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Jill & I spent a little over a day using our gold prospecting gear trying to snag some Mohs #10. We spent zero time at the site [Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas] doing detail work. We worked as a team and just focussed on gathering high grade concentrates. Now that we are back to our little pasture in So Cal, we will begin the sorting process. Regardless whether the cons pan out, we definitely will be going back there for an extended stay. For those interested, the site is near Murfreesboro in SW Ark. 37 acres are open to prospecting. The cost is $7 per day per person. RV parking is abundant, as are motel rentals. Rental gear is available at reasonable rates at the park. Panning troughs on site permit water based recovery techniques. Panning for diamonds is similar to gold panning, you just need to induce sufficient banging to repeatedly settle the material and then be gentle in scalping off layers of lighter materials. Each person is permitted to exit with up to 5 gals of material per day. You get to keep all diamonds you find without any extra charge. An on-site geologist will certify your finds. Unlike Africa, the Arkansas diamonds are found in Lamproite, a dark brownish brittle material [unlike the bluish Kimberlite material found elsewhere]. There are many little rounded pebbles of quartz, jasper and barite that can be confused with the raw diamonds which typically range in color from white to yellow to brown. The Park's web site is updated periodically to report recent finds in terms of points or carats. Quite a few are found each week. And, by the way, the Arkansas diamonds are 28% harder than African diamonds. It is theorized that this is because the Arkansas diamonds were brought up from a depth of 100 to 125 miles beneath the surface -- the greater pressure and temperature thus a factor in the formation of the Arkansas diamond crystals. As these diamonds are hurled up out of the depths the rapidly decreasing pressure and temperature is believed to cause them to lose surface structure and they become rounded when finally ejected. This is a fascinating sideline to gold prospecting -- something Jill & I have really been "hooked" on. I will update this thread if anything significant is found.

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Martin,

That sounds like a lot of fun! I hope you brought some nice ones home with you! Regardless I can tell you had a fun trip and that's what it's all about!

Paul

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That is something I have always wanted to try and will be very interested in how you do. Can a drywasher be used for diamond recovery? I have read that there are actually diamonds that show up in placer areas of Southern California... Thanks for posting and got any photos? Do ya? Do ya?

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Really Cool!

I heard from a fellow that is there now that they (The Park) just dug a 8' trench and it is the deepest trench that they have ever dug there for people to gather material.

Were you still there when this trench was dug, if so did you get any of the "trench" material?

I hope you find lots of diamonds in your material, and I will be checking to see if you do!! :thumbsupanim

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Hi Martin...glad you liked the Ark. diamond park...when I was

married to my first wife we used to go there quite often...only a

half a days drive from our house in Eastern Okla.....best part of

the trip was the old restaurant in town where they made home made

biscuits...hugh slices of ham...grits...eggs any way you wanted

them...hash browns and enough coffee to float a boat....we were

there I think about 8 times....I never found a diamond but I saw

other people that did...still had a great time....

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The Park allows prospectors to use just about any hand powered devices [but nothing run on batteries or gas motors and no metal detectors allowed] and you can dig as deep as you want as long as you maintain a 1.5:1 ratio of width to depth and you must refill your hole before closing time at 5PM. Some individuals get exempted from this rule from time to time for specific, pre-approved projects. The whole field was re-plowed on September 23rd. It gets random re-plowings every couple of months [no pre-announcements]. I did not see a deep cut anywhere when we were there. However, there clearly were "strips" and "patches" of reddish brown dirt compared to the grayish material everywhere else. So we hedged our bets by taking out about 5 gals of cons from these reddish areas and the rest from the gray. The amazing thing is that despite the re-plowing and the many visitors, nonetheless diamonds just keep popping up -- some in the multi-carat range, but most much smaller [1 to 10 points -- there are 100 points to a carat]. The conventional wisdom is the most diamonds are found following the first hard rain after a re-plowing has been done. This stands to reason because the lighter clays and sands easily are washed down and the furrows are quite deep [two or three times deeper than a standard farm plow furrow]. Don, you are right about the humongous portions of food that are served up at cafes and such. i never realized what a beautiful state Arkansas is. Lots of stimulus money found its way into numerous road and bridge improvements. Also, in Bill Clinton's birthplace [about 30 miles from Murfreesboro] we came across an incredibly large storage area of post-Katrina FEMA trailers. Literally as far as the eye could see the fields were just packed with them. There was another, smaller group in Eastern Oklahoma [but still BIG].

The most efficient method is to have a set of three screens [4, 8 and 12 is what we used]. After filling 5 or 10 two-gallon buckets with classified material, carry them over to a panning trough. Then quickly pan them down, keeping 5% and tossing the rest. That way you can leave with the best part of what started out to be maybe 25 to 50 gallons of dirt. We gathered the dirt from various spots to hedge our bets. There are permanent markers here and there showing where the whoppers were found [20 to 40 carats] in the past. There are a few osage orange trees for shade in the center of the crater, but you can not dig within 20 feet of the trunks. I learned that you can see "inside" a raw diamond, but you can not see "through" a raw diamond. Thus, a simple test for distinguishing quartz from diamonds is to pass the stone over a white sheet of paper with a dark line drawn on it. If you can see the line through the stone, it is not a diamond. So far we have sorted about 2% of what we brought back home and we have found numerous clear, shiny pebbles -- but no diamonds. I will try to take some photos this weekend and post them.

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I see no value in Diamonds but Like finding Corundums.

Gold is good. Rubies Natural are good.

Used Diamonds hold no Value.

I Know it's fun to find but Maybe Natral Diamonds have more value?

:arrowheadsmiley:

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That place is on my bucket list..... I would realy like to make some jewelry with uncut diamonds

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Homefire,

There are industrial diamonds just south of Apache Can. in the Caballos. behind the McLeod hills. I went with a fellow that worked for 3M that had claims there. We "greased" for diamonds in a kimberlite pipe there. They looked like black sand but translucent.

You can use the same technique on corundums, and feldspars. The first time I saw this I was prospecting for moonstone in Rabb Can and met with some Rainbow hippies. They were very good prospectors and were getting LOTS of good moonstones by "greasing" with a makeshift "sluice".

I saw a couple of people at Pueblo Park doing the same for bytownite feldspars.

And just west of you by Lordsburg there is good feldspar that you can collect by "greasing" for them. There is precious opal there too. I am not sure if opal is hydrophobic but I will bet you can concentrate them like a diamond, feldspar, or corundum.

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I am really enjoying this thread.... Greasing Bob? Is that simply like wheel bearing grease on a sluice? How does one keep it from being washed out with the tails? I have seen folks using large pans in Africa with grease, but not sure what kind...

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I'm enjoying this as well, I have never tried "greasing" but I will be giving it a shot the next time I go to a few areas here on the east coast that have had reports of diamonds and other gemstones are being found.

I've gleaned a little info on how to go about building a grease table and why it works on certain gemstones, I would love to learn more from those that knows more about this.

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/2186455/building_a_grease_table_for_recovering.html?cat=15

http://www.jjkent.com/articles/diamond-mining-process.htm

http://encyclopediaofarkansas.net/encyclopedia/media-detail.aspx?mediaID=6543

These links seems to be a great resource for info on diamonds, didn't check all the links or references on these pages for anything to do with "greasing" though, I will do that later.

http://www.emporia.edu/earthsci/amber/go340/diamond.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diamond

http://lgdl.gia.edu/pdfs/09_Dirty_Diamond.pdf

A little history on Arkansas' Crater of Diamonds State Park.

http://www.encyclopediaofarkansas.net/encyclopedia/entry-detail.aspx?entryID=2146

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It has been 20 years since I saw it done, but what little I know about it is this. You concentrate in a bucket by shaking a slurry of material. The geologist fellow had a pump and a cone bottom vessel that he used, but the hippies just used a bucket about 1/3 full of material screened to 3/8". After a lot of agitation the top 1/2 or so is taken off the material and the rest is dumped into a wooden box with a piece of burlap on the bottom. That burlap is coated with grease. I dont think it matters what kind. This is shaken and mixed around really good so that all particles are exposed to the grease.

Most of those rocks and sand are wet. They dont stick in that grease. But a gemstone like a moonstone or a diamond is hyrophobic (I think that is the word) and repel water on a molecular level. So they dont get wet. But they really like grease. So they stick to the grease instead. And since they are under water and are pushing themselves away from it, when they get near the grease they "push" themselves into it.

Once a few loads have been done you take out that greasy burlap in the bottom of the box and check it over for gemstones. Just like picking gold from a drywasher table.

Then you use a solvent to clean off the grease. The hippies were using gasoline and then Super Clean brand degreaser. The geologist was using benzene and then soap and water.

That is how I remember it being done, and there may be some big errors on my description of the process. But I think that this is pretty close.

There are a lot of good areas for moonstone, opal and various types of feldspars and I am thinking that they all will react in about the same way and can be recovered with grease. I have always wanted to learn more about this but I just never have. I go into a great moonstone area regularly and sometimes speck them out of the gravel. I always think about the grease but never have tried it.

http://www.gondwanalanddiamonds.com/Grease-Table.html

http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/diamonds/process.html

So let's go a greasin'!

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Bedrock: Thanks for the references. A brief perusal tells me there is a lot of technology we gold prospectors can learn from the diamond guys. The vortex technology is especially intriguing [the way they do it for isolating diamond cons].

All: So far, no diamonds from my cons. About 90% left to run. Some agates and quartz specimens have caused a few heart jumps, but the Mohs #10 continues to elude.

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Bedrock: Thanks for the references. A brief perusal tells me there is a lot of technology we gold prospectors can learn from the diamond guys. The vortex technology is especially intriguing [the way they do it for isolating diamond cons].

All: So far, no diamonds from my cons. About 90% left to run. Some agates and quartz specimens have caused a few heart jumps, but the Mohs #10 continues to elude.

The "cone bottom tank" with a pump and a check valve is a very efficient concentrator. It will seperate materials that are very close in specific gravity. I have seen one used to concentrate black sands with very good results.

The fellow that found the diamonds in Colorado and in Yellow Knife up in Yukon built a large "jig" that was a series of cone bottom tanks and prospected the glacial areas of the north until he located the Yellow Knife deposit. In the process he found the diamonds in Colorado. A large part of his success was that "jig" he developed that would find one diamond in a zillion yards of material.

Gold would be rather easily seperated from the gravel in comparison to a diamond. I will bet that these "jigs" would be a very accurate sampler for placer gold.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I just stumbled upon this thread, that's also on my wish list of things to do. Back when we had the old ruby mine some regular customers from AR frequented the diamond area. They actually claimed to access some land adjacent to the park where they were allowed to do more extensive excavations. I don't know whether it was true or not, but they also claimed to have found a few diamonds, one just over a carat if I remember right. I'll look forward to any pictures you might have.

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Some of the local people in that area go there every day to hunt. I've heard stories about how some of them claim to make a good living with the diamonds they find. I am a little skeptical of these claims to say the least. What's the definition of "a good living"? Eating beans and living in an old beat up truck? Sound familiar?? :yuk-yuk: If big mining companies couldn't make a go of it, I doubt if a person could do it. :twocents:

Steve

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Yes indeed, there are some regulars who frequent the park a lot. I doubt anyone makes a living at it. But it certainly makes a great pastime for those who enjoy digging in the dirt and trying for The Big One. So far, between the weather we had here in So Cal plus my work schedule, we have been kept from completing the cons. Still plenty to go. I am fairly brain dead when it comes to transferring photos from the digital camera to this web site. When I have something to show I will attempt to figure it out.

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I've been down there about a half a dozen times or so and never found anything. Of course some people have all the luck in the world... They might stumble onto their first nice one while walking to the car getting ready to leave. Or one of the kids might go up to a parent and ask them if this is what they are looking for... Of course all they were doing all day was walking around with Ipods (while the parents were working their butt off) and just happened to look down a see a glittering stone. Both of those stories are true and there's many more. Same thing happens with nugget shooting.. Beginners luck....

Anyway- I wish you the best and hope you find a big one..

Steve

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Steve, What are you doing up at this time of the monring? I've been to the diamond place , all I got was a sunburn an a belly ache from the bisquits and gravey!

Max

I've been down there about a half a dozen times or so and never found anything. Of course some people have all the luck in the world... They might stumble onto their first nice one while walking to the car getting ready to leave. Or one of the kids might go up to a parent and ask them if this is what they are looking for... Of course all they were doing all day was walking around with Ipods (while the parents were working their butt off) and just happened to look down a see a glittering stone. Both of those stories are true and there's many more. Same thing happens with nugget shooting.. Beginners luck....

Anyway- I wish you the best and hope you find a big one..

Steve

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