Waymon Cox
shovel, blue bucket and screen for searching for diamonds at Crater of Diamonds State Park
The Right Tools for Wet Sifting at Crater of Diamonds State Park

Greetings from Crater of Diamonds State Park! Wet sifting is one of the most effective ways of searching for diamonds. It helps you go through more dirt in less time, and you can wet sift just about any time of year!

The more dirt you wet sift, the better your chances are of finding a diamond. But having the right type and amount of tools is important! If you plan to wet sift for diamonds with friends or family, the following tips will help ensure that you have the right tools for the job.

The most essential tool for wet sifting is a screen to remove dirt from the diamond-bearing gravel. The park rents two types of screens: a box screen, with a fine, sixteenth-inch mesh; and a screen set, with a large, quarter-inch screen on top of a sixteenth-inch screen. Both types are suitable for wet sifting, but the screen set separates gravel by size. Since most diamonds are small, removing larger gravel with the quarter-inch screen helps process the dirt more efficiently.

Two or three people can easily share one screen when wet sifting. While one person searches their wet sifted gravel for a diamond, a second person can use the screen to sift more dirt. Having one screen for every two or three people can increase the amount of dirt you sift and improve the chances of someone finding a diamond. A group of four people sharing two screens is more efficient than four people sharing one screen!

A medium or large shovel is the second-most useful tool for wet sifting. The park rents G.I. shovels and long-handled gardening shovels.

Since you only need a shovel to dig dirt for wet sifting, one shovel per screen set is usually enough. For families with younger kids or anyone who doesn’t want to carry larger, heavier shovels, you can save money on rental fees by purchasing small hand trowels from the gift shop.

A bucket isn’t always necessary for wet sifting but makes it easier to carry dirt over long distances. The park rents 3.5-gallon buckets for visitors to transport dirt to the washing pavilions in the diamond search area. Many guests also bring their own buckets to take sifted gravel home and search for diamonds later. Each park guest can take up to five gallons of sifted gravel home per day.

It usually takes about 35 minutes to wet sift 3.5 gallons of dirt with one screen, so one bucket usually works well for up to three people. Groups with two or three screens might rent another bucket to dig more dirt at one time and save on extra trips.

The saruca, a fine, round screen with a bowl shape for resifting gravel, is another optional tool for wet sifting. The concave bottom pulls heavy gravel to the center when sifted in water. When the gravel is flipped over on a flat surface, heavier material and diamonds appear on top of the pile.

The saruca isn’t necessary for wet sifting but can be useful for larger groups taking sifted gravel home. When used properly, it helps concentrate heavy gravel and makes it easier to spot diamonds.

For guests who want to rent mining tools from the park, we offer two kits for wet sifting: a basic kit, which includes a 3.5-gallon bucket, G.I. shovel, and screen set; and an advanced kit, which includes all of these tools plus a saruca. One basic kit works well for up to three people wet sifting together and one advanced kit works well for up to four people.

Wet sifting is one of the most effective ways to search for diamonds. Having the right tools--in the right amount--can maximize your chances of finding a diamond and help you have a great experience at Crater of Diamonds State Park!