Professional Diggers

Episode 03 · December 24th, 2018 · 1 hr 8 mins

About this Episode

Friends of Minerals Forum

Recorded live at the 2018 Fine Mineral Show: Denver, Gail and Jim sit down with Krystle Dorris-Dinkel, Rick Kennedy, Tom Praszkier, Jeff Swanger, Rod Tyson and James Zigras to get a snapshot of the perspectives of some of the biggest Professional Diggers out there in the field.

These are the people who spend their lives running the mining operations that bring us all the great material that we all love. Most often, these people are passionate collectors too and, believe it or not, they are NICE people. Listen to the episode to get a better idea of some of the problems they face and just get to know them better.

The next time you're at a show and you see one of these people, go up and introduce yourself to them and tell them that you heard them right here on Breakfast With Minerals.

And remember, if you have an idea on a topic you'd like to hear addressed on future episodes of Breakfast With Minerals, drop us a line at: [email protected]


7:58:04 - The Big Kahuna Pocket - Jeff Swanger
The pocket that Jeff is referring to is the Big Kahuna Pocket - one of the biggest and most prolific pockets ever to be discovered at the OceanView Mine. This pocket was discovered in <2011> and ended up producing about 1 ton of gem material and specimens. The primary minerals found were Kunzite and Tourmaline.

14:10:12 - Hallelujah Junction - Rick Kennedy
One of the world's premiere spots for finding amethyst scepters is Hallelujah Junction on Peterson Mountain just on the border of California and Nevada. About 40 minutes from downtown Reno, Rick and his partners always have some great finds from this classic locale.\

20:29:17 - The Prospectors television show - Jim Spann
The Prospectors was a television show that aired on the Weather Channel from 2013 to 2016. The show followed different Colorado mining families around as they dug in the mountains in search of mineral treasures. The Dorris family - Joe (father), Tim (brother) and Krystle were one of the families the show highlighted.

22:08:11 - Avant Mining - James Zigras
Avant Mining operates out of the Blue Springs area of Arkansas - less than 20 miles away from Hot Springs, AR. Since 2014, Avant Mining has produced some of the finest quartz specimens ever seen.

23:38:12 - The American Museum - James Zigras
The Henry Frank Guggenheim Hall of Minerals and the Morgan Memorial Hall of Gems at the American Museum in Manhattan are both undergoing major renovations and are scheduled to reopen in the Fall of 2019.
Henry Frank Guggenheim Hall of Minerals

Morgan Memorial Hall of Gems

25:10:19 - The Rogerley Mine - Tom Praszkier
The Rogerley Mine in Northern England is one of the most famous Fluorite mines in Europe. Now operated by Crystal Classics out of the U.K. Crystal Classics President, Ian Bruce, was one of our guests in Breakfast With Minerals - Episode 2.

32:56:04 - Hallelujah Junction - Rick Kennedy\

33:18:15 - HJ Fee Dig - Rick Kennedy
Rick Kennedy has set up a Pay-To-Dig site operation on his claim at Hallelujah Junction. If you'd like to visit it, contact Rick Kennedy directly at the following email address:[email protected]

33:33:21 - Jacksons Crossroads - Rick Kennedy
The finest amethyst specimens to come out of the United States of America undoubtedly is from Jackson's Crossroads in Wilkes County, Georgia.

35:24:19 - Topaz Mountain Gem Mine - Krystle Dorris-Dinkel
In addition to owning and running the Smoky Hawk Claim that produces the world's most stunning Amazonite and Smoky Quartz specimens, the Dorris family also own the Topaz Mountain Gem Mine claim in Park County, Colorado. Collecting is STRICTLY PROHIBITED unless you have permission from the Dorris family. If you'd like to visit, contact them through this link:

37:49:20 - OceanView Pay-To-Dig site - Jeff Swanger
In addition to operating the last producing gem mine in the Pala region of north San Diego County, California, Jeff Swanger also has a Fee Dig operation where you can make a reservation to visit and find your own gems.

41:14:07 - Hamilton Hill Mine - James Zigras
Begun shortly after the end of the American Civil War, Hamilton Hill Mine is one of the oldest crystal mines in Arkansas.

46:58:22 - UK Mining Ventures - Tom Praszkier
Formerly owned and run by Cal Graeber and Jesse Fisher (of California), UK Mining Venture is now wholly owned by Ian and Diana Bruce of Crystal Classics in the UK.
On FaceBook:

55:04:13 - Society Girl Mine in British Columbia, Canada for Pyromorphites - Rod Tyson

56:25:13 - Victoria Island - Hematite - Rod Tyson
Classic locality for Hematite in Hadley Bay, Northwest Territory, Canada.

58:24:17 - Baffin Island - Pyrite - Rod Tyson
The Nanisivik Mine on Baffin Island in Nunavut, Canada has produced some incredible pyrite specimens.

58:15:19 - Smithsoniana Museum - Rod Tyson
America's National Museum in Washington D.C. Home of the Hope Diamond and an incredible collection of mineral specimens from around the world. Including, "The Candelabra" - one of the classic and best known specimens of bluecap tourmalines from the Queen Mine.

58:18:12 - ROM Museum - Rod Tyson
The Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The largest museum in all of Canada and home of an exceptional collection of fine mineral specimens.

1:02:02:21 - Sudbury District, Ontario, Canada - Sperrylites - Jim Spann

1:04:42:02 - The Miner’s Inn - Jeff Swanger
In addition to running the OceanView Mine, the Pala Chief Mine AND his Pay-To-Dig site, Swanger also runs a B&B located onsite at the OceanView called the Miner's Inn. This is available for anyone wanting to spend an explore the area.

If you're interested in Sponsoring future episodes of Breakfast With Minerals, please contact Bryan Swoboda at [email protected]