The Royal Peacock Mine offers visitors a chance to find opals of their own. All you find are yours to keep! Read more about:Â Mining for opals
The Royal Peacock is located in the Virgin Valley, about 35 miles from Denio, Nevada. It produces precious black opal (Nevada's state precious gemstone), as well as crystal, white, lemon opals, conk wood opal, fire opal, etc.Â Most of the mine's opal is thought to be produced by a process called "partial wood replacement." Read more about: Virgin Valley Geology
The Royal Peacock Opal Mine is a family-run business. First developed in 1912, it has been run by the Wilsons since 1944.
In 2006, after running the business for many years, my mother Joy Wilson had a stroke. Â Although she is not actively able to assist, she still is at the Royal Peacock Opal Mine during its operating season.Â And Harry W. Wilson, my father (pictured at left with me) at the age of 79, still goes up on the opal hill every morning and prepares the bank and tailings for the diggers. My brother Walt and Sister Angie and myself (pictured below) all help run the place. Â Read more about: Wilson Family history
Thank you very much for visiting our website. If we can assist you with directions to the mine, or book an RV space, tent/camper space, or cabin/trailer for you, please do not hesitate to write orÂ call: (775) 941-0374
Digging is allowed May 15 through Oct. 15, WEATHER PERMITTING. No reservations are needed; however, PLEASE SIGN IN at the Gift Shop before starting to mine!
If you have never mined for opals before, or even if you have, we will be happy to show you the basics and get you started. Staff are on-site throughout the day to answer questions and offer advice as needed.
When signing in at the Gift Shop office, you will choose from several different types of mining, as follows.
Pictured: Julie Wilson and a spectacular collection of arrowheads collected by her ancestors Harry L and Mabel WilsonÂ in the late 19th and early 20th century (today, arrowhead collecting is illegal!).
The Royal Peacock is the only opal mine in the Virgin Valley offering a full-service gift shop. In addition to cool drinks, snacks, and sundries, we sell tools, firewood, and other basic supplies. The shop also offers a wide assortment of opals, jewelry, and other collectibles.
The shop also serves as the office; please check in here first if you wish to mine for opals, set up camp, or rent an RV space or cabin. The Gift Shop is open daily, in season, from 7:30AM to 4:30PM.
Many visitors take advantage of our location to explore the adjacent Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge and other area attractions. Whether you enjoy hiking, fishing, wildlife photography, or just watching the sunset, the Royal Peacock Opal Mine makes a great basecamp.
- Check in time: 3:00pm
- Check out time: 10:00am
Originally published in the Herald and News paper, of Klammath Falls, Ore. Reprinted with permission.
VIRGIN VALLEY, Nev -- In the late 1800s and early 1900s, cowboys and sheepherders collected those sparkling stones, later known as black and fire opals, from Virgin Valley fields.
More than a quarter of a million carats of precious fire opals have been extracted from the Royal Peacock mines in the past twenty five years. Some of the better-known stones are listed below.
It took fourteen million years for Mother Nature to make a Virgin Valley opal.
It was well worth the wait.
Ancient man visited Virgin Valley more than 10,000 years ago. The 'Last Supper' cave -- an archeological marvel -- is located near the southwestern tip of the valley. The bones and relics of the cave's inhabitants have been carbon dated at eight to 10 thousand years before Christ.
Nearly 14 million years ago, Virgin Valley, in the northwest corner of Humboldt County, was covered by lakes and forests. Today, what we see is simply bare hills. The entire area was several thousand feet lower and more like the coastal mountain ranges of today. However, the earth was not quiet; volcanoes periodically erupted, blasting the forests apart and burying them under hundreds of feet of ash. This cycle was repeated several times over the next million years. Magma later pushed to the surface and repeatedly flowed over the region. The layers of ash and blasted trees were buried more than 1500 feet deep.
A note from Noel and Teresa Pacheco, archaeologists with Ancient Journeys of Taos, NM:
In 2005 we were at the mine and found a huge peacock opal, about 232 cts. Joy and her husband saw it and told us how to treat it.Â Three years ago we had it cut, and here it is:
It has been featured in a book by Lithographie and was in an auction with Bonhams and Butterfield two years ago. It did not sell because of the economy. Anyway.... here is the photo of the cut stone: 23 carats and a retail value of $54,000. We hope you can use this in your website. The opal has been declared stable by the world-class cutter who cut it in Scottsdale, Az.