- Phone: 775-941-0111 (05/20 – 09/30) or 864-597-1421 (10/1 – 05/19)
- Web site: http://www.bonanzaopals.net
- Length of Vacation: Day or more
- Cost: $60 per person/day (kids 12 & under free)
- Open: Seasonal (May – Sept)
- Type of Prospecting: Opal
- Equipment: Bring your own or buy/rent from mine
- Instruction: Website does not say
- Lodging: Available nearbay (see website for details)
- Meals: Bring your own
From their web site:
Discover your own precious opals at the Bonanza Opal Mines! Unique to the Virgin Valley in Nevada, world-class opals from this area are even showcased at the Smithsonian Institute. Bonanza opals are some of the best in the region. Our diggers find opalized tree limbs, pine cones and other pre-historic organic material. We have fresh material at our tailings digging site throughout the season, so there’s always new opportunities for finding your own incredible, fiery opals!
Our History: Precious opal was first discovered in Virgin Valley, Nevada in 1905. That same year the Bonanza mine was first worked. The Bonanza group of mines were originally located by Matheson and Dow, and location certificates were filed on the Bonanza in 1908.
In 1910, Flora Lockheed (who’s two sons founded Lockheed aircraft) was assigned to cover a news story for the San Francisco Chronicle regarding the discovery of precious opals in Virgin Valley, Nevada. According to Gem and Mineral Magazine, “She not only found the task to her liking, but filed mining claims and for years afterwards, she was regarded as the most celebrated opal miner of that region.”
Undaunted by the extremes of climate, isolation, and primitive accommodations, Mrs. Lockheed thrived.
Mrs. Lockheed convinced a wealthy woman from Santa Barbara named Mrs. Hammond – the owner of the Rainbow Mine – to finance her in the mining and the managing of the mine. Even in her eighties, Mrs. Lockheed mined all over the valley and left old newspapers in the mines she worked. That was her “calling card.” These newspapers were later found by present owners in the tunnels that she had dug. (read more of the history here)