Endless talk of all things sparkly.

Gem Mining in Pala, California

The west coast was nothing but fun, especially getting a chance to head to the Oceanview Mine in Pala, California. Known for housing an abundance of tourmalines (pink, green, and the combination of both known as ‘watermelon’), aquamarines, kunzite, morganite, quartz crystals and many others. The mine was even featured on Travel Channel’s Cash & Treasures.


Getting there was tricky–many curvy dirt roads and even going outside of the navigation system range. We paid a fee to sift through a gigantic pile of tailings from the active mine. Tailings are all the “leftovers” from blasting inside the mine. We got downright dirty and super sweaty, shoveling all we could into our buckets and then sifting through it all, using the screens. Our day pass got us 4 hours of digging and a tour deep into the mine–450 feet into the Earth!


I actually got extremely lucky, and stumbled upon a large chunk of Kunzite–about the size of my palm. And it was only my second bucket full! One of the owners of the mine came around to help everyone out and help identify what had been found. He was amazed by the deep purple/pink color of what I had found and its size. He guessed it to be worth anywhere from $400-600! I couldn’t believe it! Check it out below!


Kunzite was actually first discovered in Pala, California in 1902. It is interesting to think that my chunk of kunzite had been in the Earth for millions of years until a few days ago when I found it! With that in mind, and having the feeling of how exciting it is to have found something so rare, I knew I wanted to keep it instead of trying to sell it. All that sweating and hard work definitely was worth it!


If you want to try your hand at gem mining or just want to do something different for a change, I strongly recommend the Oceanview mine. You just have to call ahead of time to make a reservation and get the directions. Mining reservations can only be made on Sundays or Thursdays, so make sure to check the website. Pala, California is just 50 minutes outside of San Diego. It is exciting because you never know what you’re going to find! I ended up walking away with a $600 Kunzite!!