DOMINION OPAL MINES​ of VIRGIN VALLEY, NEVADA

CARNELIAN can be found across both sides of the highway at the turnoff to Virgin Valley.  The best material is found on the north side of the highway as float and in situ in the Rhyolite deposits in the hills.  

Rock Hounding in Virgin Valley & the Sheldon NWR:

A maximum of seven pounds of rocks may be collected per day for personal use only, except in the Virgin Valley Mining District (covers 67,000 acres of refuge lands). Surface collecting only, NO DIGGING. Within the mining district there are thousands of claims (some of which are patented) and permission from claim owners must be obtained for rock collecting. Several patented mines offer opal hunting for a fee. Virgin Valley opal deposits include the prized black opal as well as fire opal of many hues, with the brilliant fire unique to the valley's gem. If you have the opportunity to visit the Smithsonian Natural Science Museum in Washington D.C., there are several Virgin Valley opals on display. The opal mines are operated by private groups.

Last updated: July 11, 2014

SHELDON NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE LINK

READ THIS BEFORE PAYING SOMEONE TO GIVE YOU A TOUR OF VIRGIN VALLEY OR THE SURROUNDING AREA !!!

Notice and Warning to those who don't know better: One local outfit in Denio/Virgin Valley who sells mining claims and mining tours is not following the law.  Make sure that anyone besides the 3 main patented fee digs in Virgin Valley (Rainbow Ridge, Royal Peacock, and Bonanza Opal Mines) that offers opal mining tours, claim showings, rockhound or general guiding, has special certification and permission from the USFWS (Sheldon Range, Virgin Valley) or the BLM (outside Sheldon NWR) as guiding and tours is/are illegal on all federal lands without a special use permit and insurance proof pursuant to federal regulations etc. Operating without one of these permits and without insurance is a violation of Federal law and is illegal... Don't get sucked into that persons scams at making money off you illegally.

There are more than opals in Virgin Valley.  Please make certain to know if you are on USFWS NWR land or BLM land.  You cannot collect or rockhound on private mining claims.  Open BLM and NWR lands can be rockhounded, but the collecting limits vary.  It is ___ lbs per day on the refuge (surface collecting only) vs ___ lbs / reasonable amount per year off the refuge (no commercial collecting and NO COLLECTING FOR RESALE!

A few things that can be found around Denio/Virgin Valley:  Epidote, Gold, Turquoise, Malachite, Chalcanthite, Azurite, Petrified Wood, Opalized Wood, Chalcedony, Agate, Jasper, Obsidian, Carnelian, Petrified Wood, Opalite, Jasp-Agate, Psilomelane,  and more.  I will update this page when I can get all the info from my son who knows all these areas.

This is a good book on Rockhounding in Nevada.  CLICK HERE FOR LINK on AMAZON.

ROCKHOUNDING THE VIRGIN VALLEY AREA OF NEVADA:  MORE THAN JUST OPALS!

This is the famous "Amethyst Sage" or "Purple Sage" Agate from south of Denio.  It is currently under claim by West Coast Gems.  NO COLLECTING!  He sells pieces on his ebay page at this link: >>CLICK HERE<<

This is a thunderegg from the Blackrock Desert of Nevada, south of Virgin Valley.