Richardson's Rock Ranch
Oregon Blue Opal

  The blue opal at Richardson's Rock Ranch is really beautiful and incredibly blue. It is also known as denim opal and is found inside of thunder eggs. It is a blast to dig! Richardson's is located 11 miles north of Madras, Oregon. There are a lot of different rocks such as agate, jasper, and opal, as well as a super rock shop. It is well worth the trip out.

  The day was Wednsday the 10th of September, and the sky was filled with clouds that could mean rain, and there was a good stiff breeze. We signed in at the ranch and inquired as to whether or not the opal beds were open. They were, provided the road was passable. We decided to try to make it up there even though it had rained heavily the day before. The road started out pleasantly enough and then turned into a steep climb. Four wheel drive was absolutely essential as the steep dirt road was rocky and very uneven. We made it up to the top, parked, and breathed a collective sigh of relief. We had lunch and looked around for ten minutes or so, and then took the tools up to the digging location. My mom found a great spot, and we spent about three hours digging and collecting thundereggs. We managed to fill a large bucket to the top with thundereggs during our three hours, and at about 3:30 I carried it down and loaded it into the truck. We made the harrowing journey down the mountain and went to the office to weigh and pay for our treasures. So far, a quarter of the bucket has produced three bottles of small bits and pieces and some good large chunks for making cabs, drops, and beads.

The opal holds it's color well, and we will be back for sure!


Copyright 2003-2004 Ken Dinneen
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