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 >>>
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