Monthly News

What's Next for Dust Devil Mining's Oregon Sunstone Now That Don Buford Sold His Claim?

-- An American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) Article

"On January 20 this year, ownership of Dust Devil Mining, one of myriad active claims of Sunstone in Oregon, changed hands, with the new guard looking to do what past ones hadn't: elevate the status of the feldspar mineral in the gemological world...."

It's an end of an era... L. Allen Brown, owner of All That Glitters, has had the pleasure to know and work with Don Buford, the owner of the Dust Devil Mine outside of Plush, OR, for the past few decades. One was always welcome to visit the Dust Devil and it was always an experience and thrill to drive the dirt roads into the high deserts to this mining site.

It was at the Tucson Gem and Mineral show this year, that I saw Don in the hall of the convention center after a lecture (The Annual Gem Trend Report). Don was with another individual and it was at this time that I was introduced to Nicholas Johnson, the new owner of the Dust Devil Mine. This came as a shock, even though I had known that the Dust Devil had been for sale - just hadn't heard that there was a buyer and that it had been sold. (I could have been one of the first people in the trade that actually heard the news as the sale had occurred only a few days prior!) Actually, during my travels in Tucson at regular haunts, I hadn't seen Don or his wife Patsy at the places I had expected, and was slightly concerned - but due to covid in 2021 and the sale of property in 2022, my trips to Tucson for the gem show were canceled - breaking a decent record of attendance (have been going since about 1986) and it was possible that Don/Patsy might be elsewhere in the show or just not attending for some reason. However, all was indeed well!

I have been invited to continue my visits to the Dust Devil in the future by the new owner, Nick. I have always enjoyed being up in that area - the drive through parts of California, Nevada and Oregon is really beautiful and though some might not see the beauty in the high desert, there is a lot of life and beauty present if you only look closely - or even broadly! I have always considered the area beautiful, but would not want to be there in the winter. Besides natural beauty, peace and quiet, there is of course another major attraction for some - Sunstone!

Due to the fact that I am no longer wintering in Northern California, in foothills that begin their ascent to what are called the Sierra Nevadas, it will be more difficult to get out to that area of the country. The beautiful drive becomes a flight to Reno and then a drive of several hours to the area of Plush - a visit could still happen but it is less likely and requires more planning.

Good Luck to Don and Patsy Buford in their next adventure after leaving the Dust Devil behind - which has played a big part in their lives, and Welcome to Nick Johnson as he embarques on his journey and adventures at the Dust Devil and Sunstone Mining. There is plenty of Sunstone there, the problem is finding it and the fine quality material is always elusive and limited in quantity by nature. For those who do visit this area of the country, the roads and parking lots are paved with mine overburden with most of it containing Sunstone...similar to the roads under Grass Valley, California, where the roads were literally paved with gold. (Under the existing roads in Grass Valley, the original roads were filled/paved with overburden from the gold mines nearby - and that overburden contained gold.)

Many would also feel that there is gold in Oregon Sunstone too, as it is an interesting, multi-colored, naturally occurring gemstone in the United States, specifically one area only - Oregon. It is still a relatively inexpensive and under rated gemstone - but the clock is ticking and the finer material should continue to rise in value and desirability once the public knows more about this gemstone. Some might literally think that Sunstone contains gold as in many cases it literally looks like there is indeed gold specs within the Sunstone - Oregon is known for this phenomena, as some material may contain Copper Platelets called Schiller and a gold-like shine/glitter can be seen.

See an exceptional example of Oregon Sunstone Schiller, an almost 50ct whopper found at the Dust Devil years ago and carved by the well-known multi-award winning cutter/carver Dalan Hargrave - a winner in designs and cutting many times over, frequently creating his award winning 'gems' in Oregon Sunstone! He performed his magic on this piece of All That Glitters rough which is still proudly in the All That Glitters Collection. View this beauty on our Sunstone page - visit the Sunstone page in the left hand navigation column or go to the link below to our Monthly Special page where you will also find the link.
Note - what makes this particular gemstone unique is "not only the size", but it is ALL Schiller! And of course, having the best artist in the field carve it as he saw fit, is also a plus....

Good Luck Nick - as the weather improves and the snow melts, your first Sunstone season will begin.

A Heartfelt Thank You goes out to Don and Patsy Buford for their hospitality, knowledge and fond memories of my several visits to the Dust Devil.

Read More:   What's Next for Dust Devil Mining?

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