One of the difficult things about searching for diamonds is the fact the best way to find those sparkly gems is not obvious.
So, as in other things in life, a little knowledge can go a long way to save Crater of Diamonds State Park visitors time and energy and improve their chances of finding a diamond.
Several opportunities to gain that knowledge are offered at the park, according to Park Interpreter Margi Jenks.
“We give several demonstrations a day that each last about 20 minutes. During that time we try to tell our visitors what diamonds look like, what kind of material to look for that has half a chance of containing a diamond, and how to correctly do the three different search methods. We cover these same topics in a 7-minute video, which is located on the wall of the upper patio level of our Diamond Discovery Center,” said Jenks.
“Finally, if you don’t have time for the demonstration or video, we have a display and a brochure, Diamond Hunting Tips, which both go over some of the information about our three different search methods.”
The first thing to consider in choosing a search method is both your group circumstances and the circumstances at the park.
Everyone can and should surface search every step that they take and every second they are out on the search field. Surface searching is the easiest search method and requires no tools. You just walk along, looking for rounded pebbles that are extremely shiny. People using the surface searching method found all six of the over 2 carat diamonds registered in 2013. It is also the way that three of the four diamonds recently registered following a thunderstorm were found.
The circumstances at the park—if it has recently rained—will determine whether you choose the dry or wet sifting search method.
When the dirt in our search field is wet our volcanic mud is extremely sticky and will fill in all the holes in the 16-inch mesh box screen used for dry sifting.
However, if the search area dirt is dry, using the dry sifting method, a single box screen and a hand trowel is probably the best one for children under the ages of 10-12. Unless the child is tall for his or her age, the water troughs that we have at the washing pavilions for the wet sifting method are too tall for smaller children to reach.
Also, wet sifting is hard work, because it requires hauling the dirt to our washing pavilion. Then, it takes more muscle power to wash the dirt through the wet sifting double screen set. We demonstrate the correct ways to sift using either our dry sifting box screens or our wet sifting double screen set, so that you get the most out of your effort.
With either search method, one way of limiting the amount of energy you expend searching for diamonds is to not dig a hole. In most cases digging a hole is a waste of time and energy.
Instead, look for the gravelly areas between the rows or in the ditches and skim off the top half inch. This gravel and dirt will be easier to sift than the deeper clay, which is everywhere under the surface of the search field and will gum up any screens. Also, diamonds are more likely to be found as part of these gravels, because they are slightly heavy for their size.
Finally, the field is rough to walk on, so for anyone who has balance or other walking problems, they will want to be extra careful and either surface search or dry sift. The field is 37.5 acres, which is a large area to cover for small children, people with health conditions, or the very elderly. If any of those circumstances fit your visitor group, you will probably want to make sure that the field is dry when you visit and then choose the dry sifting method over the wet.
All of the equipment—dry sifting box screens and wet sifting double screen sets, as well as buckets and GI or long handled shovels—is available for rent at the Diamond Discovery Center’s tool rental desk. But, you can also bring buckets, shovels, sifting screens, and other tools from home, as long as they are not motorized or battery driven.
Crater of Diamonds State Park
Crater of Diamonds State Park is one of the 52 state parks administered by the State Parks Division of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism.
Search area last plowed: Canary Hill only, last week; Most recent significant rainstorms: Friday, March 28, 2014
Total diamonds found in 2013: 368
Operating Hours: Visitor Center/Diamond Discovery Center is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m., extended summer hours
Admission: Adults $8.00, children ages 6-12, $5
Location: From Murfreesboro, take Arkansas 301 and go 2.5 miles southwest to the park
Address: 209 State Park Road, Murfreesboro, AR 71958
Phone: (870) 285-3113
Angels are like diamonds. They can’t be made, you have to find them. Each one is unique.