A chance to earn your natural diamond...
What could possibly be better than finding the diamond of your dreams in a store? How about digging one out of the dirt yourself?😜 That’s right, Crater of Diamonds State Park gives visitors the opportunity to play prospector and dig up their own diamonds in America’s only active diamond mine!😎
Let’s talk about Crater of Diamonds State Park and why you should plan your visit today. We’ll even give you some tips on how to prepare for your mining journey through the park!
So why should you make a trip to Crater of Diamonds State Park? Here are a few reasons why this location is particularly unique:
Diamonds require very specific temperature and pressure conditions as well as millions or billions of years to form. This process isn’t easily replicated without complex lab technology, and so natural diamonds only form in a few remote places across the globe.
While diamonds can be found in multiple mines throughout Russia, Africa, Australia, and Canada, Crater of Diamonds State Park is the ONLY active diamond mine in the United States. There are actually two diamond mines in the U.S.—the other one is the Kelsey Lake Diamond Mine in Fort Collins, CO—but the diamond mine in Arkansas is the only one still active and accessible to the public.🎈
Most diamond mines are closed operations owned by private companies who utilize them to source diamonds for jewelry, industrial machinery, surgical equipment, and more. Therefore, Crater of Diamonds State Park is the ONLY diamond mine open to the public for the purpose of prospecting.
It’s hard to believe there’s a mine where you can bring your tools and go to work searching for your own sparkler, but that’s exactly what Crater of Diamonds State Park offers. In fact, about 60,000 people visit the spot annually!
The history of Crater of Diamonds far exceeds that of the state park itself, dating back to 1906. That year, John Wesley Huddleston discovered a couple of glittering stones among the dirt of his Pike County farmland. It turns out, his deeded land covered three-quarters of the entire crater, and it was a natural diamond deposit.
Huddleston’s find brought businesses and individuals alike to the area, and the farmer ended up selling his land for $36,000. While that doesn’t seem like much, that price would be almost $1 million today. Further known as “Diamond John” after his discovery, Huddleston sold his farm to Sam Reyburn and his group of investors, who eventually secured all but 6 acres of the crater for diamond mining operations.
Long before Huddleston found his first two gems, natural occurrences throughout our earth’s shift into its current state spurred the creation of diamonds in what is today known as Arkansas. During the formation of the continents as we know them today, the collision of South America with the North American continent churned the volcanic earth and created the conditions necessary to form the Crater of Diamonds.📝
The volcanic formations created by this jarring movement span about 80 acres, and the easternmost section of the area produces the most diamonds in the crater. Surface mining of the land continued until 1932, when diamond yield was not large enough to sustain commercial mining activities. Interested parties consulted with the U.S. Bureau of Mines throughout the 1940’s to see if mining efforts could be fruitful once more. However, testing proved the yield was too low to make a profit, and commercial efforts were discontinued indefinitely.
Despite the unfortunate end to commercial mining, the land still proved to be fruitful for the state. In 1972, the state of Arkansas purchased the land to create Crater of Diamonds State Park.
Unlike most state and national parks where the motto is typically “Look, but don’t touch”, this Arkansas diamond mine provides a hands-on experience for visitors. Located in Murfreesboro, AR, the park attracts people from around the world seeking a raw diamond of their own. 🎉As such, a total of 75,000 diamonds have been found at the Crater of Diamonds, and if you find it, you keep it!
Crater of Diamonds State Park has plenty of fun activities for all ages, including camping, fishing, hiking, and wildlife observation. However, diamond prospecting is definitely the most popular attraction!
Additionally, the park has specific business hours during which the field is open. You can visit the diamond mine between the hours of 8:00 am and 4:00 pm, but the visitor’s center is open for questions until 5:00 pm.
Planning a trip to Crater of Diamonds State Park? Here are a few ways you can make your stay more enjoyable and—possibly—profitable:😍
There are several ways to find diamonds at the park, so figure out which method you’ll be using and what tools are required.
Bring your own tools for digging up diamonds if you can! You can stick to surface screening, but you’ll most likely want to dig to increase your chances of finding a diamond. To do so, plan to bring shovels, trowels, buckets, and even sifting screens if you have them. Otherwise, you can rent all of these tools on site.
The diamond search field is a large, open space with no natural shade. As such, it’s important to check the weather to ensure you dress as needed! While Arkansas is technically a warm Southern state, you never know when it may rain or freeze during spring or fall!
Whether you choose to dig for an hour or a full day, make sure you dress appropriately. The field is often muddy, so wear shoes and clothing that you don’t mind getting dirty. On cooler days, wear extra layers and gloves so you don’t have to end your trip early. Or, if it’s a sunny day, wear a hat and sunglasses and reapply sunscreen frequently. Bug spray is also helpful for summer trips.
Most importantly, don’t forget to bring a change of clothes for a cozy ride home!
Digging in the dirt can increase your appetite! Pack plenty of water and healthy snacks, such as fruit, veggies, and protein or granola bars, to keep you energized throughout the day. Or, bring a picnic and take a break with the family to soak up some rays.🍔
For information on historic discoveries at the park and spots with the largest diamond finds, just follow the shovels! There are black shovels with signs throughout the 37-acre field that can tell you more about diamonds people found at the park. They can be fun to read when taking a break from all that digging and sifting!
While everyone wants to find a diamond, there are actually over 40 naturally occurring minerals and rocks within the soil of Crater of Diamonds State Park. You may be lucky enough to find jasper, quartz, amethyst, agate, calcite, lamproite, mica, and barite as well.
Realistically, only a couple of diamonds are found daily at the state park. Plus, most of them are only large enough to register as “points” and not “carats”. It takes 100 points to equal 1 carat, and most diamonds found at the park are much smaller at 5-40 points. However, there are larger stones out there, and you may just have to keep digging to find yours!
If you think you’ve found a diamond, you can bring it to the Diamond Discovery Center where park experts can help you identify it.
Visitors and miners alike have found sizable diamonds at Crater of Diamonds State Park! Here are a few notorious Arkansas diamond mine finds:
The largest stone to be found at the Crater of Diamonds, the Uncle Sam diamond is a whopping 40.23-carat stone. It’s actually the largest diamond found in the United States as well!🥇
Discovered by Wesley Oley Basham in 1924, the stone gets its name from Basham himself. Nicknamed “Uncle Sam”, he was a worker at the Arkansas Diamond Corporation.
Schenk and Van Haelen cut the diamond twice, remarking at its extreme hardness that made it tough to facet. The final cut, a 12.42-carat emerald cut diamond, sold for $150,000 in 1971—that’s about $880,000 today!
The Uncle Sam diamond is a Type IIa stone with VVS1 clarity and M color. Although this color rating typically denotes a faint yellow hue, the Uncle Sam stone has been described as white or light pink.
Although the Uncle Sam diamond is the largest find at the Crater of Diamonds, there are still plenty of notable stones found by visitors:
People find new gemstones at Crater of Diamonds State Park daily, and it’s amazing how often these larger specimens show up. In fact, about 1 in 5 diamonds found by visitors is located just on top of the soil!
In 2018, a 71-year old woman from Colorado found a 2.63-carat diamond just laying on the top layer of the search area. Additionally, as recently as 2020, an Arkansas native dug up a 4.49-carat canary yellow stone.
If you’re interested in researching recent finds at Crater of Diamonds State Park, take a look at their website where they list the date of the find, home state of the visitor, and weight and color of the diamond.
Whether you find an 8-carat stunner or a .5-carat gem, it can be incredibly fun to dig for your own diamond. Too often, people limit their gemstone exposure to staring at polished gems through storefronts and lit displays. It can even be humbling and exciting to do the “dirty work” of digging for a natural diamond, and knowing you labored to retrieve your stone makes it all the more precious!🏋🏻
If you’re looking for an inexpensive, fun vacation to take with family or friends this summer, consider Crater of Diamonds State Park for a one-of-a-kind adventure. It’s not every day you can say you found the diamond in your ring or necklace yourself, and you never know who will discover the next big diamond!