Finding garnets at Crater of Diamonds
Finding garnets at Crater of Diamonds

Greetings from Crater of Diamonds State Park! Rockhounds from all over the world visit the world-famous diamond search area to search for diamonds at their original volcanic source. The crater is famous for diamonds, but many other rocks and minerals can be found here, too. Amethyst, spinel, peridot and garnet are just a few of the unique minerals guests can dig up and keep. One special stone among those is garnet. Garnet is known for being more than just a unique mineral.

Garnet symbolizes different things to different people. It gets its name from the Latin word “Garanatus,” meaning seedlike, as it resembles pomegranate seeds when clustered. In medieval times, garnet was thought to cure depression, protect against bad dreams, and relieve diseases of the liver. Garnet is the January birthstone and symbolizes protection, friendship, trust, commitment, and love. It is often associated with the heart, blood, inner fire, and life force. It is also said to keep one safe during travel by lighting up the night and providing protection from nightmares and accidents.

The name garnet refers to a family of ten minerals with the same chemical structure. They vary in different colors, including red, orange, yellow, green, brown, violet, pink, and black. The differences lie in slight variations of color, density, and refractive index. This makes garnets challenging for geologists. Different types of garnets, including almandine, andradite and pyrope, can all be found at the park.

Garnet is usually found at Crater of Diamonds State Park in smaller pieces. Garnet found in the search area is usually red and slightly transparent. It is a silicate mineral that has a vitreous, or glassy, luster. Garnet's hardness ranges from a 6.5 to a 7.5 on the Mohs Hardness Scale.

Garnet is considered special for many reasons, but at Crater of Diamonds, it can be special as it is often a diamond indicator mineral, specifically the pyrope variety found at the park. The best way to find a garnet is usually by wet-sifting. They are dense minerals and will usually move to the bottom center of the screen when wet-sifting.

As you travel to Crater of Diamonds State Park, add garnet to the list of interesting stones to search for. With some hard work and luck, you may find one of these unique gems!

Article Written by: Seasonal Interpreter Ashlyn Newton
Ashlyn Newton has been working at Crater of Diamonds State Park since May of 2021 where she began as a cashier and is now a park interpreter. Ashlyn enjoys kayaking and visiting Arkansas State Parks with her friends and family. She has found one diamond of her own and helps prospectors learn how to search for diamonds each year. Ashlyn has a passion for educating on all things outdoors.