About Dust Devil Mining Company
Dust Devil Mining Co. was founded by rock hounds who believe everyone should have access to good quality cutting rough at a reasonable price. We believe the Oregon Sunstone is on the threshold of becoming a very popular gemstone and that demand will cause the price to increase considerably over the next few years.
Even though growing popularity tends to make gemstone rough difficult to find and expensive to obtain, the Dust Devil Mine pledges to continue making good rough available for designers, artists, and cutters as long as we own the mine.
History of Dust Devil Mine
During the Fall of 1991, rock hounds and lapidarys Terry and Jude Clark and Don and Patsy Buford decided to look into filing gemstone claims in Oregon. After searching BLM records for the entire state, they discovered three abandoned Sunstone claims in the high desert near Plush, Oregon. Both couples had previously collected these beautiful gemstones in the area set aside by the BLM for public digging.
On February 1, 1992 Terry, Don, and Don's son Clay drove to the area. After spending the night in a Geo Metro while the outside temperature dropped to around 10 degrees, the claims were located and staked.
The partners spent long weekends and vacations digging and breaking up rock with 16 pound sledge hammers. After hand screening, having the gems cut, and setting them in gold, they found that they had beautiful salable jewelry.
A Mine is Born
The partners decided to mechanize the operation and incorporate the business. After welcoming Steve Hackler, equipment operator and mechanic, to the company, a home made screening plant was constructed from salvage materials. An ancient backhoe was purchased and the race was on to see if enough material could be mined and sold to keep the company afloat.
After three years the men left their jobs and moved to the desert for half of each year to mine. The number of claims grew from three to nine, then fifteen, seventeen, and now twenty-five, including opal and varicite claims in Nevada and fire agate claims in California.
Tuscon International Gemshow
In 1996, the Dust Devil Mine began selling Oregon Sunstones in Tucson, Arizona at the Tucson International Gem Show. Sales were not brisk for the relatively unknown gemstone, but the exposure resulted in a meeting with William Cox, one of the country's finest gemstone carvers.
Will fell in love with our material and traded his carving skills for some stones to carve for himself. Will entered the second Sunstone that he had ever carved into the prestigious AGTA Cutting Edge Competition. Will took first place in the carving division.
The first place win led to meetings with several other award winning cutters and carvers. One of these was Larry Winn of Grand Junction Colorado. Larry's Paisley Pear Sunstone took third place in the combination division in 1997.
Moving ahead to the 2008 mining season...Dust Devil Mining company is in full swing with the new 'Optical Sorting' plant up and running. The Oregon sunstone continues to win awards for artists, including Dalan Hargrave, multiple award winning artist.
From the EARTH to the Extraordinary.....!
NATURAL ALL AMERICAN OREGON SUNSTONE !