Arkansas’s Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas, United States is the only diamond-producing site in the world where the public can search for diamonds. The park features a 37.5-acre (15.2 ha) plowed field and diamonds have continuously been discovered in the field since 1906.
The site became a state park in 1972 after the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism purchased the site from the Arkansas Diamond Company and Ozark Diamond Mines Corporation, who had operated the site as a tourist attraction previously.
In August 1906, John Huddleston found two strange crystals on the surface of his 243-acre (98 ha) farm near Murfreesboro, Arkansas, and soon became known as the first person outside South Africa to find diamonds at their original source. The following month, Huddleston and his wife, Sarah, sold an option on the 243 acres (98 ha) to a group of Little Rock investors headed by banker-attorney Samuel F. (Sam) Reyburn, who undertook a careful, deliberate test of the property.
Soon after the first diamond was found, a “diamond rush” created a boomtown atmosphere around Murfreesboro. According to old tales, hotels in Murfreesboro turned away 10,000 people in the space of a year. Supposedly, these aspiring diamond miners formed a tent city near the mine, which was named “Kimberly” in honor of the famous Kimberley diamond district in South Africa. On the other hand, all available evidence indicates that the Town of Kimberly originated as a land-development venture in 1909, initiated by Mallard M. Mauney and his oldest son, Walter, on their land immediately south of Murfreesboro. The project failed soon afterward as the speculative boom generated by the diamond discovery collapsed. Today, the Kimberly area is almost all cow pasture, owned by Mauney’s descendants.
On average, two diamonds are found per day by park visitors and they may keep any gemstone they find regardless of its value. In addition to diamonds, visitors may find semi-precious gems such as amethyst, agate, and jasper or approximately 40 other minerals such as garnet, phlogopite, quartz, baryte, and calcite.
Diamond Discovery Center provides people with a helpful introduction to diamond searching, equipment rentals, exhibit gallery. Park staff regularly plow the area to bring more diamonds to the surface for visitors to discover. Diamond mining tools are available for rent or purchase.
The park is open to the public and, for a small fee, rockhounds and visitors can dig for diamonds and other gemstones. Park visitors find more than 600 diamonds each year of all colors and grades. Over 24,000 diamonds have been found in the crater since it became a state park.
In 2015, a woman from Colorado discovered 8.25-carat gem, shaped like an icicle, the fifth-largest diamond found by a visitor to the state park since the site was established.