Spanish explorers visited Arkansas in the 1540’sand had at least one major gold discovery. The gold mine the Spanish found is today called “The Old Spanish Diggings,” but the early Spanish missed one thing, diamonds. The Crater of Diamonds State Park is located in Pike County, Arkansas. The largest diamond ever found was “The Uncle Sam,” which weighed 40.23 carats.
There are many areas to rock and gem prospect throughout the state for amethyst, agate, jasper, quartz, calcite, and barite. The state’s main periods of gold prospecting occurred between 1800 and 1830. Both silver and gold have been found in the Ouachita Mountains. Gold here is often found in manganese-stained quartz veins.
The Ouachita Mountains in the Ouachita National Forest are public lands open to non-commercial rock hounding and prospecting. Check with district rangers before doing any activity.