Life is a journey, not a destination. If life were a destination, however, I would like for it to be here. We are now miners as well as claim owners. We have two claims in the McDermitt, Oregon area which are for chalcedony primarily (in the form of thundereggs) and a gold mine in the Denio, Nevada area.
The gold mine was never very productive and has been abandoned since the 1930’s. We are finding a lot of silver but primarily, we chose this site for the copper minerals. There is lots of chrysocolla as well as gem silica and small amounts of azurite, malachite and cuprite. Occasionally, we get a little bit of gold as well.
There are a few folks who are not happy about our claiming these areas. They have been written about in books and many rockhounds believed that they were simply areas made available to the general public for collecting. In truth, all of these areas were discovered by miners who staked a claim and, once they were done with it, left it for someone else to claim. We came accross them, the same way that most rock people do but we realized that the bulk of the good material could not be accessed without the use of power tools and that we wanted to sell the material we found. I have a suspicion, that most people who go out and collect rocks, are unaware of the limits they can legally collects and that no matter how much they bring home, it is illegal to sell or even trade those rocks without having a claim. Power tools can only be used if you have a claim as well.
I will not make it sound easy to juggle three mines, two businesses and a home because it isn’t! My original shop, Tangible Imaginings, is being redesigned right now with the intention of reopening (online) on the first of the year. Our new business, SG Lapidary, is in it’s infancy and I am learning a great deal by default.
McDermitt is a 5 hour drive from our home and so is Denio. They are over one hour apart so even traveling between them can be quite a trek. My husband has a day job as a sheet metal fabricator for an HVAC company. It comes in handy especially when we need to redesign equipment. So, during the day, he is at his job while I am busy cutting rock, cabbing, lapping, washing (a lot) stabilizing, designing jewelry, fabricating and selling EVERYTHING!!
This blog is more a way for me to remember all that has happened on this journey than it is to enlighten any of my readers. That being said, however, I welcome any questions and hope you enjoy what you read. As you can see from previous posts, I am an illustrator but arthritis and EDS have taken my hands so I am no longer able to work in the detail I enjoy most. I also have Essential Tremor. So far, I have found ways to still make jewelry but I doubt that will be for too much longer unless I can get the surgery I need to stabilize my thumbs. Who know what the future may bring!?
Happy 2020. Lets hope this year lives up to its name and we all find a little clarity along the way!