Arkansas’s quartz crystal deposits are unparalleled in the United States in both quality and quantity. In fact, worldwide, only Brazil offers any real competition to Mount Ida, Arkansas’s “Quartz Crystal Capital of the World” claim to fame. Throughout the Ouachita Mountains, naturally occurring crystal veins are abundant. Locals know, in the Ouachita’s quartz can be found almost anywhere. However, for rockhounds, the best places to dig are in operating crystal mines.
Arkansas’s quartz crystal mines are surface mines, or “open pit” mines, where the mine operators have pulled back the top layer of earth using heavy equipment in order to mine the quartz veins below. The rockhounding experiences available vary by mine, according to the operating procedures of each mine as well as the naturally occurring quartz deposits themselves.
Some mines allow the public to dig in their “tailings” only, large mounds of dirt which have been removed by the mine operators in pursuit of larger deposits, while others permit digging on a wall or in an open pocket (sometimes for an additional fee). Still others maintain “seeded” tailings piles or areas, some especially suited for children, where other minerals and items of interest to amateur rockhounds can be found in more of an “Easter egg” hunting experience.
Characteristics of the quartz found in each mine vary according to the unique geological features in each area. In some mines, the crystals are found in clay, in others, the crystals may be attached to a matrix of sandstone or shale.
Some mines offer a “dig all day – keep all you dig” experience while others offer tours and dig by the hour rates. No matter where you choose to dig, you’re sure to enjoy the experience of discovering your own hidden treasure! Here is a list of pay-to-dig quartz crystal opportunities:
In Montgomery county (Mount Ida/Story):
Sweet Surrender Crystal Mine
Mine ID: 0301826
Horseshoe Bend Rd and Hwy 27N, Story, Arkansas
The Crystal Seen
Mine ID: 0301837
2568 Highway 270 E, Mount Ida, Arkansas
Wegner Quartz Crystal Mines
Mine ID: 0301530, 0301710, 0301831
82 Wegner Ranch Rd, Mount Ida, Arkansas
In Garland county (Hot Springs):
Jim Coleman Crystal Mines
5837 North Highway 7, Jessieville, Arkansas 71949
In Polk county (Mena):
Board Camp Campground & Crystal Mine
Mine ID: 0301993
110 Hickory Ridge Rd., 71953
Please Note: This list is a work in progress! If you know of a “Dig Your Own” Quartz Crystal Mine in Arkansas we’ve forgotten, please let us know!