Dustdevil sunstone mine in Oregon
explored by Katerina Kestemont & Hubert Heldner in July 2003




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Dig your own Oregon Sunstone at Dust Devil Mining Co. The mine is situated 70 miles northeast of Lakeview in Lake county, Oregon. Open from mid June trough end of September or longer if the weather permits.
Plush the closest little village is separated by about 20 miles of dirt road from the mine. Camping is allowed in the public collecting area. We enjoyed our stay and everybody spoiled us. We look forward to see all these new friends again. For more information about the mine go to:

A 01   Driving along the Warner Mountains

A 02   in northern California we get a first glimps of Oregon

A 03   looking over the Goose Lake.

A 04   North of Lakeview and Plush, the first sign pointing to the Sunstone area.

A 05   Behind the Rabbit Hills we finally reach the Mining area.

A 06   On this side of the road is the public collecting ground about 4 square miles large.

A 07   Cars home in from different sides on the dirt roads

A 08   to the annual artists dig, organised by the Dust Devil Mining company.

A 09   We have a look around the terrain

A 10   before we park our car in the large circle.

A 11   The land is very dry. As we learn later this summer, Oregon will be easy prey for devastating bushfires.

A 12   A first walk trough the mine before sunset. The first sunstones are discovered with excitement.

A 13   The next morning everybody is at work early.

A 14   We try our luck with shovel and sieve.

A 15   We prospect around with good success, but all to soon hit hard rock.

A 16   Our neigbours are very helpful, with hints and operating instructions.

A 17   Not before long we dig sucessfully and operate like pros.

A 18   Many miners bring their own constructions, to make sieving easier.

A 19   The first halve day of work, yields this treasure of oregon sunstones.

A 20   Our neighbours found an exciting spot and invite us to join in.

A 21   The sunstone is found between multiple layers of basalt and clay.

A 22   Sunstone is the red shillering variety of the feldspar family. The plain yellow is called orthoklas.

A 23   Heavy equipment is used to move the mine dump, to break trough the hard rocklayers and

A 24   to securise the overhanging cliffs dug by the miners.

A 25   Katerina always dreamt of driving a farmers tractor,

A 26   so she was offered a special treat and was instructed how to operate the loader.

A 27   As the caterpillar runs over the larger boulders, breaking them, sunstones are popping out.

A 28   An attentif look when walking trough the mine along the tracks of the caterpillar may pay off nicely.

A 29   Salmon, crabs and grilled oysters for Saturday 5th of july.

A 30   In the late after noon a feast is organised. Flyers have been seen as far as 100 miles from the mine.

A 31   A good 120 miners and farmers from the surrounding area join the mining lapidary artists.

A 32   After a hard days work a shared dinner is the high point of every day.

A 33   Little Jim

A 34   on the job

A 35   sorting out the

A 36   sunstones.

A 37   Not only sunburned skin and blisters on the hands, Katerinas shoes also needed repair.

A 38   Getting aquainted with the various artists, miners and caracters is even more interesting than the mining.

A 39   Some will not tell stories, they may just pull out a stone or

A 40   a californian gold nugget.

A 41   Tonny & Steve operate a mine in oregon where they recently found,

A 42   crystalised platinum of exceptional beauty and rarity.

A 43   Rough sunstones

A 44   Rough sunstones

A 45   Oregon sunstone 18.73 ct / CHF 475.- "Sunbird"

A 46   Oregon sunstone 14.89 ct / CHF 475.- "Neptuns horn"

A 47   Oregon sunstone 28.72 ct / CHF 2870.- "flowing"

A 48   "Neptuns horn"

A 49   Oregon sunstone 29.91 ct / CHF 2990.- "Star"
Hubert Heldner July 2003