If you’re not afraid of getting a little dirt under your fingernails, a visit to Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas may yield a glittering gem that will put the Hope Diamond to shame. Crater of Diamonds State Park features a crater shaped by unique geologic conditions which produced a wealth of precious stones. For $10, visitors can spend the day digging for buried treasure and potentially walk away with a gemstone that is worth exponentially more than the modest price of admission.
The Crater of Diamonds is a volcanic crater which was formed over the course of millions of years. In the late 1800s, a geologist named John Branner suspected that there may be a cache of diamonds hidden somewhere in Arkansas because the state’s soil was almost identical to soil which was found in other diamond-rich regions. John Branner’s search for diamonds did not produce any results. In the early 1900s, a farmer with no formal education named John Wesley Huddleston stumbled upon a stone that glittered in the sun. That sparkling stone turned out to be a diamond that was worth a great deal of money.
Since Crater of Diamonds State Park’s inception in 1972, over 30,000 diamonds have been unearthed by attentive visitors. Visitors may also stumble upon other precious stones, such as amethysts and garnets. Crater of Diamonds State Park features a Diamond Discovery Center that helps potential diamond hunters spot unpolished diamonds in the wild. Crater of Diamonds park rangers are trained to help visitors identify any precious stones which may be discovered inside of the park.
Diamond hunting may sound like a glitzy endeavor, but it actually requires quite a bit of grit and elbow grease. Visitors are encouraged to wear waterproof shoes and old clothing. Most diamond hunters are caked in mud after a few hours of scanning the ground for rocks that sparkle in the sun. Visitors can bring in their own diamond hunting tools, or they can rent buckets and shovels.
Not every diamond hunter walks away with a precious gem, but numerous people who have spent a few hours digging around in Crater of Diamonds State Park have walked away with some impressive finds. The Strawn-Wagner Diamond—which is one of the most flawless diamonds ever discovered—and the enormous 40.23 carat Uncle Sam diamond were both discovered in the Crater of Diamonds. True romantics routinely scan the Crater of Diamonds for a sparkling diamond that can be mounted on a wedding or engagement ring.
Even if you don’t unearth a precious gemstone that is worth a great deal of money, Crater of Diamonds State Park still has plenty to offer. There are scenic walking trails and camping spots. During the warmer months, Diamond Springs Water Park is an excellent spot for overheated diamond diggers to cool off. Spending $10 to potentially stumble upon a precious gem that may be worth 6 figures certainly isn’t a bad way to spend an afternoon. It just might be your lucky day.
209 State Park Rd
Murfreesboro, Arkansas, 71958