i'm plannig a trip later this year,,yes you can use your own pans and classifiers,buckets,,,,no powered equipment,,,the last price check about three months a go it cost $5.00 a day dig all day,,keep what you find,,they have garnets too,,,they have instructions,,and displays on what to look for and how to find it,,
Thanks for the responses. It is a bit over a 1000 miles for me to get there. If i drive it in one day I will be worthless the next, or I can just drive it in 2 days. Leaves about 3 days to hunt.
Or, I just might go to the UP. I haven't decided yet.
I can make some different size screens easily for hunting diamonds.
RingDancer.....did you use screens, or just eyeball the ground you were walking on?
Ok I have to give you the low down on the park from my experience.
The volcanic mud is sticky and heavy. Bring boots and spray them with some WD-40 before venturing out into the diamond field. Otherwise you'll have 90lb legs in no time at all and it don't shake off!
If you don't like crowds, stay home. Kids running amuck everywhere.
Actual number of diamond finds vs. visitors means you are more likely to get struck by lightning than find a quality diamond. Lesser quality ones are fairly common.
The method of choice by the locals is to bring a metal prod rod at least 5ft long. They force it down through the sticky mud in hopes of hitting a pocket of gravels. One can hear the "tink-tink" sound of the gravels. They then dig down to the gravel pocket and harvest from there for panning.
Gem panning is sort of like gold panning. There are wash stations situated throughout the park that are big dumpster like containers full of water. Gem pans are round with a conical screen bottom. The gravels are placed into the pan and swirled in the tub of water, washing off the mud. Good quality diamonds are slick naturally and mud won't stick to the surface. So you are stratifying the gravels with the swirling. Diamonds and other heavy gems work their way to the bottom of the cone.
You then turn to one of the sorting tables and quickly invert your pan upside down. Pick up the pan and scoop off the top few inches of the tip off the cone. All valuable stones will be there as they are heavier than the rest of the junk.
Or you can pan them in a regular gold pan if you're good at panning. If you can practice with quartz and catch little pieces of it in your pan then you will also catch diamonds.
You can take your finds to the staff gemologist on site to see if what you have. If you have found a diamond they toot the horn.
Stop there back in the 70s when I was on my way to visit my brother at Fort Hood. Didn't find any diamonds ( at least I don't think so, probably tossed a big honking piece of ice into the bushes for all I know) but had fun anyways. Would like to go again some day.
Been there twice. First time 8 diamonds were found that day (they blow a whistle whenever someone finds one), but none by me. Second time I pulled a huge joke on a buddy with a big piece of crystal. He's not forgiven me yet. No diamonds that time either. Planning on going again with the family. Maybe the kids will have better luck finding one.