The pictures in the following presentation are © 1995 J. Wolf Kuehn and cannot be retrieved by any means.

I want to take this opportunity to thank the staff of Lapidaria Ramirez in Queretaro, Mexico for helping me with this project.

[ Access to the Opal Mine ] [ Workers in the Mine ] [ Selection of Mexican Opal ]
[ Beautiful Opal Specimen ] [ Unique Mexican Opals ] [ Scenery around Queretaro ]

19Opal mining area with mine tailings near Queretaro, Mexico. The principal productive area today is in the vicinity of the Iris mine. The mines probably were used already by the Aztecs; one Mexican opal called the "Aztec Sun God" was part of the famous Hope collection (which also contained the Hope diamond) was sold in 1886 and became part of the Tiffany gem collection. The area is reached from Queretaro travelling first 30 km back toward Mexico City and then east on Highway 120 toward Cadereyta for about 6 km.

20Access by dirt-road; the area is a semi-arid climate zone with numerous cactus plants. The weather is always warm, even in winter it rarely drops below 10 degrees, and the plants and flowers are quite spectacular.

27View down into a deep shaft of the Guacamaja mine

18This type of mine is typical of the simple open-pit quarries in Queretaro. The walls can be up to 70m high.

29Miners entering the active mining area

22Tunnel leading to the next underground opal deposit