Image courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
Diamonds are shiny little gemstones. A symbol of love, power, and royalty.
It’s not hard to spot celebrities and princesses adorned with these glamorous objects. But the fascination for diamonds has been in existence for quite a time in history. Romans and Greeks once called them “tears of the gods.”
The word “diamond” actually stems from the Greek word adamas or invincible.
These gemstones are considered to be one of the strongest minerals on earth. They cannot be scratched or damaged easily. In fact, only a diamond can cut another diamond.
Sounds pretty fierce huh?
Not only that, natural diamonds undergo a lot of high pressure as they form hundreds of miles below the earth’s surface. Made from pure carbon, these minerals bond tightly, so much so that it usually takes a thousand years to form them, with the exception of synthetic diamonds of course.
But what makes diamonds so attractive and expensive?
The Allure of Diamonds
Diamonds were once considered to be so rare that only the maharajahs of India and other royal families around the world were entitled to these gemstones. But ever since the 1800s, people started to mine for diamonds.
It was a rarity to find these until an enormous deposit of diamonds were found in Kimberley, South Africa. This shot up the supply of diamonds until the mining firm De Beers decided to create a diamond mine conglomerate in 1938 to manage the supply and rarity of the gemstones.
The advertisement “Diamonds are forever” initiated the market value of diamonds in the world today. They are often used in jewelry and engagement rings.
And with more diamond mines opening up in China, Russia, Canada, Australia, South America, and the USA, it has become less of a rarity these days. Although the inherent rarity of these gemstones is no longer the same as it was perceived before, these gems have not lost their value.
Diamonds are still pricey especially if they have impeccable craftsmanship, a unique appearance, and history. A combination of these three can jack up prices of diamond pieces especially in auction houses. The Hope Diamond for example is considered to be extremely expensive because of its rare blue color and its long mysterious history from the owners.
Generally, in the trade, the values of diamonds are checked against the 4Cs – carat (or weight), color, cut, and clarity.
Diamonds in Arkansas
Interestingly, finding diamonds isn’t so laborious as you think it is.
Though we’ve heard about the gruesome stories of diamond mining in Africa or the illegal selling of blood diamonds all around the world, you can actually stumble upon one in Arkansas. Sounds impossible but it is true.
You can find diamonds on the ground.
The place is called Crater of Diamonds State Park and more than a hundred visitors have already picked up some pretty nice diamonds. That includes a teenager who found one of the biggest diamonds yet!
Diamonds are generally found where rocks like kimberlites are found (sometimes along with other gems.) Usually near a crater, diamonds are pushed upward by the magma and flows outward to the open ground.
The Arkansas Park is the perfect spot as diamonds have scattered all over. Large diamond prospectors, though, have failed to mine in this area as people who walked around the park got more diamonds than those who mined for it.
The great part here is that you only have to pay $8 for adults and $5 dollars for kids 6-13 years in exchange for the chance to find diamonds as long as you know how to find diamonds in the ground!
How to Spot Diamonds
Finding diamonds in the park is sometimes attributed to sheer luck. But the chances of finding one isn’t a rarity at all as around 200 visitors have already found a diamond just lying around on the soil!
If you are one determined fellow and you know how to find diamonds in the ground, then you might just get what you are wishing for.
There is not much to bring along, as you can find gems already on the surface.
But if you want to dig into the soil, you can bring a box screen, bucket, and shovel or rent out some items here. It is also good to visit after a rainfall, as the soil gets washed down and exposes the gems lying underneath the ground. They’ll be easier to spot too as they will start to glimmer after getting wet.
But spotting a diamond among all the other rocks and gems will not be easy.
You must have a critical eye for it. Some are just impostors and are actually something else like quartz or even broken glass!
Here are some tips to help you spot a real diamond:
- They do not look like the ads. Diamonds sold in stores are already cut and polished. What you’re looking for are rough diamonds, unpolished yet stunningly gorgeous gems.
- Check for their natural shine. Diamonds are literally brilliant. They have a shine that is brighter than glass or quartz crystals. If you think you found one, compare them to other shiny rocks and see if your find stands out.
- Diamonds are rounded not edged. Contrary to advertised diamonds, natural diamonds have a rounded shape, more or less like a jelly bean. If your shiny rock has edges, it is unlikely to be a diamond.
- Check for translucency. Rough diamonds are translucent not transparent. That means, you can look through it and it will not be as clear as glass.
- Check for toughness. Remember that only a diamond can cut a diamond. Try to scratch the surface with a key or sharp metal object. If it leaves a mark or scratch, it is obviously not a diamond.
So if you’re on the hunt for some diamonds, look no further than Arkansas and start your treasure hunt here!