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About Fire Opal:

Mohs Hardness: 5.5 – 6.5
Density: 1.98 – 2.50
Composition: Hydrous silicon dioxide (SiO2· nH2O)

Fire Opal is unlike any other opal. While most opals are renowned for the play of color and reflections from within, Fire Opal is named for its fiery colors, including yellows, oranges, and reds. It may or may not show an opalescent "play of color", but is valued mostly for its intense colors.

The best qualities of fire opal are very transparent. Most fire opal is cut in sparkling faceted stones, though you may also find it cut en-cabochon, in spheres, and in carvings.

Opal typically contains from 3 to 30 percent water, making it very sensitive to every kind of stress.

Fire opal is no exception to this rule, and should be protected against impact as well as drastic changes of humidity and temperature.

Fire opal is becoming much more popular in jewelry due to its impressive range of bright intense colors. It is also very light in weight compared to other gems, so it is ideal for producing stunning larger earrings and pendants without burdening the lucky wearer.

You should never put any kind of opal into harsh cleaning fluids or in ultrasonic cleaners.

About the Juniper Ridge Mine:


The mine on Juniper Ridge had been worked off and on for over thirty years, but was never promoted very much. The claim had actually been lying dormant and the old maps of the location were inaccurate.  Chuck Newnham and his father Ken searched for the mine for over two years. Hiking many miles in the surrounding hills they finally were able to locate the abandoned pit and placed it under claim again in 1998.



The mine partners, who are all lapidaries, worked the mine for a few years by hand with family and friends, and produced a collection of cabochons and spheres from the material.

During 2002, the mine was opened to other collectors on a fee-dig basis. Since then, the popularity of the material has skyrocketed due to the incredible color, stability, and sizes of their material. It is not unusual to collect nodules “eggs” of opal the size of a baseball weighing a couple pounds or so, and eggs of over 10 pounds can also be found.

Today, the Juniper Ridge opal mine is still a working mine and produces good quantities of very high grade opal. To learn more about fee-digging at their serene and scenic retreat high in the mountains of South Eastern Oregon, click here >>> Fee-digging at the Juniper Ridge Opal Mine!

To reserve your digging dates -->> CLICK HERE


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