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A Day In The Quartz Fields: Arkansas Diamond Mining Day Three

Day three, Thursday June 11

Wegner’s Quartz Mine, Mount Ida, Arkansas

The cab­ins were great for our setup. We all met at Cabin One and made break­fast together. We cooked up a nice meal and enjoyed plan­ning out and dis­cussing what we would find today at the quartz mine. Cabin one had a large table and we almost all fit around it! The kids wanted to eat back out­side at the pic­nic table, so it worked out well. We cleaned up and headed out. This cabin was a lit­tle fur­ther than our orig­i­nal plan from the Diamond Mine, but we could bring along the dog. It was closer to the quartz mine though, so all in all, it worked out well. That meant that today, we didn’t have far to go for our next round of trea­sure seeking.

A large quartz crystal rock, Wegner's Quartz Mine, Mount Ida, Arkansas

Stare into my crys­tal… er, rock-like thing

We chose well in Wegner’s Quartz Mine. The peo­ple who checked you in were so friendly and help­ful, it was great. I am not a rock hound by any means, so I need some­one to show me what I am look­ing for, and how to find it. They were great for me. The kids have been study­ing min­er­als and rocks in school, so they already knew some of this; how­ever, they have never found them on their own out of the mine. It is a bit dif­fer­ent than study­ing a sam­ple in school which is already cleaned and pol­ished. The instruc­tion was great. No one at the mine made us feel infe­rior for ask­ing novice ques­tions. In fact, they took us under their wing and gave us some extra tips on how to be suc­cess­ful. This was great, since the kids soaked up the advice and moved all over the field look­ing for new “hot spots” for the best finds.

Sifting for Quartz at Wegner's Quartz Crystal Mine, Mount Ida, Arkansas

Red dirt rovers; sift­ing for quartz

This mine was won­der­ful, in that they gave you buck­ets and gar­den shov­els to use. We had brought our own, hav­ing read up on min­ing and hav­ing friends who are rock hounds guid­ing us in the gear we should take. We felt pretty well pre­pared. The mine is really a field of red clay that has been dug to the sur­face from the under­ground mine. This is sur­face min­ing, and you work your way around the field. Each per­son found their spot, and began dig­ging away!

Immediately you could hear excited cries of “look at this piece!” and  “I found a great one over here!”; “This one is so pretty!” This con­tin­ued for hours, as we all filled our buck­ets with prime sam­ples of quartz. One child pro­claimed they had more than they could ever use, so they might sell some of theirs! The great thing about the mine is that you only pay an entrance fee and what­ever you find you take home. There is no addi­tional charge, one piece or one bucket full. It’s up to you and the space you have in your car! We went for buck­ets of course!

The mine had some pic­nic tables set up in the shade, so we took a break and had a pic­nic lunch. Next, we moved over to the gem­stone sluice. Now, these aren’t gem­stones native to Arkansas, so if you’re a purist type of rock hound this won’t appeal to you. But the expe­ri­ence was worth­while for the kids. Where else can you sit with your bucket of dirt, pour it into a screen and run it through a sluice and work hard to iden­tify all the gem­stones you uncover? We had a great time and every­one took home a big bag of gemstones.

Washing crystal in the sluice, Wegner Quartz Crystal Mine, Mount Ida, Arkansas

Washing off our finds in the sluice

We spent around 4 hours at the mine, and it passed by pretty quickly. Of course, we had kids who love to dig in the dirt, and the excite­ment of find­ing lots of trea­sure. We were hot and sweaty at this point from sit­ting out in an open field with near 100 degree temps and what felt like 100% humid­ity, so we decided to go into town for ice cream. There was a great lit­tle ice cream shack, the Dairyette, just up the road, and it hit the spot per­fectly. We sat out­side with our drip­ping ice cream and tried to eat it before it melted. It tasted pretty good after a hot day at the mine.

Since there was a gro­cery store right across the street also, so we picked up a few sup­plies for din­ner, includ­ing char­coal, and headed back to the cabin. We had another din­ner by the fire then spent time wad­ing in the river and enjoy­ing the peace­ful­ness of the river set­ting. This night the kids decided to sleep inside, which is ironic since it was a beau­ti­ful night! Go figure…

Photos by eJourna

For more pho­tos from our Arkansas Diamond Mining adven­ture, check out the gallery.

Related posts:

  1. Sifting for Treasure: Arkansas Diamond Mining Day Two
  2. The Ghost Town of Cairo: Arkansas Diamond Mining, Day One
  3. Hot Springs: Arkansas Diamond Mining Day Four
  4. Superman’s Hometown: Arkansas Diamond Mining Day Five and Six
  5. Ghosts of the South: Exploring Haunted Places in Arkansas

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