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Chris your best time for finding opal float is early morning or late afternoon. Walk the area with the sun low and in front of you to find transparent /translucent material.

Studying the opal material for fire is just the opposite. Sit in a darkened room with a single. narrowly shaded, bright light source shining over your shoulder. Wet the opal material you are studying and look closely with the light striking the opal directly. Turn the opal material slowly and watch for flashes or color changes within the opal.

Opal is pretty common material, you may look through many washes before finding one that has opal with color. When you do find color work the area with a fine toothed comb.

The wash I spoke of earlier is within sight of the freeway. :4chsmu1:

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Awesome, thanks Clay. I will have to check out the hills where I found this stuff in low light and see if anything is catching the sun. I will try checking for some flashes of color in the pieces I've collected so far. Hmmmm, the spot I found is near the freeway too, and its north of TorC, but just barely, it's still very close to town. I might be getting closer to some good stuff!

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I have been really exploring the area around where I found these. There are little patches of this stuff spread out in the hills in that spot. It's kind of tough to spot them because they are white and a lot of the rocks there are covered in caliche. I found two more patches of it today. A pretty good ways from where the first patch was. I hiked all around and didn't find any, then when I was headed back and almost to the car, I came across a small, short valley and each hill on either side had a bunch of it. Mostly small stuff but it had more color, it wasn't just plain white. There were little streaks of red and purple in some of it. I sent the big branch I found (in the previous pictures) to Mr. El Dorado, I can't wait to see how it looks after he works his magic on it!

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Chris because of the surface and shape Im thinking it could be fossilized or opalized bone fragments. Ive seen a lot of opalized dinosaur bone. AzNuggetBob

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AZ bob, you could be right. I am leaning towards a tree or plant though. That is just my guess. I have been looking at a lot of pictures of fossilized bones and fossilized trees. The rings or grain in some of these pieces looks a lot more like something from a tree rather than the spongy type patterns that I see in the bone pictures.

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Chis I cant wait to see your find end cut and polished.Its gona be fun to find out for sure what
youv'e found. tree or dino bone. I dont recall seeing common opal with a outside pattern like that?

I cant see any growth rings in your photo's but the encut and polish should expose them.
I used to make dino bone jewelry years ago and not all of it has marrow pattern on the inside. Search "opalized" dino bone and you will see what I mean.
here is a photo of some below. notice how it has a skin almost like a bark or bone but clear or white on the inside, no groth rings or marrow pattern. fully opalized can have great color.

hope you find a ton more. :yesss: AzNuggetBob

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Hey bob, yea when I first found this stuff I thought it could possibly be bone. Just because the outside doesn't really look like bark of any kind. since then I have found quite a few pieces with a circular grain pattern inside. But it some also have some strange patterns inside so I'm still not sure. I will see if I can get a good pic of some but it is hard to photograph, the inside of it is white and the grain is a faint tan color, hard to see.

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I sliced the big piece last night, will polish some this morning. It defiantly started out as a piece of wood....

Nice goodies from Chris in the pkg too. I thought all the small black pieces were Apache tears, but not sure now, what are they Chris?

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Whoa!!! That is freakin sweet! That looks amazing Steve.

Those little stones I sent are garnets I think. They were given to me. Some of them are dark and don't let much light through but some of them when held up to the light show a gorgeous reddish purple color.

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Here's a small sample of the New Mexico opal found in that wash Chris. I had some much better and bigger pieces but I now remember I gave them to a friend to cut. I'll have to track those down.

This piece is obviously too small to cut but it does show both the fire opal (red) and the precious opal (color flash) in the same piece. If you look close you will see that all the clear material shows multiple color flashes. You can't see it in this picture but the red opal also has red flash in the body.

Really fun material. There are multi pound pieces to be found there for a sharp eye. Several solid gem quality opal pieces in the multi ounce range can be found in a day of careful searching. It's a good site.

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Dang Clay, that piece is gorgeous! Wow, I had no idea there was opal like that nearby. I am going to have to expand my search area and hopefully come across something like that. I have cleaned up all of this wood opal that was around the spot I found, found four small patches of it. But I didn't see any opal like that one you posted, that is really cool looking stuff. i am going to keep searching the nearby washes and hopefully I can spot some eventually.

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I sure hope you can find some, it looks great!

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I guess I haven't got it all yet!! Found this chunker today along with a bunch of other nice sized pieces. I am also finding a bunch of petrified wood nearby. Here's a pic of a piece that I think is agatized wood. It has an awesome color pattern inside it.

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Here's a small sample of the New Mexico opal found in that wash Chris. I had some much better and bigger pieces but I now remember I gave them to a friend to cut. I'll have to track those down.

This piece is obviously too small to cut but it does show both the fire opal (red) and the precious opal (color flash) in the same piece. If you look close you will see that all the clear material shows multiple color flashes. You can't see it in this picture but the red opal also has red flash in the body.

Really fun material. There are multi pound pieces to be found there for a sharp eye. Several solid gem quality opal pieces in the multi ounce range can be found in a day of careful searching. It's a good site.

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Geeeezzz Clay ......I would flip out if I found one like that ! Thanks for sharing

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Chris

Im wondering if you dont have several differnt things going there? I found this file photo looking for fossilized trees in Nevada. I won't say exactly where it was found but it was in Nevada.

It looks very similar to what your finding. milky white center too.
I suspect the reason the frags your finding are more recently broken could be the glacial crunch (ablation) Nevada is known for.
hopfully you can find the main deposit/bed and find some larger pieces too.
also based on Nevada's history. I wouldn't rule out finding any aquatic dino bones in there too.
best of luck AzNuggetBob

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Awesome! That was really cool of you to cut and polish that piece for me. I can't wait to check it out. It will be a "mantle piece" and the fact that it was done by you, a fellow forum member and a professional, just makes it even more valuable. Thanks Steve!

Bob, I have been searching for the main deposit for this stuff but based on where and how I'm finding it I'm starting to think I am as close as I'm going to get. This stuff is on what I think of as a "finger" of land. A long hill or stretch of land that has a big valley or dry wash on either side. All of the stuff I have found has been on the side of the hill, on a pretty steep slant, eroding out of the hillside. None has been found on the top, or in the valley on either side, or on the next "finger" of land one valley over. So it looks like this stuff is just mixed in with the local gravel and a recent rainstorm has started to unearth it. It seems like it's mixed in, so I don't know if I'm going to find a "source". It seems like the source is long gone and the stuff has just been scattered out in little patches throughout the desert. I have found a bunch of fossils in the gravel there too but it's just been little clam shell impressions, and weird looking sea plants. Nothing complete or too impressive. I am keeping a look out for any serious fossils. If I found a dinosaur fossil I would do the "nugget dance" for sure. I have always wanted to find a fossilized carnivore bone.

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I'm guessing the area you've found these in is a known area for fossils and pet wood. Otherwise I would expect there to be lots of the material in the wash on either side of the hill. The source you're looking for is probably the hill itself. I'd imagine it's a fairly old alluvial deposit, and that the material it contains has moved significantly over the eons.

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I think you are right D day. It seems like the way they are scattered that they have moved a long way from where the tree they came from actually grew. I am still scouring the area moving outward from where I found them. Lots of petrified wood in the area. I am hoping to come across some more of the opal stuff. Each patch of it I came across would usually just contain a couple dozen or so small pieces, and maybe one or two larger pieces. But each little patch had different color patterns, some were all white with barely any visible grain and then some right on the other side of the hill had dark purple grain circles in them and it seems like the color is changing quite a bit each time I find a new spot.

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First photos reminded me of weathered antlers at least on the out side.

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