By Waymon Cox
Greetings from the Crater of Diamonds! With freezing February temperatures, it’s hard to believe that spring is just over a month away. In the next few weeks, families from across the country will be planning spring break trips, and several will be visiting Crater of Diamonds State Park for a diamond mining adventure. For those who plan to visit the park this March and April, here are a few tips to help you make the most of your visit.
To get a jumpstart on your day at the Crater, plan to arrive early. The park opens at 8 a.m. and gets busy quickly during spring break. The earlier you arrive, the less time you’ll spend buying tickets and renting tools before beginning your diamond search. Be sure and see the diamonds on display in our visitor center and Diamond Discovery Center to get an idea of what you’ll be searching for.
If you arrive in Murfreesboro the day before you plan to search, consider making a preview visit to the park. Admission to the diamond search area purchased after 3 p.m. this time of year is also good for the following day. The search area closes at 4 p.m. daily, and many visitors spend this final hour familiarizing themselves with the field and deciding where they want to search the next day.
As we’ve experienced in the past couple weeks, temperatures can fluctuate greatly in just a few hours this time of year. 70 degree days are common in spring, but don’t be surprised by freezing weather and occasional snow flurries! Check the weather forecast before your visit, and pack the right clothes to be comfortable outside. Wear old shoes or rubber boots, especially if rain is in the mix. If you plan to wet sift for diamonds, wear thick rubber gloves to keep your hands dry and warm in cold water.
The park rents all of the necessary tools to search for diamonds, but you can also bring your own mining equipment. Even if you’ve never mined for diamonds before, you probably have a few tools at home that would work. Many visitors bring buckets, shovels, or small hand tools from home to help offset the cost of rental equipment; some even bring their own colanders or homemade screens to sift dirt and gravel! A fine, 1/16” screen mesh will catch most diamonds at the park, while allowing dirt to sift through.
Mining for diamonds at the Crater is a lot of fun, but did you know that you can continue your diamond searching experience at home? After sifting gravel at the park, keep it in a bucket or other container to take home and carefully search through later. To help conserve the park’s resources, unsifted dirt may not be removed from the Crater of Diamonds search area. However, the park allows each paid visitor to keep up to five gallons of sifted gravel, per day. Believe it or not, about half of all diamonds found by visitors are discovered in sifted gravel taken home from the park!
Our park staff is excited for beautiful, warm days this spring, and we look forward to meeting everyone who visits us in the next few weeks. I hope these tips will help make your time at the Crater of Diamonds a memorable one!
Search area last plowed: February 1, 2019
Most recent significant rain: February 7, 2019
Diamond finds for the weeks of January 20 & 27, 2019 (100 points = 1 carat):
January 20 – Avalanche Daigle, Rochester, NH, 33 pt. white
January 21 – Dave Rhodes, Hot Springs, AR, 12 pt. white, 91 pt. white; Jack Pearadin, Murfreesboro, AR, 4 pt. white
January 22 – Stuart Eden, Tulsa, OK, 12 pt. white
January 23 – Jack Pearadin, Murfreesboro, AR, 27 pt. brown; Troy McDuffie, Reserve, LA, 15 pt. brown, 18 pt. white
January 24 – Brian & Venus Hill, Murfreesboro, AR, 8 pt. white; Troy McDuffie, Reserve, LA, 8 pt. white
January 25 – Jack Pearadin, Murfreesboro, AR, 14 pt. yellow; Dave Rhodes, Hot Springs, AR, 7 pt. white
January 26 – Troy Savage, Antlers, OK, 4 pt. white, 4 pt. white
January 27 – Boning & Lei Zhang, Beijing, China, 11 pt. white
January 30 – David & Derek DeCook, Racine, MN, 35 pt. white
January 31 – Brian & Venus Hill, Murfreesboro, AR, 7 pt. white
February 1 – Jack Pearadin, Murfreesboro, AR, 12 pt. white
February 2 – Troy Savage, Antlers, OK, 8 pt. yellow– Sam Jones, Fayetteville, AR, 3 pt. yellow