This is one of the most asked questions I get, and it is actually a little bit difficult to answer for a variety of reasons.
First, there are several options available. The mines are all the same in that you are digging for crystal, but they also vary greatly in amenities, ease of access, whether or not they are currently being worked, etc…
Second, it is important to note that digging crystal is very much like fishing. It is dependent on the weather (not just on the day of, but also the days leading up to), how many people have been there before you, what they are finding in the “pit” and subsequently bring up to the tailings, how often they have turned over the tailings, on and on. Believe it or not, it even depends on your mood. Add to that already full equation there are several mines from which to choose making a sound recommendation difficult at best.
Third, I have also learned over the years, there is a fair amount of local politics to which I am not immune, so my mentioning or recommending one mine and not another, mine owners in the past have become rather testy and feel slighted or purposefully maligned which is never my purpose. They are all wonderful mines and have their own pluses and minuses. Honestly speaking, the only reason I would suggest one mine over another would be that to mention every mine, it’s assets and liabilities, would require much more time than I would like to spend writing and you would want to spend reading.
For this reason, I like to suggest the Mt. Ida Chamber of Commerce website. Many of the mines have web sites which you can access through their homepage. You may want to contact the mines by email prior to going, and print out the crystal mine websites’ info and take it with you when you go. Mt. Ida is a tiny town, and all the shop owners are very helpful. Ask questions.
MOUNT IDA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
P.O. Box 6 Mount Ida, AR 71957 (870) 867-2723 e-mail:
[email protected] or they have a very nice web site. Visit them at:
To point you in a general direction, (if this is your first dig) I might suggest Ron Coleman’s mine in Jessieville. I suggest this one because it is the easiest one to both find and access. They have bathrooms (some of the mines, the bathroom is a tree or a bush !) and vending machines (soda/candy) and a large rock shop which is fun, too. They have also started offering zip line rides over the pit which look scary as heck to me, and while that’s not my bag, it may be yours!
At nearly all of the mines, it is a set fee per person to dig, you take all you find. It is good to ask when the mine was last “worked”, this will tell you whether there will be fresh tailings. It is handy to know whether they have amenities on site (bathroom etc), or whether you can reach the mine in the type vehicle you have etc. It also depends on whether you want a very rustic, physical, no-frills digging experience or a more polished, less strenuous dig. Your physical limitations and desires play heavily into the equation.
Anyway… I hope this is helpful to you. I realize it is a lot of information for you to ferret out on your own. I apologize I can’t whittle it down more than that for you, but at least I can point you to a log and hand you a knife so you can begin whittling based on your personal situation. I have information on my website on how to dig, what to bring, etc. (Scroll to the bottom for a printable version). Next blog post I will talk a little about the digging experience itself. So, with this post you can figure out where you might like to go, and next time I will give you some hints on what to bring, what to look for and etc.