BY: MATTHEW CHIN
Combing through a sandy beach with a metal detector for a rare find in the ground can often become a tedious pursuit.
However, finding something valuable is closer than you think: in a stretch of what was once farmland in Arkansas lies a place where ordinary people roll up their sleeves and sift through dirt in hopes to unearth diamonds.
The Crater of Diamonds in Pike County is the world’s only diamond-bearing site that’s open to the public. After paying an entrance fee, patrons are free to roam the 37-acre stretch of land to search for precious minerals, especially diamonds.
Since the state park opened in 1972, over 31,000 diamonds have been discovered. Around 60, 000 people visit the park each year to search for diamonds and other minerals like amethyst, garnet, jasper, agate and quartz.
Royce Walker from Arkansas with a 2.93 carat Brown Diamond he found at the Crater of Diamonds State Park
The Crater of Diamonds State Park is also a site where travellers can camp for the night under the canopy of a nearby forest.
Explorers can find diamonds through different methods: they can conduct a surface search by looking at the soil for exposed minerals, or they can use a screen to sift the soil and separate their finds from the rest of the land.
The only catch: the diamonds often found are no larger than the size of a pebble, which can be sold for little cash depending on the weight of the gem. However, on some occasions, visitors have entered the park and left with diamonds that sold for thousands of dollars. The largest diamond ever found at the crater was nicknamed the “Uncle Sam” diamond, and sold for $150,000 in 1971, which today equates to about $880,000, according to CNN.
If you test your luck on the beaches with a metal detector, or have longed for an adventure to find fortune in the ground, The Crater of Diamonds State Park is a place to relive the excitement of a great gold rush, with the thrilling chance to find fortune right underneath you.