Treasure Hunting For Opals
By David Cowley

Opals have been considered a magical precious stone for
thousands of years.  It is said to help the wearer's psychic
powers and to have better and more vivid dreams.  Modern Witches
and Pagans especially look for black opals, said to enhance any
magic spell.  But not are opals rich in myth and magic, they are
also really nice to look at.  In many ways, they are similar to
pearls, but not nearly so expensive.  

Although you can buy opals from jewelers, geological shows and
"nature" stores and their website equivalents, it's far more fun
and magical to find the opal yourself.  This is one of the many
reasons why opal treasure hunting is becoming a popular
activity, especially in Nevada and Oregon, where Bonanza Opal
Mines and the Juniper Ridge Fire Opal Mines are.

Finders Keepers

Bonanza Opal Mines have "finders' keepers" days where the
general public is allowed to come in, pay a daily fee of less
than $50 and keep any and all opals that they find.  You are not
allowed to dig just anywhere in the mines, however.  Some areas
are reserved only for shareholders.  But hunting for opals is
still good in all of the other places of the mines.

Depending on where you choose to hunt for opal, the tools you
should bring include Small Hand Rake, Shovel, Pick Axe, Hammer,
Bucket, Gloves and Knee pads.  You can use the hard rock mining
technique which entails use of a pick axe, shovels, and a hammer
or your could just rake through the tailing which are bulldozed
piles of material removed from the mining area.  Many of these
mines are in extraordinarily remote areas so be prepared to camp
and bring all necessary food, water and mining supplies.

Modern day opal treasure hunters don’t need to travel a huge
distance to and from the mines when they need to relax after an
invigorating day searching.  They are allowed to camp in certain
places in Bonanza Opal Mines.  There are also shower facilities
and a naturally heated pond.  Camping and use of the showers is
included in your daily fee.

If you like the thrill of the hunt and the beauty of the
shifting colors of opals, you may be interested to know that
sometimes opportunities come where you can be a Bonanza Opal
Mine shareholder.  When you become one of only 100 shareholders,
then you are allowed to dig in the "bank" – the places thought
to be richest in opals.  If you are interesting in a share, you
need to contact Bonanza Opal Mines by email or phone.

Juniper Ridge Fire Opal Mine is another mine that allows the
general public to search for opals on a fee bases.  The digging
fee is $200 per person per day which gives you the right to dig
for opals at the mine area and you are allowed to fill a one
gallon bucket with raw gemstones.  The mine operators at the
Juniper Ridge Fire Opal Mine believe that any reasonably health
and active adult should be able to fill a one gallon bucked
within a single day.  If you have more than one gallon bucket
worth of material you can pay an additional fee or simply keep
only the highest grade of opals to take home.

Before booking your opal treasure hunting trip, be sure to
contact your local treasure hunting club to find information on
what tools to bring.  You can find out the contact information
of your local club through the Federation of Metal Detectors and
Archeologist Clubs, Inc.  Often, your local Wal-Mart will have a
display table or pamphlets from your local treasure hunting club
available.  Sometimes, there even will be club members manning
the table so you can ask questions about opal treasure hunting.

About the Author: David Cowley has created numerous articles on
Treasure Hunting.  He has also created a Web Site dedicated to
Treasure Hunting. Visit


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