backhoe clears debris left by miners the previous day, while also removing material to keep the bank stable and safe.

The work of mining the tailings consists of raking through material. While raking, keep an eye out for unusual colors and shapes, and listen for unusual sounds!

Children are valuable helpers, because they are low to the ground, and often have excellent eyesight. Children 12 and under mine free with paid adult (mine dumps and tailings, only)

Click the photos below for a pop-up slideshow of dump and tailings mining at the Royal Peacock Opal Mine

ATTN: Pets must be on leash, and picked up after. There is no open area for pets or pet poo.

Further suggested reading:

Tools needed for mining

Royal Peacock production

About our opals

Sours: https://royalpeacock.com/fee-digging

Hunting me opal near

Exceptional and very rare Oregon opals with precious color play.

Opals are made out of rhyolite, basalt, sandstone, marl and rhyolite. A common source of opals are rhyolite geodes. The rocks, which means they have no properties of crystals, are known as mineraloids. It&#;s a silicon dioxide crystal-like product that is placed in cracks and cracks in rock at a somewhat low temperature.

Opals are also a gel high in a liquid content ranging from 3 to 30 percent water, but the opal gel acts as a solid. They&#;re essentially a silica spray! They can be quite cool and fragile, making it hard to hold them for jewelry after mounting.

Types of opals include: common and precious opals. Oregon opals include the types, rainbow, ryalite, contra luz, hydrophane, crystal, fire, blue, and dendritic.

Where to Find Opals in Oregon?

Baker County
Conner Creek Mining District &#;Baker Co.&#;
Swayze Creek &#;Baker Co.&#;

Clackamas County
Clackamas River localities &#;Clackamas Co.&#;
Oak Grove Fork &#;Clackamas Co.&#;

Columbia County
Neer Road, Goble &#;Columbia Co.&#;

Crook County
Howard Mining District (Ochoco Mining District; Bolivar Mining District) &#;Crook Co.&#;

Deschutes County
Newberry Caldera, East Lake &#;Deschutes Co.&#;

Harney County
Pueblo Mining District (Denio Mining District) &#;Harney Co.&#;

Hood River County
Pucci drillhole &#;Hood River Co.&#;

Jackson County
Ashland Mining District &#;Jackson Co.&#;
Butte Creek Mining District &#;Jackson Co.&#;
Evans Creek Mining District &#;Jackson Co.&#;
Meadows Mining District &#;Jackson Co.&#;

Jefferson County
Richardson Ranch (Priday Ranch), Madras &#;Jefferson Co.&#;

Klamath County
Oregon Technical Institute Occurrence &#;Klamath Co.&#;
Summit Rock &#;Klamath Co.&#;

Lake County
Christmas Valley pit, Christmas Valley &#;Lake Co.&#;
Hart Mountain &#;Lake Co.&#;
Juniper Ridge Opal Mine &#;Lake Co.&#;
Oregon Sunstone public collection area, Plush &#;Lake Co.&#;
Spectrum Mine, Plush &#;Lake Co.&#;
Madera Occurrence, Quartz Mountain &#;Lake Co.&#;
Quartz Mountain Gold Deposit (Fremont; Quartz Mountain Property), Quartz Mountain &#;Lake Co.&#;
School Creek Prospect &#;Lake Co.&#;

Malheur County
Brandon Occurrence (Quartz Mtn.; Glassy Butte) &#;Malheur Co.&#;
Owyhee Dam, Lake Owyhee State Park &#;Malheur Co.&#;
Aurora Uranium Prospect, Opalite District (McDermitt District) &#;Malheur Co.&#;
Rome Zeolite Occurrence &#;Malheur Co.&#;
Sheaville Zeolite Occurrence &#;Malheur Co.&#;
Succor Creek &#;Malheur Co.&#;

Marion County
Breitenbush Hot Springs Cinnabar Occurrence, Santiam District (Elkhorn District) &#;Marion Co.&#;

Morrow County
Opal Butte &#;Morrow Co.&#;

Opals are found nearly everywhere in the world, but how are we going to get to Oregon and find those deep wonders? The Juniper Ridge Opal mine is the site of a major opal discovery and development that has been going on for 30 years before being abandoned. After spending two years discovering and taking over the abandoned claim in , a father and son team, Ken and Chuck Oldham, formed a group of lapidaries and miners. They opened it for a form of mining called &#;fee dig&#; mining after mining the claim for years.

Fee Dig mining is simple! Pay a small fee, get a little training and a spot to mine, and take away whatever you find!

Opal Butte is a mountain top close to Hepner City in Morrow County, Oregon. There is a working mine in operation since , but it has been known since the s, when opals were not regarded as important. There is a mine in the West Coast Mining Company, marketing opals through its outlets.

Klamath County, Oregon hosts Opal Creekand Klamath Falls, where opals have been found. The Favell museum in Klamath falls actually boasts an arrowhead made of fire opal!


 

Geology Page

Sours: https://www.geologypage.com//01/opals-in-oregon-where-to-find-opals-in-oregon.html
Opal Mining In America: How To Find Rare Opal

You’ll Love Digging For Opals At This Unique Idaho Park

Posted in IdahoAttractions April 18, by Emerson

They don&#;t call us the Gem State just for kicks and giggles. Idaho is home to approximately 72 different kinds of gems and you can get your hands on some of your own when you visit this one-of-a-kind park. Hiding in Spencer, Idaho is an opal mine where visitors can come and try their luck at finding some precious stones as they dig for opals. Smashing away at rocks is certainly a unique way to spend the day and it&#;s bound to be fun for the whole family, no matter how old or young you are. This is a bucket list item you&#;ll definitely want to check off soon so take a look!

During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.

Spencer Opal Mine/Google

DiAlJo/Tripadvisor

Spencer Opal Mine/Google

Zerry G/TripAdvisor

DiAlJo/Tripadvisor

Spencer Opal Mine/Google

Idaho Opal Mines/Facebook

What do you think? Will you attempt to dig for opals this year? For another unique rockhounding destination, check out The One Place You Can Only Find This Incredibly Rare Gem In Idaho.

Sours: https://www.onlyinyourstate.com/idaho/dig-for-opals-id/

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