The intention of Western Opals is pretty clear; to bring the world the highest quality opals, direct from the source, for the most affordable price on the market. We’re sharing this article and these photos to give our customers a glance at the process of opal mining, and what takes place before a person has the finished product in their hand.
The name of the mine pictured is called “La Estancia.” It is named after the small town called “La Estancia De Ayones” which belongs to the municipality of Magdalena, Jalisco Mexico.
This is one of the most reputable mines that this area has ever had. It was stopped for approximately 5 years and now they have decided to reopen the mine and continue extracting opal from it.
This mine is located at around 8 kilometers up in the mountains from its nearest town.
The process of extraction in this mine requires a few steps. First, an excavator loads the dirt and rocks where there could possibly be opal on to a dump truck. The dump truck then takes the material to where ever the owner wishes. After that there is a separating process where the miner has to smash all of the rocks and leave them as small as possible. This is the moment when there is the possibility that you will find opal.
Once the sand and dirt is removed from the pile, you have to wash everything by hand in a stream or where ever there is water.
Mining is a back breaking job which requires a big investment and a lot of persistence and dedication. Miners can go weeks or months without finding a single opal. When they do find the opal, they have a piece of magic from the earth to share with the world.
At the end of the day, all the effort pays off when you have a great stone in your hands & you are the first person to ever see it. Then sharing this with a customer brings us great satisfaction and contentment.