If you've been following me for a while, you know I love making a yearly trip to Arkansas to mine Clear Quartz Crystals! This year, I decided to do it big and finally sign up for a pocket dig. Digging your own crystals is one of the most powerful & beautiful experiences. Below is a guide for everything you need to know for your own pocket dig or mining experience in Arkansas.
WHAT IS A POCKET DIG?
Some crystal mining experiences are just searching through the tailings - this can sometimes just be piles of dirt brought up from the mine via dump trucks. If you are not familiar with a pocket dig it is a special crystal dig where you are taken to an actual pocket where the crystals grow in the earth. This is an area that is very rich in minerals and you are guaranteed to find lots of crystals growing in pockets of clay in the earth.
PRIVATE POCKET DIG WITH AVANT MINING IN ARKANSAS
After a few trips to dig with Avant Mining in the past I decided to hit them up to dig an actual crystal pocket at their Fisher Mountain Mine. This mine in particular is known for producing the clearest of clear quartz in probably all of North America.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO MINE CRYSTALS?
Mining your own crystals at a public mine can cost anywhere from $25 - $1000+ depending on the experience you are looking for. At Avant Mining specifically they have child & senior pricing as well for their public dig sites. You do get to keep all the crystals that you mine in the agreed upon timeframe set up by the mine.
For a pocket dig you will be dishing out the big bucks, Avant Mining has options for 2 people starting at $1000 but if you are wanting to mine the largest crystals you can look at prices all the way up to $10,000. (We are talking massive statement pieces, huge clusters and very large water clear points!) This is a full day of digging 9am-5pm, but you can stay less time if you feel you found what you came for. After your dig, they ask that you take what you find to the warehouse so they can make sure you found your moneys worth! They do insure you will find crystals worth up to $1000-2000 for a pocket dig. But on the off chance you do find crystals valued well above the $2000, you have the option to purchase them at a wholesale price. Read more about it all here.
WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN MINING CRYSTALS
You will be getting very dirty with iron rich, orange clay. Wear clothes and shoes that you do not care if they get stained. If you are digging in the summer months it will be very hot so a hat or beach umbrella might be good choice. Except to find lots of crystals if you’re paying for a dig! These are very mineral rich areas. It can be tiring but exciting, so you should remind yourself to take breaks even though it is so much fun to dig, pace yourself.
WHAT TOOLS DO YOU NEED TO MINE CRYSTALS?
When we went for our pocket dig, we were told we only needed to bring ourselves but I did have a few favorite tools handy. My favorite is a large flat head screw driver for prying the crystals out of the earth. Gloves are also recommended, Avant Mining provided some for us, these crystals are very sharp and can easily cut your hands as you’re digging. I also really suggest brining an apron so you can easily put your favorite small finds in your apron pockets. (I forgot one this time and you can see in the photo above how many I fit in my shorts' pockets.)
HOW DO YOU CLEAN CRYSTALS?
The crystals you find will most likely have a thick clay with lots of orange iron. There are a few different methods you can try to clean this off your clear quartz crystals that I have tried. (Or you can leave the orange clay on for a more natural look!) The least invasive method is using a water gun or high pressure water hose to blast it off. For the other methods using chemicals & acid below, be sure to research each one yourself to keep yourself safe.
CLEANING CRYSTALS WITH IRON OUT
You could also soak them in Iron Out - a cleaning product you can find at the hardware store, usually used to clean iron build up off of a toilet bowl. Iron Out is a relatively safe chemical to use, but I do suggest gloves. You can soak your crystals in a mix of Iron Out and water for several hours and rinse with clean water. A toothbrush is also a great idea to help brush away any left over mud. This process is slower than using an acid so repeat if necessary and have patience.
CLEANING CRYSTALS WITH OXALIC ACID
The last method is by far the most intense using Oxalic Acid. This is a strong acid you can purchase online or sometimes from the mines themselves. It is used as a wood deck cleaner and has many other industrial applications. You will need to wear safety equipment like gloves and goggles and research how to dispose of the acid properly by bringing it back to a base solution instead of an acidic solution. You can leave the crystals to soak in the acid & water in either a bucket outside overnight or use a crock pot on low with lots of ventilation if you are indoors. ( Note - this will ruin your crockpot for future use with foods so I do suggest finding a used crockpot at a thrift store for this process.)
*IMPORTANT - to not crackle the inside of your clear quartz, be sure not to transport crystals from very hot water to very cold water. The difference in temperature can not only cause them to crackle on the inside but also can break your crystals into pieces.
MORE INFORMATION ABOUT CRYSTAL MINING IN ARKANSAS
I have checked out & reviewed a few other public mines in Arkansas over the past few years. You can learn even more about those mines and mining your own crystals here.
OUR HAND DUG CRYSTALS
Be on the lookout for the crystals we found to be available for purchase on our site soon. Including a limited amount of jewelry handmade by my mama with our hand dug crystals. We are in the process of cleaning them up right now! Stay tuned. CLICK FOR OUR CRYSTAL SHOP and CLICK FOR OUR SAVED STORIES FROM THE DAY OF OUR DIG!