Jessica and Seth Erickson, of Chatfield, MN, recently embarked on an 11-state road trip for their 10th anniversary. Having first heard about Arkansas’s Crater of Diamonds State Park years ago, they planned a special stop at America’s only public diamond mine along the way. On the morning of their visit, the couple found a brown diamond weighing nearly two carats.
The Ericksons arrived at Crater of Diamonds early on a Friday morning. They spent the morning digging dirt and by 11 a.m. were wet sifting at the North Washing Pavilion in the park’s 37.5-acre diamond search area. There they met some of the park’s friendly regular visitors, who helped them learn how to properly sift. Although most diamonds are found after flipping gravel onto a flat surface, Seth first spotted a metallic-looking gem in the bottom of his screen after an hour of wet sifting. He knew right away it was a diamond and excitedly showed Jessica.
The couple carried their iced tea-color gem in a clear vial to the park’s Diamond Discovery Center, where park staff registered it as a 1.90-carat brown diamond about the size of a pony bead.
Many people who find diamonds at Crater of Diamonds State Park choose to name their gems. The Ericksons named theirs HIMO, the initials of each of their children.
Wet sifting is a method used by many guests to search for diamonds. Park Interpreter Tayler Markham says, “Two screens are used to wet sift. The top screen has a bigger mesh size, one-quarter of an inch, while the bottom screen is smaller, about 1/16 of an inch. Guests submerge screen sets in water to wash away the soil. Once the soil is removed, the gravel is then separated by size and weight to make diamonds easier to find.” According to park staff, about three-fourths of all diamonds registered at the Crater of Diamonds are found by wet sifting.
As of this publication, 581 diamonds have been registered at Crater of Diamonds State Park in 2022. An average of one to two diamonds are found by park visitors each day.