Updated: Jul 3
When we say that we mine our own stones - what comes to mind? Do you picture big equipment? Underground Tunnels? A crew of people? Let's take a look at how we actually do this!
Currently our Turquoise and Variscite mines consist of hand dug "pits". These are very open and we try to knock down all of the overhanging rock so we don't end up with unsafe tunnels. We use rock hammers, shovels, and picks to mine. It is a slow process but it allows us to see what is in every bit of dirt that comes out so we don't miss anything!
Earth moving equipment would be most helpful in knocking down overhanging rocks, mucking out the "junk" material, and opening up the pit to expose more potential veins. To get equipment out there requires reclamation bonding and permitting through the BLM. It is a very expensive process! We have not had equipment at our claims yet but hope to be able to get some out there soon to open things up for better hand digging!
Yeah.... it's just us. We occasionally bring friends out to help dig for the day but it is typically just the two of us digging away! A day of digging is an excellent workout and results in a sort of mud mask for your entire body! It is totally worth it for the treasures we get to bring home!
How to Find it:
The turquoise runs in veins and so we dig until we find that beautiful blue color! Once we have located a vein - we chase it until it disappears. It is a very rewarding material to dig and gives us that instant gratification of knowing we found some pretty rocks!
Our variscite is more of a challenge! It does not run in veins like most variscite does. Our variscite typically comes in pseudomorph clams! (See our last blog post for more on what a pseudomorph is!)
These clams don't show any color on the outside but they have a very unique shape. It is almost like hunting for geodes! The only hard part is we can't break them without potentially ruining the material inside. This means we get to bring home buckets of boring looking rocks to slice open with the slab saw. Out of all the clam shaped rocks we bring home - usually 2/10 actually have variscite. The rest are just duds or mud balls.
On a good day of digging - we may find a pound or so of good material but it definitely doesn't come out buckets at a time! The process is very time and labor intensive which makes it all the more rewarding!
If you have any questions about our mining process - feel free to send us a message!
Thanks for reading!
Thomas & Riley