One of the only places in the world where the public can search for natural diamonds in their original volcanic source, Crater of Diamonds is a one-of-a-kind experience that brings people from all over the world to Murfreesboro, Arkansas. Visitors to the park search a 37-acre field, the eroded surface of a volcanic crater, for a variety of rocks, minerals, and gemstones – and any rock or mineral you find is yours to keep. You may bring your own mining equipment to search with (no battery-operated or motor-driven mining tools allowed), or rent tools from the park.
LET THE SEARCH BEGIN
Your diamond search begins here, where you can prepare for your visit by learning about diamonds and how to search for them. There are 3 main ways to search for diamonds.
- Surface search – Walk around and look for something shiny.
- Surface Search Dig – Dig the first 2″ of dirt with a hand trowel or spade and sift with a large sifter into a fine sifter.
- Water Sifting – Wet the fine sifting in the provided stations
You can view real, uncut diamonds at the park’s visitor center and interact with exhibits illustrating the area’s unique history and geology. At the Diamond Discovery Center, you can learn more about rocks and minerals found at the park and how to search for diamonds using various techniques. Diamonds come in all colors of the rainbow: the three colors found here at the park are white, brown, and yellow. Amethyst, garnet, jasper, agate, quartz, and other rocks and minerals naturally occur here. Park staff provide positive identification of rocks and minerals found at the park, as well as diamond mining demonstrations and other interpretive programs.
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The cost for admission into the state park is only $10. Equipment is an additional fee based on the amount of equipment that you want. I went with a basic set which included: a 5-gallon bucket, spade, large sifter, fine sifter. This set was $57 upfront and once returned, I received $45 back. Making the rental actually only $12 for the entire day.
Other items that would be helpful to bring would be:
- Water to drink
- Old sweatpants/jeans
- Rubber boots
- Rubber or waterproof gloves
- Rubber apron, waders, or coveralls if doing water sifting
- A collapsable step stool to sit on
- Knee pads
- Trekking poles or something to assist in getting up and down
- Wagon (can be rented at the store as well)
- Earbuds to listen to music
- Lunch. Lots of picnic tables around
I spent more than 2 hours there and I left extremely dusty from head to toe, sore, and with nothing to show for it except a small piece of turquoise, a couple of neat agate-like rocks….and a dirty butt!!!
More than 33,100 diamonds have been found by park visitors since the Crater of Diamonds became an Arkansas state park in 1972. Notable diamonds found at the Crater include the 40.23-carat Uncle Sam, the largest diamond ever unearthed in the U.S.; the 16.37-carat Amarillo Starlight; the 15.33-carat Star of Arkansas; and the 8.52-carat Esperanza.
WHERE TO STAY
I stayed at Cowhide Cove (old part) which was located about 14 mins from the state park. The cost was $20/night for electricity and water. Paved entry all the way in. All back-in sites but not very level. Bathrooms are located here but no shower house. Right on a peninsula and great lake views.
There is a newer section campground which is really pretty hairy to get into. Steep, narrow road with hairpin turns. Showers are located at the newer section.
There is a campground at the state park which was super full and was under construction when I visited. So that made traffic more congested. There is also an RV park that is around 5 miles away called Murfesburro RV Park in Murfesburro, AR. The cost was $30 a night.