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Mining Opals in the Aussie Outback


A fascinating little peek into how opals are mined, featuring a 70+ year old character who runs the mining equipment himself. :slight_smile:


I’ve been to Australia aswell.
Six weeks of most beautifull scenery and amazing people.
I drove more then 7000Km in this awsome country on the lefst side of the road where I’m used to drive on the other side.
Together with my wife we visited many places picking for gold and gemstones together with very generous aussies.
I was burned to go and see Lightning Ridge to find gemstones in a small place called Rubyvale.
There, you’re able to go into a mine and find your own sapphires and whatever comes along with it.
We found some natural zirconium and 137ct of sapphire, now that kicks you out of your socks!
The major part are just sapphire bombs but we have over 8ct of beautifull cut sapphires found in a pile of self digged 1200 pound of dirth in a shaft 30m down in earth.
Yes it was hard working and yes you’ve to pay for it ( 60,-Aus) for working 4 hours in this tunnel with a humidity of 85% BUT, I’ll do it again in a heartbeat! and yes, I found some opals aswell in the tailings somewhere else.
If you realy want to know how it works, go for it and make the trip…it’s a lifetime experience which you’ll never forget EVER! Feel the humidity, taste your sweat and experience the hard work to find the little goodies you can buy so easely.


That’s a great story Pedro, makes me want to add mining gems to my bucket list!


That is a good idea!

I did some minning in America aswell.
I found gold in Montana and very nice sapphires at the Yoko gulch.
One of the best colors to find concerning sapphires!

Go for it if you can !!!


I lived in Australia for quite a few years and in Alice Springs for a while. We used to go out to the minefields and gather gemstones. We went to a ruby field where it had rained the night before (It hadn’t rained for almost a year in the desert. The whole ground glittered like diamonds every where. The glittery rocks were zircons of all colors. I filled a bucket with them. Then we went to a garnet cliff next to the road and chipped garnet crystals out of the shale. At the time I was not a serious gem hunter in the 80’s. Just picking through the dump piles at the opal mines provided me with a bunch of nice rock opals just before they became popular. What fun I had there!


I got into the jewelry business because 50 years ago I went with my parents to visit my uncle Charlie Eddy who had an opal mine claim in Virgin Valley Nevada. After a week of digging opals in the desert I was hooked. I got into lapidary and then silver smithing. I ended up going to Gem City college in Quincy IL to learn watchmaking, hand engraving and jewelry repair and design.