DominionGems Pirate Flag gif

Dominion Gems - Watertown, South Dakota

(605) 880-1843

*By Appointment Only*

  • Dominion Gems on Facebook
  • Dominion Gems on Instagram
  • Dominion Gems on Youtube
  • Twitter Social Icon
  • LinkedIn Social Icon

All content © 2015 to present by DOMINION GEMS, CHRISTOPHER WENTZELL & WILLIAM PINNA,  All rights reserved.  Any reproduction, storing or transmittal prohibited without prior express written permission.  The information and services provided on this website are done so with the understanding that DOMINION GEMS, its owner/s and agents, are not engaged in rendering any legal, accounting, or investment services.  If legal advice or assistance is required or desired, the services of a competent licensed attorney or other appropriate professional should be sought.  Offers for services are void where prohibited by law.  By visiting and/or using this website, you agree to our terms of use, privacy policy, and sales terms/return policy.  Thanks for visiting!  DOMINION GEMS, specializing in Virgin Valley Nevada Opal & Mines, and fine mineral specimens for sale.


Website designed by: Christopher Wentzell/Dominion Gem Exploration.




We have opal mining claims for sale in Virgin Valley, Nevada.  If you are considering the lease or purchase of an opal mining claim in Virgin Valley, Nevada, you should learn all the details.  READ THIS GUIDE (CLICK HERE FOR LINK) for further information. 

  • We have some newly staked opal mining claims in Virgin Valley available for sale, they are not publicly listed yet to prevent claimjumping / backdating.  They are being recorded and once they are safe we will list them below.  In the meantime, Contact Us if you want a good claim.   We have claims ranging in price from $850.- to $50,000.- and up.

  • New mining claims can be located for you starting at $700 or less, in-season while we are in the valley;

  • New Millsites can be located for you starting at $500 or less, in-season while we are in the valley;

  • We offer assessment work services, claim evaluation, mining claim staking, watchmen, and other services.




Virgin Valley, Nevada: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW!


There are a number of things to research before buying a mining claim in Virgin Valley, and many factors affecting claim rights, and the type and amount of opal you will find on your own claim.  There are now a number of unscrupulous people online just staking & selling claims near where existing deposits are, but don't actually have anything on them.  YOU MUST DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH to determine the real from the fake!  Older claims or claims which have been continually held and restaked for decades are a good indicator that there is something there, but always check out the deposit BEFORE buying!  Bidding on a newly staked claim just to be offered on Ebay will likely land you with a piece of ground that is worthless: there is one seller there that just stakes claims to sell.  A few have potential.  However, we have seen claims sold where there are no minerals and/or not on the right formation to produce what the seller was "claiming" was there....   Do your homework and you should be ok. 


          Please keep in mind that real gemstone mining properties are not cheap and do come with a significant price tag.  Unless the seller is desperate to sell and needs money quick for whatever reason, don't expect to get a gemstone (or even a gold) claim cheap!   Simply put, don't expect to get a producing precious opal claim for less than $25,000., regardless of what anyone in the Valley tells you.    Productive black opal claims generally start at $50,000.- and can reach over $100,000.- per claim.  The best proven unpatented black precious opal claims will cost $200k to $300k each.  Don't be fooled, nobody in their right mind will sell you a claim that has quality gem opal coming out for less than it's worth unless they are desperate and need money fast.  A number of claims have exaggerated asking prices.  How much overburden overlies the opal zone?  Opal Negra Mine is being offered by the claim owner for $200k but there is ALOT of overburden to deal with and it might not be as economical to work as some of the larger proven mines (Don't get me wrong, there is some nice opal there).  You need to evaluate all of the factors in buying a claim.  Why sell?  Sometimes life does throw curveballs at miners (and everyone else) and you might find a desperate seller needing money.  Again, investigate the claim, see it in person.  Test dig it.  What has come out?  How much overburden has to be removed?  Has the claim been surveyed by a professional mineral examiner and reported, or is it just the claim owner's words?  There might be auctions on ebay for gem claims, or gem claims offered on other websites starting at a  few thousand dollars to 15k or so, etc., but BUYER BEWARE of any mining claim pricing that is  not realistic.


          Common opal (without play-of-color, called "fire" by some incorrectly) is just that, COMMON, and found all over the valley.  If you are going to buy a PRECIOUS opal claim, then you need to see proof of precious opal YOURSELF IN PERSON on the claim in the bank and dig some yourself.  If someone offers to sell you a producing precious opal claim for less, they should be able to take you to the claim and dig for several hours or days with a pick or heavy equipment until "fire" or "play-of-color" (precious opal) is uncovered to prove that PRECIOUS (not just common) opal is coming out of the claim.  Beware of salted claims where opal has been "sprinkled" about the diggings, placed in the wall/bank, or thrown out in the tailings to fool you.   Take into consideration what the fee digs charge for one days worth of digging- in 2015, it was $600.- per day for one dozer load scoop at the Rainbow Ridge Mine, or $190.- to dig in the bank at the Royal Peacock.  These fee digs are great if you don't want to own & work your own claim....  Many claim owners also go to the fee digs several times a year....  but do keep in mind the prices charged per day.  That puts into perspective the price of a real gemstone mine's value and selling price.  If the asking price could buy you a house, will the claim produce enough revenue to buy you a house in 10-20 years or less?  Will it produce enough revenue to pay the monthly bills?  The following should guide you in regards to an opal LODE mining claim purchase in Virgin Valley:


  • Barren claim, possible opal from indicators, starting at $1,000.- to $2,500.-

  • Common opal found on claim, starting at $2,500.- to $3,500.-

  • Claim where precious opal has been found in past but not showing currently, little to no development, $3,500.- to $7,000.- maximum.

  • The "grey" area, $7,000.- to $40,000.-

  • Claim where precious opal is showing consistent (but no black opal), minor workings/ development $40,000.- to $75,000.-

  • Claim where precious opal is showing consistent (incl. black opal), bulldozed workings/development, $75,000.- to $200,000.+

  • World-class deposits where precious black & other opal is consistent, with workings, and ore reserves, will start at $225,000.+ and are open ended on the upper price range, and can run into the millions.  These rarely become available, if ever.  There are only a handful of these claims in the valley (about 12 mines) that would fit in this category and all but 4 are patented.  The "Swordfish" Group does NOT fall in this category.  

  • Patented claims generally start at $250,000.- or more, to over $6 Million, they RARELY are available for sale, if ever.  There are ONLY 5 patented mines in Virgin Valley: Rainbow Ridge, Bonanza, Royal Peacock, Reed's, & Birdlebough's.  The Rainbow Ridge patents excluded known lodes.  DON'T BUY A PLACER CLAIM for in-place opal bearing deposits as you will gain no rights to it.

  • There are many factors which determine an opal claims value and price, such as current and past production;  types of opal;  road access; development; improvements; access to water, power & electric; amount of overburden above lode; amount of opal bearing deposit left to be mined at a profit; proven producers or patented claims adjoining, nearby or on same lode trend; history and provenance of the claim, etc.



          Beware of scams.  Is the claim properly located and recorded as well as maintained?  Is it properly located as a lode? (You CANNOT get lode rights from a placer claim on an in-place opal bearing deposit!!!).  Is someone claiming an old lost tunnel or buried deposit with enough opal they can open a fee dig and retire?  Why haven't they? Are they claiming this but only showing opals from  other  fee dig mines?  Why would they go to pay and dig opal at another mine but not expose the so-called extremely rich buried deposit on  their own mine?  If you look hard enough you will see who the scammer is.  One individual in the Denio/Virgin Valley area (who sells illegal mining tours, digs and showings, as well as guiding on blm lands without a federal permit or insurance) hates us for exposing the truth and his scams at making money off you illegally.  If it sounds "FISHY" it probably is.  With the  exception of the patented fee digs in Virgin Valley (Rainbow Ridge, Royal Peacock, Bonanza Mines) IT IS ILLEGAL FOR ANYONE TO CHARGE YOU A FEE ON BLM / USFWS lands without a permit and insurance!!!  ASK TO SEE THE PERMIT AND INSURANCE OF ANYONE DOING THIS!  Nobody should charge a "fee" to show you, or to test dig a claim, or to "answer your questions" about a claim you are interested in buying.  Thats BS!.  If you are going to spend your hard-earned money, anyone selling a claim should SHOW AND PROVE IT TO YOU at no charge, and then you can decide to buy or not to buy at that point.   A $200.- per day fee to "answer questions" or give you a "tour" or "claims showing" is unreasonable to cover the simple expenses of gas and time, not to mention the fact that in such a scenario you are simply paying to see something you're already interested in buying.  When you go into a store, do you pay to look at something before you buy it, and then pay for the item too?  That's highly unreasonable and unethical.   Paying someone for a meal and a quarter tank of gas to go there and back might be reasonable, but $200.- is NOT reasonable.  It's also AGAINST THE LAW to charge a fee on federal public lands, so you'd be paying someone to take advantage of you and make money off you illegally.  I shouldn't have to say this but this activity really rubs me the wrong way, especially when the main person doing it has been digging on and stealing from my father's claims!  Yes, this means you JOHN CHURCH dba SWORDFISH MINING! (CLICK HERE FOR THE PROOF!).    First and most importantly.....there is only one reason a citizen can stake and hold a mining claim and that is for mining purposes only!   No matter how it's laid out, charging a fee to dig or be present for lessons  or geology tours etc., of any kind on an UNpatented mining claim clearly is not a valid mining activity.  Mining is a profit business venture to extract something from the earth.... not other people!  Claims have been invalidated/voided for charging a fee to dig or prospect, and this has been upheld by the IBLA.   


 WE CAN SHOW YOU ANY CLAIM WE OFFER, DURING THE SUMMER MONTHS, AT NO COST TO YOU except what you pay for your travel/etc out here.  We won't charge you one penny to show you a claim that we advertise for sale if you are interested.  We won't charge you a fee to answer your questions either.  Period.  We can also discuss anyone elses offer of claims or mines for sale in the valley.  

          If you're serious about getting an opal mining claim in Virgin Valley, we offer the highest grade of claims available.  There are a few opal mining claims for sale in Nevada's Virgin Valley that we have permission to show for the owner.   We do not own these and all dealings will be between the owner and you after we show you the claim/s.  These are precious opal gemstone claims and they are properly located as lodes for the in-place opal-bearing deposit.  I sold the Rincon Belle Extn lode (bordering west side of Rainbow Ridge fee dig) and the old  famous Greenfire Opal Mine.  I still have one of the best claims to ever come available in the valley FOR SALE- the upper Opal Queen #1 and#2M claims, bordering Bonanza.  I also have some other claims and millsites for sale.   All claims were properly researched, located and staked, recorded and maintained in accordance with all state and federal laws.  All claims have dirt road access onto them and to the diggings.  We can also stake new claims for you and from time to time we stake new claims on good deposits that become available if the owner defaults.  We can also stake a millsite for you and in some areas ground is available at/near powerlines.  Due to the nature of claimjumpers and thieves (one in particular in the area) we do not put everything here on the website so contact us if you have a serious interest in getting your own opal mine.   




***During the Summer months (May thru October 25th) you can make an appointment to see any claim we are offering for sale in Virgin Valley, just CLICK HERE TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT.


  The purpose of this paragraph is to provide you with some basic information about what a mining claim is, and what you can and cannot do with a mining claim.   A mining claim is a parcel of land which is valuable for the mineral deposit therein.  When you locate or purchase an unpatented mining claim, you do not get the rights to the land-- what you get is the right to the mineral deposit covered by the claim and the right to own, access, develop, and extract that mineral deposit.  There are different types of mining claims (Lode, Placer, Tunnel Site, and Millsite) and the rights involved with each varies.  You cannot  get lode rights by locating/acquiring a placer claim.  Millsites must be located on non-mineral ground and are used for processing activities related to the minerals.  You cannot use a mining claim for activities which are not related to mining.  Mining Claims can be sold, willed, inherited or transferred.  A good general reference on mining claims is the online booklet published by the US Dept of the Interior/BLM entitled "MINING CLAIMS AND SITES ON FEDERAL LAND" (Click on the title for link to open to book on BLM website). This is a great introduction to mining claims.  Another excellent reference is: Papke, K., & David, D. (2002)  Mining Claim Procedures for Nevada Prospectors and Miners.  Special Publication 6.  5th Edition.  Nevada Bureau of Mines & Geology, Mackay School of Mines, University of Nevada, Reno.  CLICK HERE FOR LINK to PDF on ICMJ.

The publications below are good general basic references on mining claims (when clicked they will open as PDF documents):

Screenshot (2684)_edited.png
Screenshot (2685)_edited.png