Arkansas is known for a number of unique minerals, gemstones, and fossils, but it is definitely the spectacular occurrences of diamonds that really attract treasure hunters to Arkansas. This is the only state in the U.S. to routinely produce gem-grade diamond specimens.
Although they have never been mined commercially, the Crater of Diamonds State Park
is considered the only operational diamond mine in the United States. This is perhaps because by paying a small fee you are allowed to visit the site in search for diamonds and when you find any you are allowed to keep it. Admission to the mine is only $8 for adults and $5 for kids.
There have been some exceptional diamonds found here over the years. Just recently an 8.52 carat diamond was found by a visitor.
The Crater of Diamonds Mine is a 37.5 acre plowed field located couple miles south of Murfreesboro that is the remnants of a diamond producing volcanic crater. When the field is plowed new diamond specimens are often brought to the surface.
Some commercial mining of the diamonds took place for a while after the initial discoveries here. The first diamond was found in 1906, and mining took place on and off for several decades. The state of Arkansas bought the property in 1972 and turned it onto the Crater of Diamonds State Park.
These diamonds are by far the most valuable gemstone found in Arkansas, and great discoveries are still being made to this day.
Arkansas quartz is another popular mineral that you can find in the state. There are deposits of high-quality quartz crystals located in several different places. Some of the common places where you can find high-quality deposits include Jessieville, Mount Ida, Hot Springs, and Fisher Mountain.
Quartz in Arkansas is generally found as large, clear crystal clusters, but occasionally other colored varieties of the mineral are also found.
Another beautiful gemstone in Arkansas is the Wavellite. This collectible mineral is commonly referred to as the "Cat's Eye" by the locals. This is due to the fact that wavellite contains a ball-like green radiating structure.
There are two major locations where you can find wavellite in Arkansas; the first one is the Dug Hill in the Ouachita National Forest in Garland County towards the northeast end of the Lake Ouachita. The other site is the Mauldin Mountain towards the northwest of Mount Ida specifically the abandoned Montgomery quarry.
The wavellite found in Arkansas come in different color shades ranging from bright green to the dark rich emerald green. There has also been the occurrence of yellow wavellite, especially in Saline County. These specimens are very beautiful and a prize for any Arkansas rockhound.
Many are surprise to learn that there have been several reports indicating the occurrence of turquoise in several locations within Arkansas. Most folks think that turquoise is only found in the desert southwest, but there are some places where you can dig up for this mineral in Saline and Montgomery counties.
The turquoise is in most cases a byproduct in copper production. As a result, most turquoise is found in the rocks that contain copper ores. Most of it is not of sufficient size to be used for jewelry purposes, but specimens with visible blue and green can be found and collected.
The Dolomites are widespread in North Arkansas. The pink dolomite is common in Paleozoic dolostone formations commonly found in Arkansas.
The best place you can find Dolomites is the abandoned zinc and lead mines found in the Ozark Plateaus. The Black Rock area in Lawrence County can yield many specimens of Dolomite.
Dolomite is mined commercially where it is crushed, but collectors can find crystal specimens.