Mining for diamonds is probably a farfetched thought for most people. When it comes to diamond extraction, most of us probably associate miners with images of hot, sweaty men standing along the river banks of Africa under heavily guarded compounds.
Well, that kind of stereotype thinking is only true in certain parts of the world. In fact, the majority of modern mining is performed with sophisticated machinery and equipment. Now, did you know that you can actually try your hand in “diamond hunting” at Arkansas’s Crater of Diamond State Park?
That’s exactly what Michal Dettlaff and his family did when they visited the Arkansas’s famed state park while on a vacation. The 12 year old took a mere 10 minutes of ground searching when he discovered the honey brown rough lying in the surface of the soil.
Holding the 5.16 brown diamond – God’s Glory
Sounds too good to be true? Well, apparently it isn’t. Since the park’s opening, more than 70,000 diamonds had been found by lucky visitors. In fact, the God’s Glory diamond is the 328th stone that was discovered in 2013 alone. That’s an average of about 2 stones being discovered per day!
Throughout the 20th century, attempts had been made to commercialize mining at the park but failed to pull through. Upon more prospecting, it was found that the mine wasn’t viable for large scale mining because it wasn’t profitable. In 1972, the government officially purchased the land and turned it into a visitor’s attraction of what you see today.
Comparing the size of the brown rough to a coin
Based on experiences from visitors who found diamonds, there are 3 main searching methods which are usually employed.
1) Surface searching by walking or crawling on the soil.
2) Digging through the dirt and using a screen to sieve through potential diamond bearing ground.
3) Use of wet sluicing by utilizing two screens to sieve through dirt.
Most “pros” prefer to employ the wet method of sifting with screens in water as it is the most effective method of turning over loose rocks. However, this method is physically more challenging and requires more time to get the hang of it. Whichever method you plan to use, it’s all about having fun! And if it’s your lucky day, you might just find one the moment you step into the park.
Personally, the thought of finding a rough diamond definitely sure sounds exciting! The next time I travel to the States, I’m paying Arkansas a visit and packing along my pan and shovel in my luggage. Who knows, perhaps you might just see my photograph in the news with a huge shiny rock.