Return to the Ocean View Mine

Pala Travel Blog

 › entry 20 of 20 › view all entries
Heading into San Diego County's back country

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.

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Heading into San Diego Countys ba…
Heading into San Diego County's b…
Deeper into the hills...
Deeper into the hills...
Up the trail to the mine...   They…
Up the trail to the mine... The…
Almost there...
Almost there...
Heres what greeted us - a mountai…
Here's what greeted us - a mounta…
Yesssss!
Yesssss!
Mine operator Jeff explaining exac…
Mine operator Jeff explaining exa…
Everyone attentively listening, pr…
Everyone attentively listening, p…
This is what were looking for!  P…
This is what we're looking for! …
That didnt take long, my friend N…
That didn't take long, my friend …
Whats this kid on to....?
What's this kid on to....?
Check it out
"Check it out"
Coolest rock of the day!  Hes fou…
Coolest rock of the day! He's fo…
Mining....
Mining....
Another gem
Another gem
Todd sifting gravel fresh from the…
Todd sifting gravel fresh from th…
I think were having fun at this p…
I think we're having fun at this …
You have to get a little dirty to …
You have to get a little dirty to…
Julie finds something...
Julie finds something...
Anthonys still a little suspiciou…
Anthony's still a little suspicio…
Mine-dog keeping a close eye on me…
Mine-dog keeping a close eye on m…
Looking like some sort of Christma…
Looking like some sort of Christm…
This professor from Texas comes al…
This professor from Texas comes a…
Coarse mesh, fine mesh
Coarse mesh, fine mesh
By then end weve turned the place…
By then end we've turned the plac…
Somehow twenty gallon bucketloads …
Somehow twenty gallon bucketloads…
Purple lepidolite, the lithium ore…
Purple lepidolite, the lithium or…
Jewels taken from the mine and wor…
Jewels taken from the mine and wo…
Tourmaline from the mine
Tourmaline from the mine
Pink tourmaline, some of the best …
Pink tourmaline, some of the best…
Orange groves
Orange groves
Back at home, sorting and cleaning…
Back at home, sorting and cleanin…
Blue-green aquamarine and tourmali…
Blue-green aquamarine and tourmal…
Tourmaline, pink, red, purple, gre…
Tourmaline, pink, red, purple, gr…
Purple, lavender, and pink lepidol…
Purple, lavender, and pink lepido…
Something between lepidolite and t…
Something between lepidolite and …
Black tourmaline
The most common …
Black tourmaline The most common…
Red tourmaline - my collection of …
Red tourmaline - my collection of…
Cranberry colored tourmaline
Cranberry colored tourmaline
A green aquamarine.  Theres a big…
A green aquamarine. There's a bi…
Kunzite, another lithium based gem…
Kunzite, another lithium based ge…
My favorite tourmalines of the day
My favorite tourmalines of the day
I like the double crystal - actual…
I like the double crystal - actua…
Double tourmaline
Double tourmaline
The big aquamarine
The big aquamarine
Clear kunzite
Clear kunzite
Clear kunzite crystal
Clear kunzite crystal
Big pink tourmaline
Big pink tourmaline
The classic Pala pink tourmaline c…
The classic Pala pink tourmaline …
Pretty
Pretty
Deep pomegranate colored tourmalin…
Deep pomegranate colored tourmali…
Cranberry colored tourmaline. 
Lo…
Cranberry colored tourmaline. L…
The BIG smoky quartz crystal!
I r…
The BIG smoky quartz crystal! I …
Unusual flattened smokey quartz
Unusual flattened smokey quartz
The gem pile for the day.
Nothing…
The gem pile for the day. Nothin…
Gems
Gems
Pala
photo by: cneoridium