Crater of Diamonds State Park is the entire reason we decided to go to Arkansas in the first place. Devin had heard about it on a radio talk-show and basically decided we had to go as soon as possible. Devin is an extremely lucky guy (he won a Camero in our hometown) so it was a chance we knew we had to take in case we could come up with something.
The park is insanely cool. Basically it's a giant mine field that is one of the most diamond-rich areas in the country. It is now a state park and for only a $10 admission fee you can mine all day and keep whatever you find: diamonds, crystals, gems, minerals, etc... The only catch is that you have to put some seriously hard work in to find what you're looking for.
Devin and I are new when it comes to this so we rented our equipment there. For $12 we got a shovel, a bucket, and a sifter. Please not that they also put a $45 holding fee on your card to ensure you return the items back to the park. We made sure to get there right at 8:00 when the park opened and we picked a cute little spot that made us feel lucky. The fields are absolutely huge so really there isn't a specific strategy on where you should dig and look... your chance is about the same anywhere in the park. Devin used the shovel to dig up an area and fill the bucket and then took it to the big tubs of water to sift through looking for prizes. I used the cleaner and less exhausting technique of walking up and down the rows to see if any shiny diamonds just so happened to be laying on top (this really does happen so I wasn't being lazy).
We did a lot of research prior to our trip on how to spot diamonds. Everything told us that when you find a diamond, you'll know. They're extremely shiny, they vary in color from yellow to clear to black, and they won't have dirt stuck to them because of a bit of an oily residue that covers them. Also because diamonds are the toughest stone there is you can take a rock to it to see if it chips or scratches at all and if it's basically impenetrable, it's a diamond.
I walked the rows for about 2 hours while Devin sifted 3-4 buckets full. The sun was soooo hot that day that we decided to cut our losses and leave defeated. Although we didn't find any diamonds I made sure to snag a couple of rocks that I'm going to craft in some way as a keep-sake memory. We asked the rangers on the way out how often people find diamonds and they said that the day before only 2 had been found, but so far this year there have been 130 diamonds found in the park. So, even though we weren't so lucky this time I urge you to take a whack at it and see if you can be lucky! Our adventure was such a fun and different activity and we're so glad we went. It gave us reason to explore a new part of the country, it gave us respect for people that work and mine all day long, and it created amazing memories that we can share for a lifetime.