For "rock hounds" the state of Arkansas is home to crystal mines, a diamond park and rock shops that will keep rock and gem lovers very busy as they tour gift shops, dig for crystals or sift through grab bags of earth.
Mount. Ida is considered by many to be the "Quartz Crystal Capital of the World" as millions of years of geologic activity created the right conditions for the production of crystals in the area where several major mines are located.
Mount. Ida is home to several mines and shops that include Judy's Crystan 'N Things, Gee & Dee Crystal, Wegner Crystal Mines, Fiddler's Ridge, O.Sonny Stanley, Starfire Mines, Sweet Surrender Crystal Mine, Arrowhead Crystal Mine, Clear Creek Crystal Mine, Stikx & Stones, Atlantis Found, Coleman's Rock Shop, John Be Crystals, Blue Moon Crystals & Jewelry, The Crystal Seen Trading Company, Judy's Crystals & Things, Wegner Crystal Mines, Boxer's Crystals, Fiddlers Ridge Rock Shop & Crystal Mines, Leatherhead Quartz Crystals and Wright's Rock Shop.
Visitors to Arkansas will also find the Coleman Mines over in Jessieville
Thousands of years ago the area's Native Americans cared the quartz crystals into arrowheads and spear points and can still be found in plowed fields or stream beds.
Later, early settlers dug for the crystals in winter so they could make extra income by taking them to Hot Springs and selling them to spa clients.
With the advent of radio, the crystals were in demand as an electronic component but modern transistors saw their need drastically diminish
Commercial popularity did not revive until the 1970s with the New Age spiritualist movement and the belief that crystals could improve health. Today their popularity is mostly as a household decoration.
Geologist say that millions of tons of crystals are located underneath the topsoil along what is now the Crystal Mountain range in the Ouachita Mountains and the mines welcome you to come and dig.
"Rock shops" offer ready to buy crystals or some sites offer a "dig your own" experience.
The World's Championship Quartz Crystal Dig is held every year in Mount Ida which is, according to some, the home to some of the best quartz crystals known to man.
Just two miles southeast of Murfreesboro is the Crater of Diamonds State Park where visitors can try their luck at hunting for diamonds. It is here that over 70,000 real diamonds have been dug up at the world's only public diamond site where visitors can actually search and keep what they find.
The 27 acre plowed field is within a state park and several world-known diamonds have been found here from the Strawn-Wagner 1.09 carat diamond all the way up to the Uncle Sam 40.23 carat diamond which is the largest ever found in North America.
Along with diamonds, you may also find amethysts, garnets, jasper, agates and quartz.
Another "rock hound's" paradise is Magnet Cove located in Hot Spring County. The area gets its name from the magnetically charged iron ore deposits but also has the highest concentration of a larger variety of minerals than any site in the world.