Juniper Mountain Gem and Mineral was founded in 2015 with the opening of Red October Mine in western Lake County, Oregon. We opened with the intent to provide a high quality, responsibly sourced, environmentally conscious option to the colored gemstone market. The American Fire Opal mined by Juniper Mountain Gem and Mineral is unlike any other opal from this region. Where most of the large scale operations, have gone to large swath, pit-style mines for ease of access, we have opted for a different approach. Utilizing low-impact hand tools, zero use of heavy equipment and a strict “no fuel outside of the truck” policy we have managed to set a new standard for material extraction in our area. This small scale outfit has allowed us access to what was once overlooked material deemed ‘too difficult’ to be worth extracting. We have found that it is this material that retains the fire that this opal has become known for, better than any other opal from this region, and does not fade over time like other, more easily mined material will.
Opalites are common throughout the world, but true, vibrant fire opal comes from only a few mines globally. The opal extracted from our location in Southern Oregon is of the highest quality in the United States. With deep fiery colors ranging from brilliant honey yellows to deep burnt red oranges, our stones stand alone. There are many dealers that sell fire opal from our region but none that sell our opal, specifically. Typically the opal harvested from southern Oregon is clear for a short while after extraction which makes for a great sale, but over time these stones begin to lose their luster and can eventually become completely clouded. This is not the case with Juniper Mountain Fire Opal. Only Juniper Mountain Fire Opal retains its fire and luster after cutting and polishing, the same cannot be said for other materials.
American Fire Opal is a simple stone. Silica, water, a touch of iron for color, immense amounts of time and pressure and a beautiful stone is born. Fire opal can form in many places but only the best comes from the tightest cracks and fissure of the hardest surrounding, host-stone. When Fire Opal forms in mud fields it will become cloudy and dull over time, where as an opal that has the luxury of being born in the deep, dark cracks of the local basaltic andesite retains its clarity and fire for the life of the stone. Miners in the past have overlooked this geologic information and gone straight to the easy material for obvious financial reasons. We look to change this way of thinking.
By removing only the best stone we can guarantee that the gemstones introduced to the market by Juniper Mountain Gem and Mineral are only of the highest quality and that there will never be a question as to their quality and overall beauty. Juniper Mountain Gem and Mineral does not sell bulk rough to cutting houses for this exact reason. If we put our rough material in to the market there is no way to guarantee what the retail customer is receiving, but when a stone is purchased form Juniper Mountain Gem and Mineral, directly, our customers can be certain that the product they are receiving comes straight from the source and is of the highest quality material available. This practice insures that all of Juniper Mountain Gem and Minerals sales can be guaranteed, and that each of our customers leaves pleased with their purchase.
This Top Tier, Fair Trade approach is the way of the future and helps prevent the egregious manipulation of the gemstone market and its workers. For too long the mine owner and their employees have been at the mercy of greed and a total disregard for human rights and the well-being of the laborers involved. We aim to see this cease. By strictly controlling the material and only selling finished materials we can be sure that fair trade practices have been up-held through the entire process, from rough to finished jewelry. It is highly uncommon in the current state of this industry to find stones that can be traced through their entire process prior to their retail sale. All of the gemstones sold by Juniper Mountain Gem and Mineral are mined in a safe, healthy working environment by certified, seasoned miners with the utmost respect for the environment being of paramount concern.
Juniper Mountain Gem and Mineral may be new to the colored gemstone industry but it is that fresh approach that will be the beginning of a new, refreshed mining industry. Soon the days of exploitation of laborers will be a thing of the past. Fair wages and healthy working conditions will be the standard, and each and every gemstone sold at that point can be worn with true pride and an elite level of confidence in a fairly procured product. The world is changing in every facet and it is up to the new generations to steer the world in a way that benefits all mankind. We appreciate our opportunity to contribute to these changes for a brighter, more beautiful world.
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