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    Start with a Diamond
    Start with Setting
    Aug 27

    Packing for a vacation usually does not involve grubby clothing, shovels, and work gloves, but if you are headed to the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas these are the exact items you will need. The Park is the only diamond mining site in the world that encourages visitors to explore the diamond fields, dig and pan for finds, and allows visitors to keep everything that is discovered.

    The area is a geological treasure trove, offering up at least two diamonds every day, as well as a host of other semi-precious gems such as peridot and garnet, amethyst and quartz and many varieties of unique minerals. The Crater of Diamonds State Park is considered the eighth largest diamond lode in the world. Currently 37.5 acres of the area are open to exploration. The primary search site is the Crater itself, formed by geological activity over 95 million years ago.

    Diamond lodes most commonly occur due to a volcanic vent explosion which leaves behind craters and vent tubes full of minerals, gems and diamonds. Today the area of excavation is easy to identify, with many rows and trenches in the surface, and the land itself does not appear to be a site of tremendous volcanic activity, but it certainly was with the crater actually measuring over 84 acres. The property itself is surrounded by lovely pine forests with camping grounds and water activities to enjoy after a long day of diamond mining.

    Opened in 1972, the Crater of Diamonds State Park had all ready been an active and productive diamond mining area since the early part of the twentieth century. Two parcels of land were purchased and now both form the 83 acre Park. Since its opening the site has yielded over 26,000 diamonds, as well as thousands of other semi-precious stones. The visitor’s center proudly displays one of the Park’s greatest discoveries – in fact one of the greatest discoveries to the gemological and jewelry world – the “Strawn-Wagner Diamond” which is known to be the most perfect diamond that the American Gem Society has ever certified. This diamond will remain on permanent display at the Park’s Visitor’s Center.

    Another historic diamond located at Crater of Diamonds State Park is the “Uncle Sam” which is the largest diamond ever found in the United States. It weighed in at over 42 carats, and is in the light-brown category of fancy colored diamonds. The stone was cut to a 12 carat emerald cut stone in 1971.

    The predominant color varieties of diamonds in the Park are white, yellow and brown. Brown diamonds are currently enjoying popularity among jewelry collectors and celebrities, and this will increase market values on any of the diamonds within that color range found in the Crater.

    Actually locating the stones can be quite easy, in fact some stones, including the well-known “Pathfinder Diamond” were located simply lying in the soil or along side some of the many paths and service roads within the mining area. The tools used to mine and search for gems can be as simple as a shovel and gloves. Some individuals pan different regions of soil, and near water features, but geologists have analyzed the site and concluded that only 160 feet of the original depth of the crater has been exposed, indicating a tremendous store of minerals, gems and diamonds still remain to be found. Digging in the existing fields and trenches has been the most successful method for many regular miners and visitors, and the Park rents shovels, screens and even knee pads for any unprepared visitors who decide to try their luck at treasure hunting.

    What does an uncut diamond look like? At Crater of Diamonds State Park the diamonds will be oily to the touch, rounded and smooth, they will have a yellow or brown coloration, and once a diamond has been rinsed clean of dirt and sand the miner should be able to see into the stone, but not completely through it. Not sure what you have found? Highly-trained park rangers are available to help all miners and the visitor’s center offers mini-courses in gem, mineral and diamond identification.

    If a good and valuable discovery is made, the wisest choice is to have the stone certified by a laboratory of the Gemological Institute of America or the American Gem Society as this will establish insurance values and sale estimates. Either of these groups can recommend how to cut the stone and may even be able to perform the job themselves.

    A well-cut diamond placed in a high-quality setting will be even more exciting to wear and display if you can claim to have found the glittering stone yourself! The only place in the world where this is possible is in a quiet corner of Arkansas at the Crater of Diamonds State Park.

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