Looking for Sun in Rainy Oregon (Sunstone mining)

With Oregon so close to our home state of Washington, we decided to plan a camping trip around a visit to The Spectrum Sunstone Mine in Oregon.  Most of the Sunstone mines are located down around Plush, Oregon, in the middle of what feels like a vast, Road Warrior wasteland.  It is, in fact, a desert, and (surprise!) Oregon has them. The drive to several mines takes about 2 hours off the main road on a dirt and gravel backroad riddled with potholes.  NOTE: Do not take your nice car on this excursion.  I confess our camper van was somewhat nicer before the trip....

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Montana Sapphires: Tips for digging at the source

I love digging for rocks.  Our first trip to Gem Mountain in Phillipsburg, Montana did not disappoint!  The facility offers many tables and chairs for sorting, some in the sun and others in the shade.  They allow dogs so our trusty Rhodesian Ridgeback came along for the fun and got to visit with other dogs while basking in the sun.   Gem Mountain has a great set up with lots of staff available to answer questions.  They are also happy to give demos on the best way to wash the gravel and gather all the sapphires into one place in the...

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Digging for Tourmaline in California

California is known for a particular type of crisp pink Tourmaline.  You can also find plenty of green and black tourmaline in the state.  There are a few mines in southern California that I was curious to check out while I was down at GIA in Carlsbad taking some lab classes for my Gemologist certification.   Some people look for new restaurants to check out when they travel. I, on the other hand, look for mines to go get dirty in. The Himalaya Tourmaline Mine, located near Santa Isabel, CA, didn't disappoint.  There was a large pile of dirt and rock in the center with screening/sifting...

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