Return to the Ocean View Mine
Pala Travel Blog› entry 20 of 20 › view all entries
There are gems in the hills of San Diego county! In spots where superheated rock came up though the granite to form "pegmatite dikes", weird rare-earth elements were left behind, and strange crystals formed in the extreme pressure of the dike.
Several zillion years later, my friends and I have come by to try and capture some of these treasures from the earth!
I grew up near the mines, and searched for gemstones in the old tailing piles when I was little, but this is different. On occasional Saturdays they'll blast out the working face of the mine and haul it out into a big pile in a flat spot on the hill. You can rent a spot and a sifting box on Sunday and search for gems in the fresh, unsearched material.
Like with everything, there's a certain etiquette to the sifting... You go up to the pile, fill your bucket, supposedly without looking and without lingering and picking... and sift back at the table - so everyone gets an equal chance and no one fights over pockets of good material. The fee lets you keep anything you find, the mine owners have to let you take even the best gems, but on the other hand, you might find absolutely nothing the whole day if there are no gem pockets in the spot where they blasted. Today was a pretty good day...
This is my second time at the mine, I have an old review from my first visit maybe 7 years ago... I think it was my first attempt at at Travbuddy review.