Digging for Diamonds

Last month I reported than an Arkansas couple had found a flawless 2.44-carat silver white diamond at the Crater of Diamonds.

A 3.86 ct. diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park. Image courtesy fox16.com

The Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas, has now yielded an even bigger find, a 3.86-carat jewel dubbed the “Heart of Arkansas” for its heart shape.

A longtime visitor to the park from Murfreesboro, where the park is located, unearthed the diamond while sifting through the park dirt earlier this month.

“It’s the largest diamond in just about a year,” said park guide and educator Waymon Cox. “‘Diamond in the rough’ is a bit of a misnomer. We have many beautiful rough diamonds that can be used in jewelry.”

Cox describes the diamond as the size of a piece of candy corn, with a pearly white shine.

The local man who found the diamond this week has chosen to remain anonymous. Although the park isn’t sure how much the gem is worth, Cox characterized his find as having the “potential to be substantially more valuable” than a 2-carat diamond found three years ago. That diamond was cut and appraised for $22,000.

It’s the largest find at the park since someone dug up an almost 5-carat brown diamond last April.

A Gem among Diamond Mines

The only one of its kind in the country, Crater of Diamonds is a 37.5-acre state park on the site of an ancient volcanic pipe that, 95 million years ago, brought thousands of diamonds and semi-precious stones to the Earth’s surface.

Found at the Crater of Diamonds State Park in 1990 by Shirley Strawn of Murfreesboro, Arkansas, this diamond weighed 3.03 carats in the rough. Photo courtesy Arkansas State Parks

Since the park is open to the public anyone can go home substantially wealthier than when they arrived. On average, two diamonds are found each day at the park. The Crater of Diamonds usually yields about five to seven large diamonds a year.

The largest diamond ever discovered in the United States was unearthed here in 1924 during an early mining operation. Named the Uncle Sam, this white diamond with a pink cast was a whopping 40.23 carats. It was cut down to a 12.5 carat emerald-shaped stone and valued at more than half a million dollars.

Other large notable finds from the Crater include the Star of Murfreesboro (34.25 carats) and the Star of Arkansas (15.33 carats).

Another park find, the Strawn-Wagner diamond, has been certified as the world’s only perfect diamond by the American Gem Society. It was unearthed in 1990.

Owner John Huddleston found the first diamond here in 1906 when it was part of his farm. The land has changed hands many times and several failed mining ventures have been attempted.

The State of Arkansas bought the land in 1972 to establish the state park.

The three most common diamond colors found (in order) are white, brown, and yellow. More than 40 different rocks and minerals can be found in the park, including amethyst, garnet, and quartz.

After having your stone identified at the Diamond Discovery Center, you can have your diamonds weighed and certified at no charge. However, the park staff is not trained nor equipped to estimate the value of your find. But they are happy to provide you with a list of diamond cutters, who will be able to price your diamond upon examination—a diamond’s value is based primarily on its ability to be cut, with color and clarity as secondary factors.

Diamond-Hunting Tips

  1. Look for a small, well-rounded crystal. A diamond weighing several carats may be no larger than a marble.
  2. Diamonds have an oily, slick outer surface that dirt or mud will not stick to, so look for clean crystals.
  3. If you think you have a diamond, hold it carefully or place it in a small sack provided by the park.
  4. Diamonds may be any of several colors. The most common found at the Crater are clear white, yellow, and brown.
  5. Bring any you find to the Diamond Discovery Center for free identification and certification.

Camping

Camping site at Crater of Diamonds State Park. Photo courtesy Jaycocamprs

Crater of Diamonds State Park is the perfect place to stay while not only enjoying the diamond mining field but also to explore the Lake Greeson area and the Ouachita Mountains. The campground consists of 47 Class AAA sites with tent pads, 50 amp power, water, and sewer hookups that can handle up to 70 foot rigs.

Crater of Diamonds State Park

Details

Operating Hours: Visitor Center/Diamond Discovery Center is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m., extended summer hours

Admission: Adults $7.00, children (age 6-12) $4

Camping: $21-28

Location: From Murfreesboro, take Arkansas 301 and go 2.5 miles southwest to the park

Address: 209 State Park Road, Murfreesboro, AR 71958

Contact: (870) 285-3113

Worth Pondering…
Lost, yesterday, somewhere between sunrise and sunset, two golden hours, each set with sixty diamond minutes. No reward is offered for they are gone forever.

—Horace Mann

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