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.
Opal 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.
Access 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.
View down into a deep shaft of the Guacamaja mine
This type of mine is typical of the simple open-pit quarries in Queretaro. The walls can be up to 70m high.
Miners entering the active mining area
Tunnel leading to the next underground opal deposit