Chuck Haralson and Ken Smith were inducted into the Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame during the 43rd annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism
Earlier this month, on their first visit to the park, a father and daughter duo found a 2.03-carat white diamond after less than an hour of searching. Last year, one of the most valuable diamonds ever discovered in the U.S. was found by a park visitor after only 20 minutes of searching, an 8.52-carat white diamond now popularly known as the Esperanza Diamond. It was the fifth largest diamond ever found by a park visitor. The title of largest goes to the Amarillo Starlight, a 16.37-carat white diamond found at the park in 1975.
A venture to the state park is on the to-visit list for many, the park being the only spot in North America where you can dig for diamonds and other gemstones and keep your finds.
As for a tip for visiting, Betty Coors, Park Interpreter at Crater of Diamonds State Park, said to take time to go to the Diamond Mining 101 demo that is presented at the park. “If you come before or after a scheduled demo, there is a video presentation that can be played any time the park is open,” she said. “We demonstrate the methods for finding diamonds, answer any questions and show park visitors actual diamonds that were found here at Crater. A lot of people spend the entire day on the field and have no idea what they are looking for, or how to find a diamond, because they are in such a rush to get out to the field.”
As for prep for the venture, some planning tips include wearing old clothes and shoes you don’t mind getting dirty, lathering on the sunscreen ( the search field is an open field without much shade), dressing for the weather, wearing a hat, bringing water and a snack ( ice chests are allowed on the field for these) and bringing a change of clothes and shoes to change into after the dig. If you want to keep your dirt covered clothes and shoes, bring a plastic bag to put them in to take home with you. Visitors can bring their own gear to dig with or there is rental gear and wagons available to rent too.
There is also more than just digging available at the park. “An often overlooked aspect of this park is that this is a park with a beautiful campground, picnic areas, a seasonal water park and restaurant and nice walking trails,” she said. “There is more to Crater of Diamonds than just looking for gemstones.” Below are also two videos with digging tips for visiting the park, narrated by Park Interpreter Waymon Cox. Crater of Diamonds State Park is located on Ark. 301 in Murfreesboro. Happy digging!