11 Logan Gap Rd, Mt Ida, AR 71957.
All year Tue-Sun 9-17.
Adults USD 25, Children (7-17) USD 10, Children (0-6) free, Seniors (60+) USD 20.
|Classification:||Quartz Mines Fee Mining|
|Guided tours:||self guided|
Paul L. Broughton (1974):
The Stanley Rock Crystal Claim on Fisher Mountain, Central Arkansas,
Rocks & Minerals, Volume 49, 1974 - Issue 12, pp 723-727, ISSN: 0035-7529.
Thomas R Paradise (2020): Quartz of Arkansas: Geology, History, Legend, Crystals in Art, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas USA. academia.edu
|Address:||Avant Mining Fisher Mountain Rock Shop and Public Dig, 11 Logan Gap Rd, Mt Ida, AR 71957, Tel: +1-870-985-9988. E-mail:|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
|1930||Ocus Stanley begins to collect quartz at Mount Isa.|
|1946||begin of mining at Ocus Stanley Claim.|
|2010||Avant Mining, LLC founded by James Zigras.|
The northern Arkansas sandstones, the Blakely and Crystal Mountain sandstones of Ordovician age. The crystals occur in crevice-like cavities in quartz veins. The veins are usually filled with massive milky quartz. But there are thin, tabular, often clay filled, cavities which contain crystals. Actually almost any cavity is lined with a myriad of clear and colorless crystals of simple habit.
The belt with the minerals is 240 km long, 50 km wide, and runs from Little Rock, Arkansas to northern McCurtain County in Oklahoma. The best minerals are found around the small village Mount Ida in Mountgomery County.
Stanley Mine on Fisher Mountain is an open cast quartz mine located about southeast of Mt Ida. The minerals were collected by the native Indians, the mine was actually opened in the 19th century. It is operated until today for minerals, jewelery and as a fee mine. The minerals are in rather soft sandstone, which makes it feasible to separate them from the surrounding rock. Actually there is only one kind of mineral found which is quartz or rock crystal. It is normally colourless, but may have a minimal pink tint.
The site is the Ocus Stanley Claim, obviously named after Ocus Stanley, the guy who originally claimed it in 1946. He was a well known mineral collector and is mentioned in numerous publications during the 1970s. Mineral collectors were told to check in with him first at his home. He showed his mineral collection, helped to find the location on a map, and granted collection permissions. In the old days people paid a flat 3 dollar fee and started collecting. Later the mutual arrangement payment "of what you think its worth" became common. We have linked an article from the 70s, which is quite funny to read, we can actually remember how it was in the good old days. And we agree to his statement: "In the strictest sense crystals are not mined; they are dug, a pick and shovel being the standard equipment."
It seems at some point his wife created the Stanley Mineral Museum with extraordinary mineral specimens set aside from mineral dealings over a lifetime in the mineral business in Arkansas. It was finally closed by their son Sonny Stanley, when he retired a few years ago, and the minerals were sold to museums and collectors all over the world.
The entrance fee is actually a digging fee, which includes anything you find, there are no weight restrictions. There is also a second site, the Garfield Lewis Claim. It is visited on tours called Avant Mining Private Pocket Digs, which means a small group of people pays a steep price, is carried to the secret location and allowed to dig for minerals a full day. They will have access to a freshly exposed pocket that has never been mined before, which is actually quite exceptional and the reason for the high fee. And digger bars, tools, and baskets are provided for free use.
We recommend to start at the Avant Mining Shop, where you can purchase tickets, minerals, jewelry and more. As far as we know tickets are not sold at the mine. There is also a recently opened free museum with a carefully curated selection of local and regional minerals on display. Highlight is the largest turquoise nugget mined in North America from Mona Lisa turquoise mine in Arkansas.
The site is operated by Avant Mining, LLC, which was named after Avant, Arkansas, where it was founded in 2010 by James Zigras. This was a wavellite mine, but he soon added various other wavellite, variscite and turquoise mines all over Arkansas to the company. Avant Mining is said to be the largest quartz crystal mining company in the world with 23 mines and over 12,000 acres of land.