Diamond John Strikes Out

Byebye, Airstream dream.  See ya, Easy Living.  Diamond mining was a bust.  Zero.  Zilch.  After falling for the dream of diamonds for the picking, we spent about two hours trying to mine, sift, dig, or shuffle up a diamond.  Any size, any color.  Our conclusion?  Diamond mining is hard!  We were hot, unfocused, and kind of sniping at each other for our crappy technique.  As miners, we suck!

So, here’s the deal at Crater of Diamonds SP in Murfreesboro, Arkansas.  You pay $8/person to get into the 40 acre diamond area.  Whatever you find, you keep.  Need tools?  Rent ’em!20140421_120514  There are live demos on how to find diamonds, and an on-demand video to watch.  After watching the demo, we decided that we would go for the double-screen water dip method.  We brought with us a small bucket and a garden scoop (you don’t want to know why we had this with us in the Fireball), and also rented a miner’s shovel.

Here’s how it goes….

1.  Our two screens fit on top of each other.  The top one has a larger mesh, so the finer grit, stones (diamonds) fall into the bottom box.  Of course, you have to carefully examine the top box to make sure you’re not discarding The Big One (providing you didn’t just stumble across it while walking to your chosen dig site).  Swish the boxes around in the sluice tank (or the waist-high troughs in the other areas) until you have only rocks in the top box. 20140421_11490020140421_114911Examine them for the obvious enormous diamond.  Discard.20140421_115609

2.   Using a Rock/Bounce/Turn technique, wash the lower screen of gravel in the sluice tank to wash away the excess clay, grit, dirt.20140421_11493420140421_114956 This technique (supposedly) also sends the heavier diamonds and minerals to the bottom of the screen, so when you flip it over to empty the screen, the good stuff is on top for you to simply scoop up.20140421_115158

3.  We never got any good stuff.  Just gravel. Scraping the gravel into the screens or buckets was difficult with the tools we had.  The ground was packed hard.  The folly of the undertaking quickly became apparent, although the guy who found a 6 carat diamond just laying on the ground two weeks ago was working nearby.  Here, in John’s distinctive left hand is a visualization of what we hoped to find.20140422_113913  We opted for shade, diet Cokes, and wandering about to see how others were approaching the task.

Liked this guy’s technique a lot.20140421_122237People employed various techniques to sift thru the gravely stuff for diamonds.20140421_12395620140421_124135

Perhaps this little girl had the best idea of all.20140421_130058

John’s best find was in the Visitor’s Center store (each to his own).20140422_113743Oh well.  It was fun, but I have to say that we really just flaked out on the deal.  As we rode our bikes home to the campground 20140420_163409(what a terrific place to camp!), we could hear distant thunder, and we caught a few raindrops.  Got Jezzy bundled into her Thundershirt, grabbed quick showers, and sat out the next six hours of pretty intense storms.

Tuesday, we cycled into Murfreesboro (pop 1764), and wandered around. 20140422_13372320140422_13011120140422_12394820140422_123602 It’s pretty s-l-o-w here.  There are a few ‘antique’ stores, a cemetery, hardware store, and Barry’s Hawg Town Cafe (unremarkable food by any standard, except for the interesting sticker vending machine)20140422_133408

We loved having a chance to slow down a bit and enjoy the perfect spring camping weather. After drying out in the Southwest for three months, the warm humid day and 80 degree temps were welcome.  The crazy green colors of spring are everywhere here, a real feast for the eye.  Two (of three) nights were perfectly still, so we enjoyed campfires until we were in danger of nodding off and falling into them.

Score?  Diamond mining – 0.  Camping – 10.  Life in general – 8 (at least).



12 thoughts on “Diamond John Strikes Out

  1. It’s nice to read what the diamond hunting is really like. I’ve read a couple of stories that sounded like you just walk out and happen upon a giant, perfect, yellow diamond. Almost made me ready to plan a trip to Arkansas. :D

    Camping a 10 and life in general at least an 8 is an awfully good outcome.


    • There are apparently lots of diamond just found on the surface, including many of the big ones. But, I told John that I think many of the people talking about how they just spent 10 minutes at the park, and saw a diamond laying on the surface are shills. They’ve got people listening to their story, and the next thing you know….everyone is lining up to pay their $8 entry fee. I want one of those jobs – certainly I can make up story as good as the next person.

      We’ve got some serious cleaning up to do on the Fireball before the BRR. It’s obvious that there’s been a lot of livin’ going on inside for the past for months! Not pretty.


  2. Kind of glad you didn’t find a big diamond. I’m afraid I wouldn’t fit in your social circle with the Astors, Carnegies, and Melons, and …. Kochs? LOL. Sounds like a real fun adventure anyway. John can keep his Spam. I would have to be starving.


    • Who are you? Can’t tell…..we might fit in with the Carnegie comparison (all those libraries and all). We’re not major industrialists (no longer even very industrious even). Certainly, we don’t ever want to run with the Kochs. We probably would have bought a modest Airstream, and given the rest of the $$ to the Greater Grand Rapids Bicycle Coalition to buy bike racks for the city. That would require a very big diamond.


    • We sent you a text, asking for $25 seed money to get us properly outfitted for our task, but you ignored us. Being generous folk, we have a whole bag of stones for you from our efforts. If only you had sent the money, you could be polishing diamond chips instead.


  3. Single servings of SPAM in a foil pouch! Who knew? No worries about the diamond find to buy the airstream—-you still have friends in the T@DA community. :


    • I guess we could put the Spam in our backpacks, and know that we’ll never starve.

      With all of our fancy friends having new Airstreams, we may have gotten carried away with our dreams. We are firmly back in T@DA land.


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