Sunday, August 7, 2011

Oregon Sunstone Mining

Family vacation 2011 we decided to venture through Oregon's outback to mine beautiful Oregon Sunstone; an all natural labradorite feldspar sometimes containing beautiful copper shiller. It can be clear, yellow, with reds, or even greens .

We loaded up the RV, made sure we were topped off on gasoline, water, food, and our holding tanks were empty. I had no idea how important this would be.

Coming from the more densely populated part of Oregon (our city neighbors Portland), I had no idea just how empty parts of our state were. We were on probably 30 miles of dirt road before we reached Dust Devil Mine past Plush, Oregon. (I think it took Bryan a couple hours to wash all the dust off our RV once our trip was over.) Living in an area of vast greenery, I found the golden scenery beautiful and serene. Nothing but sage, hills and blue skies--oh yeah, and dirt!

We arrived and were greeted by the mine owners who instructed us in how to find sunstone rough. Shame on me, I should have used the sunscreen. I only lasted about an hour mining with my husband, my 2 boys ages 7 and 10 and my 3 year old daughter. Thankfully I was the only one who ended up with sunburn. My husband Bryan and I dug the dirt and sifted through material and found the sunstone fairly easily. Our younger son didn't even lift a shovel and found more pieces of better quality than we did.

When we were finished, we brought our material back to be inspected for quality pieces we'd then have the option of buying. We got to keep everything we found because nothing Bryan or I mined was of any real value.

I'd never enjoyed a shower so much after that dusty day. I enjoyed walking around the desert with my kids picking up pebbles here and there. Maybe they weren't worth much but the experience was priceless.

That night I heard my oldest son yell, "look at all the stars!". Never in my life have I seen so many stars. While my youngest slept, the remaining four of us went outside the RV and just looked in wonder at the beautiful night sky. My boys saw their first shooting stars that night.

After our visit to the Dust Devil mine, we went south to Davis Creek, California to collect obsidian, a natural glass. From there we went to Sparks and Virginia City, Nevada before heading home. Our 6 day adventure came to an end.

During the trip I was able to make some great faceted sunstone purchases from the Dust Devil mine which I'll be setting into jewelry and selling in my shop soon. I hope to visit the area of Plush, Oregon again soon.

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