Crater of Diamonds is a 37-acre field in Murfreesburo, AR. It's the eighth largest diamond reserve in the world. Diamonds were first discovered on this eroded volcanic pipe in 1906 by, then owner, John Huddleston. Since that time, over 75,000 diamonds have been found there.
Since 1906 the mine has changed hands many times. In 1952, it was opened by private interests as a tourist attraction. In 1972, it was purchased by the State for development as a state park.
Does anyone actually find anything?
You might get really lucky! The largest diamond found in the United States (over 40 carats) was found in this very field. According to The Parks Service, over 22,000 people have actually found gems (including diamonds, amethyst, agate, jasper, quartz and many others) on a visit to the park. An average of more than 600 diamonds are found each year in the Crater of Diamonds. So yes people do find many gems.
Aside from diamonds and non-precious gems, you can also found all sorts of cool rocks. If your kids like collecting rocks, this is the place to take them. The volcanic rock found at the crater is very similar to river rock, as it's totally smooth, but it comes all sorts of fun shapes and colors.
What kind of tools do I need?
The most helpful tools are a hand spade, a bucket and a sifting screen. You can get as elaborate as you want.
The field is plowed monthly. Most people grab a bucket of loose dirt and bring it to sift at the on-site water stations. Each pavilion contains tubs of water, benches and tables where hunters can process the ore they unearth. If you don't want to sift the plowed dirt, you can dig deep holes almost anywhere you want in the huge 37 acre field.
Visitors are allowed to bring their own tools or they can be rented on site for a small fee. Allowed tools are shovels, garden rakes, buckets, etc. No motorized equipment is allowed.
The Parks Service says that there are three main methods to find diamonds. Those include dry sifting, wet sifting and surface hunting. Instructional brochures can be obtained at the Visitor's Center.
Does the park have facilities?
There are 50 campsites at the park. You can also picnic, have lunch at the cafe or stop at the gift shop. The interesting visitor's Center has several programs and interpretive exhibits. A water park and restaurant are open seasonally.
What should I look for in a rough diamond? What I do if I think I found one? Rough diamonds don't look like those you'll find in a jewelry store so don't toss that stone. A diamond weighing several carats may be no larger than a marble so keep your eyes open for small well rounded crystals. Diamonds have an oily, slick outer surface that dirt will not adhere to so look for clean crystals. Most diamonds found at the crater are yellow, clear white or brown. Just because it doesn't sparkle like a cut diamond doesn't mean it isn't a diamond. Even the "cloudy" diamonds can be worth a great deal.
If you even have an inkling that what you found is a diamond, hold onto it. Bring it with you to visitor's center and have them check it out. They will weigh and certify your stone for free. Don't feel too stupid to ask. You never know. They get lots of people every day who think they have diamonds. Don't feel self-conscious about it. They won't laugh if you're wrong and if you're right, wow!
When can I go? Where is it? Do I have to pay to get in?
The diamond search area is open daily year-round except for New Year's Day, Thanksgiving Day and noon Christmas Eve through Christmas Day.
The park is open from 8:00 - 5:00 p.m. daily, except from May 28 to August 14 they are open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
The park is two miles southeast of Murfreesboro on Ark. 301. It costs $7 to get in. Children under 6 get in free and they have discounted group rates. Call (870) 285-3113 for more info.