The Pala Chief Mine

© 2012 Oceanview Mines, LLC

Welcome to the Pala Chief Mine! Located in beautiful Pala, California the Pala Chief is one of the oldest gem mines in San Diego County, and is one of the only historic mines still being actively worked in the hunt for American gemstones. The deposits here were discovered in May 1903, and the mine produced large amounts of tourmaline, most of which was shipped to China for the carving trade. It was also the primary discovery site of the purple gem variety of spodumene known as kunzite, and the first true source of gem-quality kunzite. Significant quantities of kunizte were mined from the Pala Chief and much of it went to Tiffany's to be cut into fine gemstones. Even today, the kunzite from Chief Mountain is considered by many to be the finest in the world. Currently the mine is being assessed and updated with plans to fully develop it in the search for gemstones and mineral specimens for the collector.

The Pala Chief Mine is owned by Oceanview Mines, LLC and is not open to the general public except for special fee digs held in the cooler fall, winter and spring months. You can see what dates are open and sign up for a Pala Chief Dig by selecting the "Sign up to Dig!" item in the Pala Chief Digs drop-down menu. If you want to screen for gems, Oceanview Mines has a regular fee dig that allows the public to screen through the dump material from the Oceanview Mine. You can learn more about that fee dig at