How to Dig Your Own Diamond Mine

How to Dig Your Own Diamond Mine thumbnail
The United States imports nearly all of its diamonds from other countries.

Digging for diamonds may be hard work, but finding a diamond is priceless. The United States has no commercial diamond mine production. In 2009, the country was the largest consumer of gem-quality diamonds, buying 35 percent of the world's diamonds or $13.7 billion worth. The best way to find diamonds currently is by locating a diamond-producing area. Diamonds are generally found near volcanoes. At Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas, mining for diamonds is open to the public. While finding a diamond is not guaranteed, visitors find diamonds there almost every day.

Things You'll Need

  • Spades
  • Shovel
  • Screens
  • Sledge hammer
  • Chisels
  • Plastic bag
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Instructions

    • 1

      Visually search for diamonds. After a hard rain, diamonds may be visible on top of dirt in diamond-producing areas. In this case, no digging is necessary. The rain will leave diamonds and other minerals exposed on the surface of the dirt.

    • 2

      Screen the diamonds. Use a spade or shovel to dig down through 1 foot of soil. Sift through the soil with a screen. Diamonds within the soil will be visible in the screen.

    • 3

      Hand-sort gravel. Dig deep holes. Wash the dirt and gravel through a series of screens. Hand-sort through gravel concentrates to locate the diamonds. Some diamond-producing concentrates can be found in areas where commercial-mining plants mined diamonds about 100 years ago.

    • 4

      Break rock and debris away from a mountain. Some diamonds are found hidden in pockets of rock within mountains and caves. Commercial miners use tunneling and excavation methods to reach diamonds located in kimberlite rock, a type of volcanic rock where diamonds are found. Use a sledgehammer to break up the mountainous rock and look for pockets of diamonds within the mountain. Place chisels or steel wedges into the mountain cracks and pound the chisels into the mountain to break rocks away and search for additional diamonds. Place any diamonds found in a small plastic bag.

    • 5

      Pan for diamonds. Placer or alluvial diamonds can be found by panning for them in the same manner that prospectors pan for gold in a river or creek bed. Placer diamonds are loose diamonds that have been moved by water or a glacier to a location and deposited on land.

Tips & Warnings

  • Begin a day digging for diamonds just after sunrise to make every moment of sunlight count.

  • Check the local laws regarding diamond mining. Permits may be required.

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References

  • Photo Credit Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images

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