Crater of Diamonds State Park is a popular attraction in Arkansas because it has a lot of diamonds and a finders keepers policy. You can find valuable diamonds at the state park in addition to other beautiful gems like amethysts and garnet.

The field where you can go gem hunting is 37 1/2-acres large, giving you plenty of space for finding gems. You can either rent equipment at the state park or bring your own. Increase your chances of finding gems by implementing the following Crater of Diamonds State Park tips.

1. Try Planning Your Trip During Spring, Summer, or Autumn

This may very well be the most important of all Crater of Diamonds State Park tips, and here’s why. Employees plow the field at the state park on a monthly basis, except for during the winter. When they plow the field, more diamonds rise to the surface. Therefore, you’ll have a higher chance at finding gems during the spring, summer, and autumn. The state park doesn’t inform visitors of when they’ll plow the field. It’s kept a secret when they plow, so don’t worry about the specific date you choose.

Crater of Diamonds State Park is also closed during major holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Check beforehand that they’ll be open on the day you want to visit. Also be aware that their hours sometimes change with the seasons.

2. Use the Right Tools for Gem Hunting

Several tools that are good for gem hunting are flowerbed trowels, plastic buckets, full-sized shovels, and sifting screens. Crater of Diamonds State Park allows you to bring your own tools, but you have the option of renting tools from them too. If you don’t want to haul a large shovel with you, consider renting one from the state park. It’s only $10 to rent a basic diamond hunting kit that includes a folding shovel, bucket, and screen set. For those who prefer bringing their own tools, you can buy a folding shovel for greater ease of transport.

diamond sifting screen

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3. Wear the Right Clothing

You should wear comfortable clothing that you don’t mind getting dirty. Remember you’ll be digging through dirt the whole day. An accessory you should bring that many people forget about is knee pads. You will be able to search longer for gems when you protect your knees with knee pads. The state park rents out knee pads for $4 per day. Also bring boots with you to the park in case it has rained recently. Sorting through mud in tennis shoes isn’t comfortable.

4. Look at Pictures of Diamonds in the Rough

An unusual entry on our Crater of Diamonds State Park tips list is to know what to look for. Diamonds look different when they’re found in the ground, so you should look at pictures of diamonds in the rough to know what you’re looking for. In Arkansas, diamonds are brown, yellow, or white. You can usually see into them but not entirely through them. They are commonly smooth and well-rounded too. Despite being found in the ground, diamonds aren’t dirty. Their oily film protects them from dirt.

Most diamonds are small as well. A one carat diamond is around the size of a green pea. Diamonds in the rough also have a metallic luster, rather than a solid dull. If you’ve found any diamonds, Crater of Diamonds State Park will identify and certify them for you at the Diamond Discovery Center free of charge. Even if you’re only interested in finding diamonds at the park, keep any gems you find in case they are diamonds or another valuable stone.

raw diamond

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5. Choose the Right Technique

The last of the Crater of Diamonds State Park tips would be to choose the perfect method for gem sifting. Here are the most effective techniques:

Surface Search

Surface searching is a good technique for gem hunting. To surface search, walk around and examine the ground for gems. You’ll sometimes find them at the surface of the soil. Surface searching is often most lucrative after a hard rain because it washes away soil, revealing more gems at the top.

It’s possible to find diamonds using the surface search method. Their smooth, slick exterior makes them more noticeable. You can walk along each plowed row to surface search or sit down to inspect small areas. Use tweezers or a pocket knife to easily pick up gems and minerals. While surface searching, you can also use a hand trowel to swipe away gravel in low lying areas to expose more gems.

Dry Sifting

Dry sifting is another method you can use to hunt for gems, but it can only be done when the soil is dry. Use a hand trowel to scoop two to three piles of dirt into a mesh box screen. Then, sift the dirt in the screen to reveal gems. Diamonds are easy to spot during dry sifting because of their metallic shine and smooth, rounded surface. Sift dirt over the same area to avoid sifting dirt that has already been looked through.

Wet Sifting

The last of our Crater of Diamonds State Park tips and one of the quickest ways to go through the dirt searching for gems is wet shifting. You’ll need to shovel dirt into a bucket, then wet shift it in water with a double screen set at the washing pavilion. The best areas for collecting dirt to wet sift are low areas with heavy gravel. You can find diamonds near small, heavy rocks and minerals. These areas are good for collecting dirt to wet sift through. When you wet sift, make sure the large mesh screen is set on top of the small mesh screen. You should also pile dirt into the top wet screen; don’t place it in between the screens.

While holding the screen set together, shake it in the water. Set the screen aside to dry. Once it’s dry, look through the gravel for gems. You can use the smaller screen to wet sift the finer gravel. Rock the sides of the screen and then turn it to rock again. This process causes gravel to gather in the center. Tap the screen in the water after a few repetitions to spread the gravel into a flat, even layer. Flip the screen upside down on a table to cause the heaviest gravel to appear on top of the pile. This makes it easier to find the gems.

Summing Up

Crater of Diamonds State Park is one of the best places to go gem hunting. They have an abundance of diamonds and let visitors keep any gem they find regardless of how valuable it is. If you want to return home with a nice assortment of gems, follow the Crater of Diamonds State Park tips listed above. It’s not guaranteed that you’ll find a diamond, but you’re more likely to when you know how to effectively hunt for gems.

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