Have you ever wanted to dig for diamonds? If so, then the Crater of Diamonds State park is the place to start, as it is the only public access diamond-producing site in the world. That’s right, any diamonds you find here are all yours for the taking; it’s an all-you-can-dig diamond buffet. Be prepared, however, as you will be exploring over 37.5 acres of ancient eroded volcanic crater, the eighth biggest in the world. The site is Located in Pike County, Arkansas, near Murfreesboro and situated over a lamproite volcanic pipe that is over 95 million years old.
The ground bearing the diamonds is regularly plowed once a month which, alongside a little help from the weather, brings the diamonds to the surface of the soil and into the eager grasp of many diamond hunting adventurers.
Regardless of the value of the finds by visitors, the park maintains a strict finders’ keepers policy. There is a small entrance fee but children under the age of six may attend for free.
The park has a multitude of different gems and semi-precious stones waiting to be discovered. Not a single day goes by that a diamond is not discovered by a budding diamond hunter and since 1972 th over 29,000 diamonds have been dug up here. This year, 2017, a teenager, Kalel Langford discovered a 7.4 carat dark brown diamond, which he went on to name “Superman’s Diamond,” and it is valued at around half a million dollars.
The site was made into a state park in 1972. Before then, the site was used as a tourist attraction by the Arkansas Diamond Company and Ozark Diamond Mines Corporation, and diamond hunters have been making discoveries here since 1906. The first discovery of diamonds at this site were by John Huddleston, who was the owner of the property at the time; he the first person outside of South Africa to discover diamonds at their source in this manner.
One of the sites most famous discoveries was by Shirley Strawn in 1990. Shirley found an extremely rare and colorless diamond that is considered by experts to be completely flawless and was the first diamond from Arkansas to be graded perfect by the Geological Institute of America. This stunning diamond was named the Strawn Wagner Diamond after its founder and can be viewed at the Diamond Discovery Centre; the center also includes a diamond hunter Hall of Fame, where images of other valuable discoveries are kept. The park offers several other things to do aside from diamond hunting, such as nature walks, wildlife spotting, fishing, and dining.
It’s not just diamonds you can expect to find here, the park also boasts approximately 40 different types of mineral as well as a whole host of semi-precious rocks such as garnet, quartz, jasper, amethyst, and many more. The park staff will identify your find and provide you with a certificate free of charge. This truly is the shining jewel in the crown of the American tourist industry.