Did you know that April’s birthstone is a diamond? Coincidentally, in 2022, Arkansas is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Crater of Diamonds State Park. On April 22-23, the park will celebrate with guest speakers, a Prospector’s Treasure Hunt, games, prizes, and a new exhibit commemorating the discovery of the 8.52-carat Esperanza Diamond. Although it’s only been a state park for 50 years, over 75,000 diamonds have been found since the first diamonds were discovered in 1906.
So, many of our guests ask, how do you find a diamond? We are certainly not experts, but we follow some experts who have found multiple diamonds, and here are some of their best tips:
What to wear: Pro tip: you’re going to get dirty! Wear clothes and shoes you don’t mind getting muddy. We recommend wearing rubber boots – even in the driest months, mud can be found – especially around the wash stations! Bring along a clean set of clothes to change into when you’re finished. The park does have some high powered water hoses located near the exit to wash off your equipment and shoes.
What to bring: Any serious diamond hunter will bring some basic equipment with them. A shovel for digging, screens for sifting the gravel, and a bucket to carry your gravel to the wash station. If you’re REALLY serious, each guest is allowed to take 5 gallons of sorted gravel out of the park. Equipment can be rented at the park and requires a security deposit, or you can avoid the rental and return lines by reserving our Dig for Diamonds package that includes admission for 2 along with a shovel, screens and bucket. We recommend bringing your own heavy-duty rubber gloves for washing gravel, and hats, sunscreen, and insect repellent in summer. Extra water and/or cold drinks is also recommended.
What to see: Enter the park through the Information Center and Gift Shop. This is where you will present your admission tickets. The Information Center has interactive exhibits explaining why diamonds exist in Arkansas, and some history of the Crater of Diamonds. Next, on your way to the diamond search field, you’ll pass through the Diamond Discovery Center. Here you’ll find pictures and exhibits with diamonds in the rough, as well as other minerals found at the Crater. The park offers a short “Mining 101” class with a park interpreter daily – check the times before you go. The discovery center is also where you’ll bring your finds back for identification by a park staff member, and – if you find a diamond, where it will be certified!
What to do: Now that you know what you’re looking for, it’s time to dig! The park is over 37 acres, so even on its busiest day, there’s plenty of room to explore. Unlike what many of us think of as a “mine”, the Crater is not underground. It is an open field that is periodically “plowed”, creating large rows. Many diamonds have been found by “surface searching”, or walking along the rows looking for a shiny object. This method has proven very successful after a hard rain, or just after the area has been plowed.
Other rockhounders prefer to dig for diamonds. The most important thing to remember when digging is that the first layer of dirt is usually not conducive to diamonds. Most gems will be found deeper down, once you start unearthing concentrated gravel. Once you’ve got a full bucket, take it to a wash station (there are several spread throughout the park). Pour some of your gravel into the largest screen, with the smaller ones underneath, and lower the screens into the water. “Sift” through the gravel until the dirt has washed away. At this point, you can “center” your screen, allowing the heaviest stones to center in the bottom. Then remove the screen from the water and flip it onto a dry, flat surface. Your “heavies” will now be at the top of your pile, and these are what you want to either search through or take home to sort later. Be sure to pull out any gems you want identified by the park staff!
It sounds so easy to find a diamond, doesn’t it? In the last few years, the Crater has averaged about 1 diamond find per day – and 2022 is currently on a pace to be much higher! We are so confident that one of our guests will find a diamond, we’re offering this challenge: Our first guest to find a diamond during their stay will win a free night at Tiffany’s Bed and Breakfast!
Even guests who have been unsuccessful at finding a diamond have come back with wonderful memories of an exciting adventure. If you’re ready to reserve your diamond digging adventure, click here to choose one of our fabulous rooms, add on our dig for diamonds package, and get ready to treasure your next getaway!