A couple of years ago, my friend Shannon wrote a blog about visiting a village near Tequisquiapan where the mine for fire opals is located. You can read Shannon's post back in 2013 by going to her blog on the sidebar under Rat Race Refugee.
While in Tequis in June, I remembered that, and at some point contacted her about where exactly this village was. It is NOT on a map. At least not on Guia Roja, the book we use for traveling in Mexico. But, Shannon's husband Todd, also a fellow blogger, gave me Google directions along with these instructions.
"Look for San Nicholas. Then a billboard that says Spa something or other. Then a Pemex station and do a retorno back to La Trinidad." Now with THREE landmarks to look for going about 50 MPH, we made it.
We made the retorno, turned at the sign for La Trinidad and went down the road that turned into a dirt field.
Hmmmm, something was not correct.
So heading back to the tienda for "mine tours", I rolled down the car window and said "Donde esta Senor, es casa para Sr. Hector Montes". He pointed down another road and off we went. And we went and went down this beautiful country road with boundary trees on one side and a field of corn on the other. Eventually we came to the village of La Trinidad. Pretty much in the middle of nowhere. In fact, when we left, we had to go back the way we came as there was no other way to get out.
But, it was all worth it for what all happened next.
We arrived at the home of Sr. Montes and I was relieved to know he was home and, as usual, oh so gracious. His wife led us back to his work space. He wanted to know if we wanted to see the process or the finished product. Since Shannon had said it was a lengthy process to take a rock, find the opal and then remove it, we asked to see the finished fire opals. It was interesting how small his work space is as seen in the photo below.
and other stones made into jewelry. Beautiful pieces with either 18 karat gold surrounds or sterling silver.
The young man told me he had lived near the University of Colorado for seven years. He crossed the border when he was 18 and worked as a carpenter. But, then, he wanted to come home and he did. Sr. and Sra Montes are his aunt and uncle. It is not unusual for men to go to make money but then, they come home to Mexico.
I asked him if he was happy to be back here and he said, "Oh yes".
If you ever want to take a back roads journey to La Trinidad, it's a fun day trip from Queretaro or San Miguel de Allende. It is in the State of Queretaro. It is also about 45 minutes from San Juan del Rio.