Crater of Diamonds State Park,AR,America & Hetian,Xinjiang,China
Crater of Diamonds State Park,AR,America & Hotan,Xinjiang,China

Our world is full of coincidences! Can you believe people are farming stone in both America and China? One is happy family activity in the part and the other is serious adventure for living.

Crater of Diamonds State Park: having fun with families

The Crater of Diamonds State Park is an Arkansas State Park located near Murfreesboro in Pike County, Arkansas, USA containing the only diamond-bearing site in the world that is open to the public.

John Huddleston

The first diamonds found in Pike County, Arkansas, were discovered in August 1906 by John Wesley Huddleston. These stones were sent to Charles S. Stifft, a Little Rock jeweler who confirmed them to be genuine diamonds. Stifft described them as blue-white diamonds, one weighing 2-5/8 carats and the other 1-3/8 carats. To verify his opinion, Stifft sent them to New York and states that “…after subjecting them to every test they were pronounced diamonds of fine grade.”

Early in 1906, Huddleston, a farmer, purchased the 160-acre McBrayer farm to make a home for his family, a decision that would etch him into history. Huddleston recounted the first diamond finds to Tom Shiras of the Arkansas Gazette: “I was crawling on my hands and knees …when my eyes fell on another glittering pebble…I knew it was different from any I had ever seen before. It had a fiery eye that blazed up at me every way I turned it. I hurried to the house with the pebble, saddled my mule and started for Murfreesboro…riding through the lane, my eye caught another glitter, and I dismounted and picked it up out of the dust.”.

Huddleston sold his diamond-bearing land for $36,000. According to a book by Howard Millar, it was Finders Keepers at America’s Only Diamond Mine, 1976, Huddleston became “… nationally famous, and had acquired the nickname ‘Diamond John’.” Although he was also known as the “Diamond King,” he later met with some misfortunes and died a pauper, but was said to have had no regrets. He is buried in Japany Cemetery, about three miles east of the diamond mine.

Early equipment

Because equipment of the early period usually included bottom screens with mesh larger than 1/16 inch (1.6 mm), thousands of smaller diamonds were allowed to pass through. The bulk of these ended up in drainage cuts of varying depths all over the field and in the big natural drains on the east and west edges of the diamond-bearing section of the volcanic deposit of

volcanic breccia on the east side of the 80 acre. In recent decades, those small diamonds have been the bread-and-butter of recreational diamond-digging.

To hunt for diamonds you will search atop a 37 1/2-acre plowed field, the eroded surface of an ancient, gem-bearing volcanic crater. You will access this field through the Diamond Discovery Center, an engaging interpretive center featuring exhibits and an A/V program explaining the three most popular methods of searching for diamonds. The park staff provides free identification and certification of diamonds found here.Crater of Diamonds State Park is the only diamond-producing site in the world where the public can search for diamonds. And the policy here is “finders, keepers.” The diamonds you find are yours to keep.

Tools are not necessary for diamond searching. A good way to search for diamonds is to walk up and down the rows looking for diamonds lying on top of the ground.

Diamonds come in all colors of the rainbow. The three colors unearthed here are white, brown and yellow, in that order. Crater of Diamonds State Park is a rockhound’s delight since, along with diamonds, more than 40 types of rocks and minerals can found here, too. These rocks and minerals include lamproite, amethyst, banded agate, jasper, peridot, garnet, quartz, calcite, barite, and hematite.

Hotan: The home of nephrite jade, adventure for the real warrior

Jade is a name which is given to two different metamorphic stones, Nephrite and Jadeite. Each of these stones are composed of different silicate minerals. Nephrite jade is the original stone of heaven which has been revered by the Chinese for thousands of years.The color of nephrite can vary depending on its source and quality. Commonly it is envisioned as an imperial green stone yet can hold almost any shade of green, blue, red, orange, black, white, violet, orange, brown and yellow.

Jade was used to create many utilitarian and ceremonial objects, ranging from indoor decorative items to jade burial suits. Jade was considered the “imperial gem”.

Green Jade Bottle: Qing Dynasty(1644-1911AD)

Engraved Jade Vessel: Qing Dynasty(1644-1911AD)

From the Kingdom of Khotan, on the southern leg of the Silk Road, yearly tribute payments consisting of the most precious white jade were made to the Chinese imperial court and there transformed into objets d’art by skilled artisans, as jade was considered more valuable than gold or silver.High quality nephrite can be relatively expensive though should only be purchased through trusted dealers.The real high quality nephrite jade only from two places.

One is from Karakash River:

People from all around China go to Hotan and try to find nephrite jade around Karakash River every year.It is the extremely hard work. But most of people who work for finding nephrite jade are very poor. But their life are harder than finding nephrite jade around the Karakash River. Money is the only reason for them to find nephrite  jade.

The other place where the high quality nephrite jade can be found is Kunlun Mountains.Actually,Kunlun Mountains are the cradle of nephrite jade. That means Kunlun is the most likely place to find high quality nephrite jade. Only a few people dare to go there and even fewer people can come back because of the high altitude, bad weather and ferocious beasts. 

There are some pictures I took in a small village that is at the foot of Kunlun Mountains. Hopefully, these pictures can explain why still some people choose to find the jade in Kunlun Mountain from some points.

Yes,for living they have no choice. going to Kunlun is their only chance to get rid of poor.Before they go, it is necessary to prepare some stuff.They don’t have enough money to buy some professional tools as a hiker or climber.Everything can be found in the bazaar. Everything from bazaar is handmade.

Donkey is the best vehicle and friend for the people who plan to go to Kunlun Mountains. So the first thing is to buy a good donkey.

Donkey Market

Comfortable and strong tools are very useful for adventurer to deal with cold environment and ferocious beasts.

Handmade knife

Ropes

To against the bitterly cold on Kunlun, hats that are made from animal’s skin are the best for adventurers.

Nang and Kaobaozi are made from wheat flour and mutton. They are easily to be carried on and hardly to go bad.

Kaobaozi

Nang

Shaving is the last thing adventurers need to do before going to Kunlun. It might be the last time to shave and see families and friends.  

shaving

Trade:Whatever the nephrite jade is found around Karakash River or Kunlun Mountains. They all means money in local dealers’ eyes. There is no check, no credit card only cash and nephrite jade.One small piece of high quality nephrite jade can make people wallow in money.

  It is the whole story about farming stone. Not every stone farmer can get harvest. For some of them, farming process is important and enjoyable. For the others, result is the only thing they care and also the only reason for them to use their whole life to farm stone.  

Learn more from:

Crater of Diamonds State Park: http://www.craterofdiamondsstatepark.com/

Nephrite Jade: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nephrite

Hotan: http://www.chinajade.cn/

Next Week: The difference for cooking BBQ between northwest of China and Taxes

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