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Diamonds Are NOT A Girl's Best Friend!

Crater of Diamonds State Park was a scenic hour drive west of Hot Springs, Arkansas. After deciding to sleep in, we missed the “how to mine for diamonds” class by 15 minutes. Oops. Probably should have attended so we would know how to utilize our rented equipment (tray, shovel, and 3.5 gallon bucket) and thereby increase our odds of finding a diamond! Side note: in 2016, there were 501 diamonds found here with only 161k visitors (better odds than the lottery!) and 17 of these diamonds were over one Carat. Largest diamond found in 2017 was 7.44 carats. Now, that’s what I was hoping for…a 7ct diamond!! Could you imagine? Eagerly, we took our mining equipment and hit the…open dirt field.

Time to work. Mining for diamonds was back breaking work. Filling the bucket with dirt (and fingers were crossed, diamonds!), and carrying it to the water trough became heavy after the 6th, 7th, and 8th time. But what a unique workout! We would then sift through the dirt utilizing two stacked trays, one with quarter inch holes, and the other with eighth inch holes. Shake, shake, shake, back and forth, back and forth, then flip, flip, flip, going forward and back, forward and back. Then one of us would take the top tray, looking for larger diamonds, while the other completed the same process with the bottom tray, which had the smaller holes. Once most of the dirt was gone and only diamonds (pleasssse!) and crystals remained, we would flip it onto the wooden table, hoping the diamonds and crystals were miraculously at the top (because we were professional diamond sifters and the sifting was supposed to cause the heavier rocks to shift to the middle on the bottom. So, by flipping the tray, the heavy items would then be on top and easy to find.).

After 5 hours of sifting through dirt and taking out what we hoped was diamonds (the average size seemed to be .19 of a carat, so, we were literally looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack), we took our finds to the Park Ranger to tell us if we found anything of value. Verdict: quartz, lots of jasper, and even more calamite, and one piece of lava, and…no diamonds. Super, sad moment. All of that hard work and nothing to show for it. Oh well. Guess I won’t be paying for my travels with a diamond found in the rough!

Caution: beware speeding RV’s throwing rocks at your windshield. Had to call USAA to send a guy out on Friday so they could fill the starburst. 

Ready to hit the road!


p.s. apologies for the photos; uploaded 99% of my phone photos to my external hard drive, then left it at the parentals (on purpose). Will be better on the next post...All about Iowa!


  1. Nice post! Very vivid description of the diamond-sifting process. I wonder how the piece of lava got there?


  2. Essay time:
    According to, "another change that happens when two plates push together is that through the stress, one plate must go below the other. The lower plate continues its journey down deep into the earth, where it becomes hotter and hotter, until the rock that makes up the plate becomes liquid, or molten, like lava. This process is what happened in Arkansas...About 100 million years ago, the continents finished the majority of their movement. But those last movements formed cracks in the earth's crust, allowing some of the hot magma from deep in the earth to escape. This is what happened here at the Crater of Diamonds. The volcanic event that occurred here pushed diamonds up with it."


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