Sure, you could luxuriate in a spa to soak up the healing powers of 4,000-year-old thermal spring water… but wouldn’t you rather scramble around like a prospector in red clay dirt with a pickaxe? For 25 bucks, you can spend an afternoon mining for quartz crystals at Avant Mining. For $1,000, the crew will escort you to a private dig location where the earth is so lousy with crystals that you hardly need tools, and the retail value of your crystal haul is sure to be more than what you paid.
Avant’s Ocus Stanley Claim on Fisher Mountain is the oldest public dig in the state of Arkansas. Mineral collector Ocus staked his claim in 1946, charging $3, or pay “what you think it’s worth” for amateur rock hunters to take a crack at finding a jackpot specimen. The Stanley Mineral Museum was set up by Mrs. Stanley to showcase the literal museum-worthy crystals that were harvested from the mountain. Several pieces from Fisher Mountain would be exhibited at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, one of which weighs over 900 pounds.
The Garfield Lewis Claim is where the real magic happens. A private pocket dig on this site will set you back $1,000, but you just might earn it back in crystals. “Points,” “burrs,” and “twins” are just a few of the terms bandied about on the mountain. They all make sense when you’re holding one in your hand.
Know Before You Go
Stop at the Avant Mine shop to get your public dig permit. Pocket digs by appointment. Email Avant Mining for more details.