Pecos Diamond Hunting in New Mexico

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The desert dirt glints in the morning light. A distinct sparkle flashes between segments of prickly pear. When you stumble across exposed slabs of crumbly, white gypsum, you know the hunt is afoot: the hunt for pecos diamonds. Pecos diamonds are a natural phenomenon unique to Southeastern New Mexico and the Pecos river. In geological terms, they are naturally occurring doubly terminated quartz crystals, which means the best examples of the diamonds have a point at each end and six smooth sides known as facets. While the word “diamond” is a bit misleading because the stones are crystals, calling them diamonds adds an air of adventure making the search for them an ideal activity for kids and visitors from out of town.

All along the Pecos River at about 300 yards, searchers can find pecos diamonds. No digging required and the walking is easy. One of the best places to begin your hunt is on BLM property off of Karr Ranch Road, about an 8 minute drive from the intersection of Main Street and Highway 285. Check out the following links for a map of the region and for rock collecting (known as rockhounding) rules on public lands:

https://www.blm.gov/basic/rockhounding

https://www.blm.gov/maps/frequently-requested/new-mexico

Remember a small pail, or simply load up your pockets, and look for the glimmers of quartz on the ground! Happy hunting!

By: Kaity Hirst

 

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