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Arkansas - a digger's paradise

Posted by Maryanne Fender on

Huge quartz crystal plate

Arkansas State Mineral - Quartz

The quartz crystal, (SiO2,)was adopted as the Arkansas State Mineral by the General Assembly of 1967. Quartz crystals are mined in the Ouachita Mountains, one of the most significant deposits of quartz crystals worldwide.

I lived in Arkansas for 5 years and rock collected every possible weekend, weather permitting.  Ron Coleman’s mine was my absolute favorite place to dig quartz.   They are still digging and in recent years unearthed the behemoth above.

Arkansas State Gemstone - Diamond

Arkansas designated diamond as the official state gem in 1967. Arkansas is one of the few places in North America where diamonds are present and the only place where tourists may hunt for them. The importance of diamonds in Arkansas history is also acknowledged on the state flag and Arkansas state commemorative quarter.

We often camped out at the Crater of Diamonds State Park.  Every single time we visited someone had found a great diamond.  We dug a few times but it requires good luck or a lot of work.  Sometimes the best diamonds were to be had sharing a camp fire meal with the miners camped out next door.  Good Cajun cooking can go a long way to open doors.  


Bauxite rock

Arkansas State Rock - Bauxite

Bauxite was designated the official state rock of Arkansas in 1967. Arkansas has the largest high-quality bauxite deposits in the United States (located in Saline County). Bauxite contains aluminum ore which is used to make soft drink cans, aluminum foil, and many other products.

In our career as minerals dealer we often received requests from educators for bauxite samples.  There is no fee collecting area nor open area to collect however you drive out of the town of Bauxite toward the mines you can stop and ask the mine superintendent for collecting permission.  Generally they will let you collect some samples.