Mike had recently read an article online about Crater of Diamonds State Park being the only public lands in the world where you can mine for diamonds. Since it was only an hour and 15 minutes from our RV park in Hot Springs, we wanted to add it to our itinerary for sure. We figured even if we didn’t find any diamonds, it would be a unique experience.
We got to the small town of Murfreesboro, AR around noon. The State Park was easy to find because it’s just about the only thing in the town. After eating a quick packed lunch, we headed into the Visitors Center to check things out.
It’s $8 per adult to get into the park. You can bring your own equipment, but of course we don’t have any of that stuff in the RV, so we rented the tools from them. For $10 you can rent a Basic Diamond Hunting Kit which includes a folding shovel, a screen set, and a 3.5 gallon bucket.
The diamond mining area of the park is a big 37.5 acre plowed field. We grabbed our tools and got to work. I felt a little like one of the seven dwarfs on the way to the mine. Hi ho hi ho…
First, we walked around the field to pick a spot to dig. The idea is to find a spot that looks good and fill your bucket up with dirt. Experienced diamond miners probably know what makes a spot good, we just kind of guessed.
Then, you take your bucket of dirt to one of two wash stations where there are troughs of water for sifting the dirt.
Next, you stack your two screens, with the finer meshed screen on the bottom and put some of the dirt on the bigger meshed top screen. You put both screens in the water, washing the water back and forth over the screens to sift out the big clumps of dirt. Then you take off the bigger meshed top screen and do the same thing again with only the finer meshed screen.
When you have it sifted pretty good, you quickly flip the screen onto a table top. The diamonds and heavy rocks are supposed to be in center. Then, you look through the rocks and minerals for diamonds picking out anything that looks interesting. A tedious process for sure. To be honest, Mike did most of the hard work, while I mostly just took pictures and played in the dirt. 🙂
At the end of the day, after about three buckets of dirt, we brought our findings to a desk in the Visitors Center. The lady at the desk said a couple of half carat stones had been found that day, but we didn’t get that lucky. We didn’t find one diamond, just a bunch of quartz, mica, and jasper. It would have been cool to find one, but it was a gorgeous day to be outside and a fun and unique experience. If we were ever back in the area, we would try our luck again.