Some Days Are Diamond: The Hallelujah Diamond

Susie Clark and her husband spent days hunting diamonds at Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas, and on the last day she said a prayer.

The 3.69-carat Hallelujah Diamond alongside an Arkansas commemorative quarter
The 3.69-carat Hallelujah Diamond alongside an Arkansas commemorative quarter

“Are you going to bless me and let me find a diamond today?” Clark, from Evening Shade, Arkansas prayed.

Clark has named the teardrop-shaped rock “the Hallelujah Diamond” because it was an answer to her prayer.

Susie Clark first visited the Crater of Diamonds State Park 33 years ago with her mother and grandmother from Germany. A return visit with her husband was highlighted on Clark’s last day of diamond hunting, on Thursday, April 23, by a beautiful, 3.69-carat white diamond that she found near the South Washing Pavilion of the diamond search area.

Shortly after her prayer, Clark found the teardrop-shaped gem on the surface of the field. She saw the diamond sticking out of a furrow ridge in the plowed dirt. She knew it was a diamond, and said to herself, “This is a diamond. And it’s a big one!”

At this time, she plans to keep her gem.

According to Park Interpreter Waymon Cox, the large diamond is about the size of a pinto bean. “The gem is frosted white with a pearlescent, metallic shine. This is the largest diamond found so far this year. And it’s the largest one found since April 16, 2014, when a 6.19-carat white diamond, named the Limitless Diamond, was found at the park,” Cox said.

Susie Clark holding her 3.69-carat Hallelujah Diamond
Susie Clark holding her 3.69-carat Hallelujah Diamond

“Mrs. Clark’s diamond is the 122nd diamond found at the park this year.”

Cox noted that the park has experienced a lot of rain over the past couple of weeks, plus the park maintenance staff plowed the search field earlier this week.

“This regular endeavor loosens the diamond-bearing soil which, along with rain erosion, brings more diamonds to the surface and helps park visitors’ chances of finding them. With all the rain we’ve been seeing, along with this week’s plowing, there’s a good chance more diamonds will be found on the surface in the days to come.”

He stressed that conditions on the search field are perfect right now for finding diamonds on the surface of the field.

“Diamonds are a bit heavy for their size, and they lack static electricity, so rainfall slides the dirt off diamonds that are on the surface of the search area leaving them exposed. And when the sun comes out, they’ll sparkle and be noticed.”

The search area at the Crater of Diamonds is a 37 ½-acre plowed field that is the eroded surface of the eight largest diamond-bearing deposit in the world, in surface area. It is the world’s only diamond-producing site open to the public. The park’s policy is finder-keepers. What park visitors find is theirs to keep.

The park staff provides free identification and registration of diamonds. Park interpretive programs and exhibits explain the site’s geology and history, and offer tips on recognizing diamonds in the rough.

In total, over 75,000 diamonds have been unearthed at Arkansas’s diamond site since the first diamonds found in 1906 by John Huddleston, the farmer who at that time owned the land, long before the site became an Arkansas state park in 1972. The largest diamond ever discovered in the U.S. was unearthed here in 1924 during an early mining operation. Named the Uncle Sam, this white diamond with a pink cast weighed 40.23 carats.

Notable diamonds found by park visitors since the state park was established at the site include the Amarillo Starlight, a 16.37-carat white diamond discovered in 1975 which ranks as the largest diamond ever found by a park visitor. In 2011, a visitor from Colorado found an 8.66-carat white diamond she named the Illusion Diamond, which is the third-largest gem registered here since the Crater of Diamonds State Park was established in 1972.

Susie Clark's white gem named the Hallelujah Diamond
Susie Clark’s white gem named the Hallelujah Diamond

Another notable diamond from the Crater of Diamonds that has received much national attention is the 1.09-carat, D-flawless Strawn-Wagner Diamond. Discovered in 1990 by Shirley Strawn of Murfreesboro, this white gem weighed 3.03 carats in the rough before being cut to perfection in 1997 by the renowned diamond firm Lazare Kaplan International of New York. The gem is the most perfect diamond ever certified in the laboratory of the American Gem Society. It is on display in a special exhibit in the Crater of Diamonds State Park visitor center.

Another gem from the Crater of Diamonds is the flawless 4.25-carat Kahn Canary diamond that was discovered in 1977. This uncut, triangular-shape gem has been on exhibit at many cities around the U.S. and overseas. It was featured in an illustrious jewelry exhibition in Antwerp, Belgium, in 1997 that included precious stones from throughout the world including the Kremlin collection, the Vatican, Cartier, and Christies.

Over 40 different rocks and minerals are unearthed at the Crater making it a rockhound’s delight. In addition to diamonds, semi-precious gems and minerals, including amethyst, garnet, peridot, jasper, agate, calcite, barite, and quartz, are found in the park’s search area.

Crater of Diamonds State Park is on Arkansas 301 at Murfreesboro. It is one of the 52 state parks administered by the State Parks Division of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism.

Worth Pondering…
Angels are like diamonds. They can’t be made, you have to find them. Each one is unique.

—Jaclyn Smith

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How to Search for Diamonds?

One of the difficult things about searching for diamonds is the fact the best way to find those sparkly gems is not obvious.

Crater of Diamonds State Park offers several different size shovels and screens from which to rent.
Crater of Diamonds State Park offers several different size shovels and screens from which to rent.

So, as in other things in life, a little knowledge can go a long way to save Crater of Diamonds State Park visitors time and energy and improve their chances of finding a diamond.

Several opportunities to gain that knowledge are offered at the park, according to Park Interpreter Margi Jenks.

“We give several demonstrations a day that each last about 20 minutes. During that time we try to tell our visitors what diamonds look like, what kind of material to look for that has half a chance of containing a diamond, and how to correctly do the three different search methods. We cover these same topics in a 7-minute video, which is located on the wall of the upper patio level of our Diamond Discovery Center,” said Jenks.

“Finally, if you don’t have time for the demonstration or video, we have a display and a brochure, Diamond Hunting Tips, which both go over some of the information about our three different search methods.”

The first thing to consider in choosing a search method is both your group circumstances and the circumstances at the park.

Everyone can and should surface search every step that they take and every second they are out on the search field. Surface searching is the easiest search method and requires no tools. You just walk along, looking for rounded pebbles that are extremely shiny. People using the surface searching method found all six of the over 2 carat diamonds registered in 2013. It is also the way that three of the four diamonds recently registered following a thunderstorm were found.

The circumstances at the park—if it has recently rained—will determine whether you choose the dry or wet sifting search method.

The colors of diamonds found at Crater of Diamonds State Park are white, brown, and yellow, in that order
The colors of diamonds found at Crater of Diamonds State Park are white, brown, and yellow, in that order

When the dirt in our search field is wet our volcanic mud is extremely sticky and will fill in all the holes in the 16-inch mesh box screen used for dry sifting.

However, if the search area dirt is dry, using the dry sifting method, a single box screen and a hand trowel is probably the best one for children under the ages of 10-12. Unless the child is tall for his or her age, the water troughs that we have at the washing pavilions for the wet sifting method are too tall for smaller children to reach.

Also, wet sifting is hard work, because it requires hauling the dirt to our washing pavilion. Then, it takes more muscle power to wash the dirt through the wet sifting double screen set. We demonstrate the correct ways to sift using either our dry sifting box screens or our wet sifting double screen set, so that you get the most out of your effort.

With either search method, one way of limiting the amount of energy you expend searching for diamonds is to not dig a hole. In most cases digging a hole is a waste of time and energy.

Diamonds found at the Crater are typically smooth and well rounded. Their shape resembles a polished stone with smooth sides and rounded edges.
Diamonds found at the Crater are typically smooth and well rounded. Their shape resembles a polished stone with smooth sides and rounded edges.

Instead, look for the gravelly areas between the rows or in the ditches and skim off the top half inch. This gravel and dirt will be easier to sift than the deeper clay, which is everywhere under the surface of the search field and will gum up any screens. Also, diamonds are more likely to be found as part of these gravels, because they are slightly heavy for their size.

Finally, the field is rough to walk on, so for anyone who has balance or other walking problems, they will want to be extra careful and either surface search or dry sift. The field is 37.5 acres, which is a large area to cover for small children, people with health conditions, or the very elderly. If any of those circumstances fit your visitor group, you will probably want to make sure that the field is dry when you visit and then choose the dry sifting method over the wet.

All of the equipment—dry sifting box screens and wet sifting double screen sets, as well as buckets and GI or long handled shovels—is available for rent at the Diamond Discovery Center’s tool rental desk. But, you can also bring buckets, shovels, sifting screens, and other tools from home, as long as they are not motorized or battery driven.

Details

Crater of Diamonds State Park

Crater of Diamonds State Park is one of the 52 state parks administered by the State Parks Division of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism.

Search area last plowed: Canary Hill only, last week; Most recent significant rainstorms: Friday, March 28, 2014

Crater of Diamonds Arkansas DiamodnTotal diamonds found in 2014: 85

Total diamonds found in 2013: 368

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

Admission: Adults $8.00, children ages 6-12, $5

Camping: $12-30

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

Address: 209 State Park Road, Murfreesboro, AR 71958

Phone: (870) 285-3113

Website: www.craterofdiamondsstatepark.com

Worth Pondering…

Angels are like diamonds. They can’t be made, you have to find them. Each one is unique.

—Jaclyn Smith

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Catherine’s Landing & AdventureWorks Announce Partnership

Memphis, Tennessee-based RVC Outdoor Destinations, a provider of high-quality outdoor resort properties in the United States, announced the grand opening of AdventureWorks, Hot Springs at its Catherine’s Landing outdoor destination.

Catherine’s Landing
Catherine’s Landing

“Guests are seeking high-quality, memorable experiences.” said Andy Cates, CEO and general partner of RVC Outdoor Destinations, in a news release.

“As we continue to expand our guest offerings at RVC properties throughout the United States, we’re pleased to offer a world-class adventure park that includes 12 zip lines, a sky bridge, and an incredible aerial experience.”

“We’re thrilled by the opportunity to partner with RVC Outdoor Destinations. They offer the complete outdoor hospitality experience to guests who want to camp comfortably, said Jennifer Halverson, President of Adventure Works.

“AdventureWorks is happy to be a part of the RVC movement and excited to add another major tourist attraction to the Hot Springs, Arkansas, area. We felt there was no better place to get people in the air than beautiful Catherine’s Landing.”

While the new regional attraction is open to the public, Catherine’s Landing guests will receive special pricing to experience the new addition.

Catherine’s Landing
Catherine’s Landing

The tour takes about an hour and a half, includes 12 zip lines varying in length of up to 800 feet and heights of up to six stories, provides various tree top activities, and includes routes for all ages and abilities.

The AdventureWorks Hot Springs grand opening will be March 29 and 30.

In addition to Catherine’s Landing in Hot Springs, Arkansas, RVC currently operates Outdoor Destinations and RV Resorts in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas.

Details

Catherine’s Landing

Catherine’s Landing sits on 400 pastoral acres and a mile of water frontage on Lake Catherine.

Location: 6 miles south of Hot Springs

Address: 1700 Shady Grove Road, Hot Springs, AR 71901

Phone: (501) 262-2550

Website: www.rvcoutdoors.com/catherines-landing

RVC Outdoor Destinations

RVC Outdoor Destinations develops, owns, and operates a portfolio of high-quality outdoor hospitality properties located within some of the country’s most beautiful natural settings and offering upscale services and amenities.

Catherine’s Landing
Catherine’s Landing

Memphis, Tennessee-based RVC is redefining the traditional camping experience with its original Outdoor Destination concept and upgraded RV resorts that provide guests with a comfortable, customizable, outdoor vacation through a variety of affordable lodging options, including RV sites, yurts, cabins, and cottages, all with enhanced guest amenities and recreational activities.

RVC operates 10 Outdoor Destinations and RV Resorts in Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Florida, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and North Carolina.

Address: 429 N Main Street, Suite 100, Memphis, Tennessee 38103

Phone: (901) 432-4748

Website: www.rvcoutdoors.com

Worth Pondering…

What will you begin today?

Yesterday is gone.

Tomorrow has not yet come.

We have only today.

Let us begin.

—Mother Teresa

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Fourteen-year-old Girl Finds 3.85-carat Diamond

After hearing about the 5.16-carat, honey brown diamond found at the Crater of Diamonds State Park on July 31 by 12-year-old Michael Dettlaff of Apex, North Carolina, 14-year-old Tana Clymer and her family from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, decided to experience Arkansas’ diamond site for themselves.

Tana Clymer holding Gods Jewel diamond. (Source: Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism)
Tana Clymer holding Gods Jewel diamond. (Source: Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism)

During their first visit to the Crater of Diamonds this week, Tana found a beautiful, 3.85-carat canary diamond while surface searching over the park’s 37 ½-acre search area. The yellow diamond is teardrop shaped and about the size of a jellybean.

According to Tana, she’d been digging and sifting in the dirt for about two hours, then surface searching for 10 minutes, when she noticed the diamond on the surface of the search field.

“I thought it was a piece of paper or foil from a candy wrapper,” she said. “Then, when I touched it, I thought it was a marble.”

Tana told park officials, “I think God pointed me to it. I was about to sprint to join my family, and God told me to slow down and look. Then, I found the diamond!”

Tana said a prayer of thanks, and in His grace, named her beautiful canary gem the God’s Jewel diamond.

Assistant Park Superintendent Bill Henderson said, “This canary diamond is very similar to the gem-quality, 4.21-carat canary diamond found at the Crater of Diamonds by Oklahoma State Trooper Marvin Culver of Nowata, Oklahoma, on March 12, 2006, a gem he named the Okie Dokie Diamond.”

Henderson said, “And now, we’re celebrating another canary diamond find by another Oklahoman!” He noted that Marvin Culver’s diamond was a beautiful representation of the high quality of diamonds that can be found at the Crater of Diamonds. “Tana’s diamond is, too,” he emphasized.

Marvin Culver’s 4.21-carat canary diamond was egg shaped and Tana’s 3.85-carat canary diamond is more of a teardrop shape. Her gem is the 396th diamond found so far this year. On average, two diamonds are found a day by park visitors. The colors of diamonds found at the park are white, brown, and yellow, in that order.

Henderson continued, “No two diamonds are alike, and each diamond finder’s story is unique, too. What an experience for Tana to remember the rest of her life! Tana told me that she was so excited, she couldn’t sleep last night. She’s either going to keep the diamond for a ring, or, if it’s worth a lot, she’ll want that for college.”

Gods Jewel diamond (Source: Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism)
Gods Jewel diamond (Source: Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism)

Henderson noted that with this diamond, the current trend continues of visitors finding diamonds on the surface of the search field. Due to good rains this spring, and some especially hard rains this summer, many of the recent large diamonds were found right on the surface. Diamonds are a bit heavy for their size, so a good downpour will wash the dirt away, leaving the diamond exposed.

The search area at the Crater of Diamonds is a 37 ½-acre plowed field that is the eroded surface of the eighth largest diamond-bearing deposit in the world, in surface area. It is the world’s only diamond-producing site open to the public.

In addition to diamonds, semi-precious gems and minerals are found in the park’s search area including amethyst, garnet, peridot, jasper, agate, calcite, barite, and quartz. Over 40 different rocks and minerals are unearthed at the Crater making it a rock hound’s delight.

The park’s policy is finder-keepers. What park visitors find is theirs to keep. The park staff provides free identification and registration of diamonds. Park interpretive programs and exhibits explain the site’s geology and history, and offer tips on recognizing diamonds in the rough.

Many factors help visitors who like to surface search for diamonds at the park. Park personnel regularly plow the diamond search area to bring fresh, eroded diamond ore to the surface. Then, erosion from heavy rains concentrates the heavy rocks and minerals, like diamonds, in the low-lying parts of the search area.

In total, over 75,000 diamonds have been unearthed at Arkansas’s diamond site since the first diamonds found in 1906 by John Huddleston, the farmer who at that time owned the land, long before the site became an Arkansas state park in 1972. 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 weighed 40.23 carats.

Notable diamonds found by park visitors since the state park was established at the site include the Amarillo Starlight, a 16.37-carat white diamond discovered in 1975 which ranks as the largest diamond ever found by a park visitor.

The second largest find by a park visitor is the Star of Shreveport, an 8.82-carat white gem unearthed in 1981. In 2011, a visitor from Colorado found an 8.66-carat white diamond she named the Illusion Diamond, which is the third-largest gem registered here since the Crater of Diamonds State Park was established in 1972.

Another notable diamond from the Crater of Diamonds that has received much national attention is the 1.09-carat D-flawless Strawn-Wagner Diamond. Discovered in 1990 by park visitor Shirley Strawn of Murfreesboro, this white gem weighed 3.03 carats in the rough before being cut to perfection in 1997 by the renowned diamond firm Lazare Kaplan International of New York.

Gods Jewel diamond alongside quarter (Source: Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism)
Gods Jewel diamond alongside quarter (Source: Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism)

The gem is the most perfect diamond ever certified in the laboratory of the American Gem Society. It is on display in a special exhibit in the Crater of Diamonds State Park visitor center.

Another gem from the Crater is the flawless 4.25-carat Kahn Canary diamond that was discovered at the park in 1977. This uncut, triangular-shape gem has been on exhibit at many cities around the U.S. and overseas. It was featured in an illustrious jewelry exhibition in Antwerp, Belgium, in 1997 that included precious stones from throughout the world including the Kremlin collection, the Vatican, Cartier, and Christies.

And, in late 1997, the Kahn Canary was featured in another prestigious exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History in New York entitled “The Nature of Diamonds.” Former First Lady Hillary Clinton borrowed the Kahn Canary from its owner, Stan Kahn of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and wore it in a special, Arkansas-inspired ring setting designed by Henry Dunay of New York as a special way to represent Arkansas’s diamond site at the galas celebrating both of Bill Clinton’s presidential inaugurals.

Crater of Diamonds State Park is on Arkansas Highway 301 at Murfreesboro. It is one of the 52 state parks administered by the State Parks Division of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism.

Worth Pondering…

Rough diamonds may sometimes be mistaken for worthless pebbles.

—Thomas Browne

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2.13 ct. Brown Diamond Unearthed at the Crater

Clay Jarvis of San Antonio, Texas, has been fascinated by diamonds since he was boy, when at age 10 he visited a diamond cutting facility in Amsterdam, Holland.

Crater of Diamonds Arkansas DiamodnRecently, the business and commercial builder was working on a project in Texarkana and decided to visit all of Arkansas’s 52 state parks. He first visited Millwood State Park near Ashdown, and then he made his initial visit to the Crater of Diamonds State Park at Murfreesboro.

He had first learned about Arkansas’s diamond site when seeing it featured on The Discovery Channel.

On his second trip (September 29, 2013) to the Crater of Diamonds, Jarvis found a 2.13-carat champagne brown diamond in the East Drain area of the diamond search field after surface searching for about an hour and a half.

According to Park Interpreter Margi Jenks, the light brown diamond is somewhat square in shape, and about the size of pencil eraser.

“The diamond has a beautiful metallic shine that is very characteristic of Arkansas diamonds,” said Jenks.

She noted that it’s the 368th diamond found at the park this year. It’s also the 14th diamond find this year weighing over one carat, and the fifth diamond this year weighing over two carats, all of which were brown diamonds found on the surface of the park’s 37 ½-acre search area.

Diamond finder Clay Jarvis commented that the reason he knew it was a diamond when he picked it up was because he had attended the “Diamond Mining 101” demonstration conducted by Jenks during his first visit to the park a couple of weeks ago.

During that interpretive program, he and the other visitors participating in that hands-on demonstration were shown diamonds from the Crater as they learned the principle characteristics of diamonds from Arkansas’s site.

Margi Jenks said, “Mr. Jarvis certainly got an ‘A+’ on Diamond Mining 101 and went to the head of the class by finding a large diamond on his next visit to the park.”

Crater of Diamonds cod_mp_mainimage1aShe continued, “We love it when one of our visitors finds a diamond. We are so happy that his adventure had a happy ending, and in less than two hours during his second visit to the park!”

Clay Jarvis said, “It happens! And, keep looking, because it’s fun.”

He named his stone the Nona “J” Diamond for his wife, his best friend, and sweetheart.

Jarvis continued, “Our first grandchild was born last year. My wife, April, is studying Italian, and ‘Nona’ is the word for grandmother in Italian.”

Margi Jenks said, “Of the 14 diamonds weighing over one carat found at the park this year, the current trend continues of visitors finding diamonds on the surface of the search field. Due to good rains this year, many of the large diamonds were found right on the surface. Diamonds are a bit heavy for their size, so a good downpour will wash the dirt away, leaving the diamond exposed.”

Many factors help visitors who like to surface search for diamonds at the park. Park personnel regularly plow the diamond search area to bring fresh, eroded diamond ore to the surface. Then, erosion from heavy rains concentrates the heavy rocks and minerals, like diamonds, in the low-lying parts of the search area.

Details

Crater of Diamonds State Park

Crater of Diamonds cod_int_sub_diggingCrater of Diamonds State Park is one of the 52 state parks administered by the State Parks Division of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism.

Total diamonds found in 2013: 368

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

Phone: (870) 285-3113

Website: craterofdiamondsstatepark.com

Worth Pondering…
Angels are like diamonds. They can’t be made, you have to find them. Each one is unique.

—Jaclyn Smith

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A Fascinating Story Behind 2 Diamonds

“I frequently receive emailed questions about the Crater of Diamonds State Park and its diamond mine,” wrote Margi Jenks, Park Interpreter in a Crater of Diamonds State Park news release.

5.64 carat white diamond and 7.24 carat yellow diamond
5.64 carat white diamond and 7.24 carat yellow diamond

“However, the inbox on July 18th contained an unusual email that was the beginning of the story of two Crater diamonds.”

The email was written by Dr. Sharon Fitzgerald, who is the Curator of the Mineralogical Museum at the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware.

She was writing because she had recently found a letter about two diamonds that they have on display. One is a 7.24 carat yellow diamond and the other is a 5.64 carat white diamond.

The letter, dated February 17, 1923, was to a man named Irenee Du Pont from Wilmington, Delaware. Irenee Du Pont was one of three brothers who founded what is today the DuPont chemical company. The stationery had the letterhead of Tiffany and Company, 5th Avenue & 37th Street, New York.

Dr. Fitzgerald’s email identified the writer of the letter as George F. Kunz, who was the vice-president of Tiffany and Co. at the time the letter was written.

In the early 1900’s George Kunz was one of the premier gemologists and mineralogists in the world. He also had a long association with the Arkansas diamond mine.

In 1907 he was one of the partners in the Tiffany Group, which optioned a share of the Arkansas Diamond Mining Company. So, he traveled to Arkansas to view the mine and look for diamonds. By that time, John Huddleston, who found the first Arkansas diamond, had accumulated 100-150 stones.

George F. Kunz, circa 1900
George F. Kunz, circa 1900

During his visit to the mine, Kunz examined the diamonds and negotiated with Huddleston, buying the entire group for $43,000. It is possible that the diamonds Irenee Du Pont bought from Tiffany & Co. in 1923 were part of those Huddleston diamond finds.

In the 1923 letter Kunz describes having sent Du Pont seven individual diamonds and one packet of 10 diamonds weighing a total of 8.88 carats. The letter states “The stones that we sent to you are the selection of the most important stones that have come from Arkansas.”

The prices for the two diamonds now in the University of Delaware collection were quoted as $370 for the 7.24 carat yellow and $400 for the 5.64 carat white. Not much money in 2013, but a large sum by 1923 standards.

Du Pont must have also bought the 8.88 carat diamond group for $125. Dr. Fitzgerald reports that in 1964 Du Pont gave all 12 Arkansas diamonds to the University of Delaware Mineralogical Museum.

But the story doesn’t end in 1964. Over 25 years ago the Mineralogical Museum sold the 8.88 carat packet of 10 diamonds to Kristalle, a California gem and mineral company.

This August Kristalle sold the diamonds again to the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center in Piggott, Arkansas, in the northeast corner of the state. So, those 10 diamonds have completed a long journey from their original Arkansas home to Delaware, and back again.

The reason that the University of Delaware’s Arkansas diamond story is so fascinating is that they were only “rediscovered” to be Arkansas diamonds by chance. Dr. Fitzgerald was doing some research on the Irenee Du Pont specimens in their collection and ran across the Tiffany letter, prompting her to send her email to the park.

From the picture that she later sent to me, I was able to identify them as Arkansas diamonds. And, we have no other document in the park archives that directly connects early Arkansas diamonds with their eventual buyer and shows the price that was paid in those early days.

Tiffany Letter
Tiffany Letter

Finally, because Du Pont gave the diamonds to the University of Delaware museum, we are also able to trace the entire history of two especially beautiful Crater diamonds.

Details

Crater of Diamonds State Park

Crater of Diamonds State Park is one of the 52 state parks administered by the State Parks Division of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism.

Search area last plowed: Weekly

Most recent significant rainstorms: August 10, 2013

Total diamonds found in 2013: 360

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

Phone: (870) 285-3113

Website: craterofdiamondsstatepark.com

Worth Pondering…
Angels are like diamonds. They can’t be made, you have to find them. Each one is unique.

—Jaclyn Smith

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12-Year-Old Boy Finds 5.16-Carat Diamond at Crater of Diamonds

While traveling to Fayetteville, Arkansas, to spend some summer vacation time with family there, the Dettlaff family from Apex, North Carolina, decided to drive 100 miles out of their way to have some fun at Crater of Diamonds State Park.

Crater of Diamonds cod_int_sub_diggingThey’d experienced gem mining in the mountains of their own state, but had never visited Arkansas’s diamond site. Their first visit to the park on July 31 proved to be a lucky and memorable one when 12-year-old son Michael Dettlaff found a 5.16-carat, honey brown diamond after surface searching for less than 10 minutes in the park’s diamond search area.

Excited when park staff confirmed that his find was a diamond, Michael was even more surprised when it weighed in at 5.16 carats. Grateful for the blessing of a diamond find, the Boy Scout named his gem the God’s Glory Diamond, according to park staff.

Park Interpreter Waymon Cox said, “It is thrilling any time a child finds a diamond here at Crater of Diamonds State Park. Michael was excited to have found his own diamond, as just about any boy would be, but he was absolutely awestruck when he realized its significance.”

Cox noted, “The gem is the 27th largest diamond found by a park visitor since Arkansas’s diamond site became a state park in 1972. It is the eighth-largest brown diamond that has been certified by park staff.”

Cox continued, “This diamond is truly glorious. The pear-shaped crystal is complete, about the size of a jellybean, and it has a beautiful metallic luster. The diamond’s surface features interesting notches that give it a one-of-a-kind appearance and tell of its powerful and turbulent origins, as magma brought it to the surface from deep within the earth.”

It is the 328th diamond found by a park visitor this year.

According to Cox, “No two diamonds are the same. But what also makes each Crater diamond unique is its story. Michael had only been searching for about 10 minutes when he found his diamond. In fact, Michael’s dad was renting mining equipment to begin his own diamond search when Michael showed the gem to him at the park’s Diamond Discovery Center!”

Crater of Diamonds Arkansas DiamodnHe emphasized, “To Michael the entire experience may have felt like a dream, but it is certainly a dream come true, and an adventure he will remember for the rest of his life.”

Michael found the gem on the north end of the diamond search area near a sign that marks where the 15.33-carat Star of Arkansas, a white diamond that is the third largest diamond to ever come from the site, was found in 1956 when it was a privately-operated tourist attraction.

Park Interpreter Margi Jenks said, “Of the 12 diamonds weighing over one carat found at the park this year, seven of them were found by Arkansans, including the 2.10-carat Andrea’s Birthday Diamond found by a woman from Gentry, Arkansas. The other five diamond finds were by visitors from states as far away as Nevada and North Carolina, and as close as Missouri and Kentucky. No matter what state they came from, all the finders were delighted to own Arkansas diamonds!”

She continued, “With this diamond, the current trend continues of visitors finding diamonds on the surface of the search field. Due to good rains this spring, and some especially hard rains in July, many of the recent large diamonds were found right on the surface. Diamonds are a bit heavy for their size, so a good downpour will wash the dirt away, leaving the diamond exposed.”

In total, over 75,000 diamonds have been unearthed at Arkansas’s diamond site since the first diamonds found in 1906 by John Huddleston, the farmer who at that time owned the land, long before the site became an Arkansas state park in 1972. 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 weighed 40.23 carats. Notable diamonds found by park visitors since the state park was established at the site include the Amarillo Starlight, a 16.37-carat white diamond discovered in 1975 which ranks as the largest diamond ever found by a park visitor.

The second largest find by a park visitor is the Star of Shreveport, an 8.82-carat white gem unearthed in 1981.

In 2011, a visitor from Colorado found an 8.66-carat white diamond she named the Illusion Diamond, which is the third-largest gem registered here since the Crater of Diamonds State Park was established.

Details

Crater of Diamonds State Park

Crater of Diamonds cod_mp_mainimage1aCrater of Diamonds State Park is one of the 52 state parks administered by the State Parks Division of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism.

Search area last plowed: Different areas of the field are now plowed weekly 

Most recent rain: August 12, 2013

Total diamonds found in 2013: 334

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

Phone: (870) 285-3113

Website: craterofdiamondsstatepark.com

Worth Pondering…
Angels are like diamonds. They can’t be made, you have to find them. Each one is unique.

—Jaclyn Smith

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Visitor Finds 2.10 Carat Birthday Diamond at Crater of Diamonds

The diamond is the traditional birthstone for those who were born in the month of April.

Crater of Diamonds cod_mp_mainimage1aHow perfect that Andrea Murphy of Gentry, Arkansas, found a 2.10-carat brown diamond while she and her family visited the Crater of Diamonds State Park last week to celebrate her birthday.

According to Park Interpreter Margi Jenks, “Andrea and eight of her family members gathered together at the Crater of Diamonds to celebrate a milestone, her 30th birthday. Her mother, Karen, came up with the idea to visit Arkansas’s diamond site and celebrate the occasion here since the diamond is Andrea’s birthstone.”

Jenks said, “The square, iced tea brown diamond was a surface find after Andrea had been here for about two hours. At first Andrea thought her find was either a diamond, or some kind of toy. After the park staff verified and registered her diamond, Andrea decided that the best name for it would be the Andrea Birthday Diamond.”

The diamond is the 144th diamond found this year by a park visitor, and it is the sixth diamond since January 1st weighing over one carat. The colors of diamonds found at the park are white, brown, and yellow, in that order.

“Because of their dark color, brown diamonds are the most difficult to find. However, this is the second large brown diamond found at the park in the last two weeks. A beautiful 1.61-carat brown diamond was found by a park visitor from St. Louis, Missouri, on March 28,” said Jenks.

“The Crater of Diamonds State Park is very much a family place. Multi-generational families, like Andrea’s relatives, often enjoy the park together. The park staff is thrilled that this family get-together resulted in just what they’d hoped for-a diamond to celebrate Andrea’s birthday.”

You'll pass through the park's Diamond Discovery Center on your way to the diamond search area. (Credit: Arkansas State Parks)
You’ll pass through the park’s Diamond Discovery Center on your way to the diamond search area. (Credit: Arkansas State Parks)

She noted that the conditions were perfect at the park yesterday for a diamond to be found on the surface of the diamond search area.

“The park received a number of washing rainstorms in March, and then yesterday (April 5) was a beautiful, sunny day. A good hard rain will wash dirt away that may be covering the diamonds. So, when diamonds are on the surface of the field, they sparkle, and can be seen easily.”

The diamond was found in the East Drain area of the field, a 37 ½-acre plowed field that is the eroded surface of the eighth largest diamond-bearing deposit in the world in surface area.

It is the world’s only diamond-producing site open to the public. On average, two diamonds are found each day at the park. The park’s policy is finder-keepers. What park visitors find is theirs to keep. The park staff provides free identification and registration of diamonds. Park interpretive programs and exhibits explain the site’s geology and history and offer tips on recognizing diamonds in the rough.

Other semi-precious gems and minerals found in the park’s search area include amethyst, garnet, peridot, jasper, agate, calcite, barite, and quartz. Over 40 different rocks and minerals are unearthed at the Crater making it a rock hound’s delight.

In total, over 75,000 diamonds have been unearthed at Arkansas’s diamond site since the first diamonds found in 1906 by John Huddleston, the farmer who at that time owned the land, long before the site became an Arkansas state park.

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 weighed 40.23 carats. Other large notable finds from the Crater include the Star of Murfreesboro (34.25 carats) and the Star of Arkansas (15.33 carats).

Details

Crater of Diamonds State Park

Crater of Diamonds Arkansas DiamodnCrater of Diamonds State Park is one of the 52 state parks administered by the State Parks Division of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism.

Search area last plowed:  March 8, 2013

Most recent significant rainstorms: thunderstorm April 2 and 3, 2013, 4.25 inches total in March

Total diamonds found in 2013: 146

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

Phone: (870) 285-3113

Website: craterofdiamondsstatepark.com

Worth Pondering…
Angels are like diamonds. They can’t be made, you have to find them. Each one is unique.

—Jaclyn Smith

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To Dig or Not to Dig

That is the first question that most first-time visitors to the Crater of Diamonds State Park usually ask themselves when they get ready to visit the park.

Crater of Diamonds Arkansas DiamodnEverybody knows that if you are going to go mining, you are going to dig a hole. So, visitors bring shovels, garden trowels, or even pick axes and posthole diggers, according to a news release. Actually, they only need small shovels or garden trowels.

The answer to the dig question is both simple and complicated, and generally involves two more questions:

How deep does the hole need to be to reach the diamonds?

Where should I go to dig the hole?

The answer to the first question is that visitors only need to dig holes if they are looking for ancient buried stream gravel layers. These stream gravels were laid down by the streams that have always drained the diamond field since the Crater diamond volcano erupted approximately 106 million years ago.

From looking at early 1900’s maps of the diamond field we can see that three areas originally contained the streams that have always drained the field. These areas are called the East Drain, West Drain, and North Drain.  Visitors can locate these areas by looking at the large map of the diamond field located just inside the back door of the visitor center.

To answer the second question, where should I go to dig the hole, the depth to these ancient stream gravels varies with the location within each of the drains. Experienced miners say that it varies from 2- 3 feet to over 10 feet below the present ground surface. If first time miners decide that they want to dig a deep hole, they need to consult our rules on the proper way to dig holes and of course they also need to fill the holes in completely at or before the end of each day.

cod_photos_19Most Crater of Diamonds visitors choose instead to look for diamonds in the surface gravels that are laid down each time the field is washed by a good, hard rain. Any diamonds that are washed out of the soil by the rain will end up settling out of the water in any place where the flowing rainwater streams slow down.

This phenomenon happens in many places between each plowed row and in the road ditches and natural low areas found throughout the field. When a visitor examines these areas they will see little gravel bars. These bars look like the gravel bars that form when we wash down our concrete driveways with a hose. Because the diamonds are slightly heavy for their size, they settle out with the heavier gravel pieces and make the gravel bars.

Then, all the visitor needs to do is scrape off the top half inch of material from those gravel bars to put through wet or dry screens, or use a garden trowel to spread the gravel out and look for the shiny diamonds.

Visitors who do dig shallow holes away from the drains will find themselves with a bucket or screen full of what is called the “evil, miserable clay” (EMC). Unfortunately, this EMC gums up the dry screens, and takes visitors a long time to work through the wet screens.

Trying to deal with the EMC wastes a lot of time which could be better spent by only working with gravel found in the surface gravel bars in the diamond field ditches and rows.

So, the answer to the “To dig or not to dig?” question is really the following.

YES, dig a deep hole in or near the old stream gravel drains.

And, NO, don’t dig a shallow hole in the rest of the field. Instead look for those surface gravel layers that Mother Nature gave us the last time the diamond search area was washed by a good, hard rain. Scrape up those gravels with a small shovel or garden trowel and then run the gravel through a screen.

Details

Crater of Diamonds State Park

Crater of Diamonds cod_int_sub_diggingCrater of Diamonds State Park is one of the 52 state parks administered by the State Parks Division of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism.

Search area last plowed:  December 4, 2012

Most recent significant rainstorms: January 12

Total diamonds found in 2013: 37

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

Phone: (870) 285-3113

Website: craterofdiamondsstatepark.com

Worth Pondering…
Angels are like diamonds. They can’t be made, you have to find them. Each one is unique.

—Jaclyn Smith

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Some Days Are Diamond: Florida Man Finds 1.95 ct. Brown Diamond

The second-largest diamond found so far this year at Crater of Diamonds State Park was certified on the afternoon of November 28.

Doug Lay holds his newly found 1.95-carat dark brown diamond. (Credit: Crater of Diamonds State Park)

The 1.95-carat dark brown gem is about the size of an English pea, with a round shape and a pitted surface.

40-year-old Doug Lay, a certified nursing assistant from Hernando, Florida, discovered the coffee-colored gem around 1:00 p.m. while wet sifting in the East Drain, a trench along the east side of the park’s 37 ½-acre diamond search area.

Lay is no stranger to diamond finds; he has found more than 30 over the past four years, but this is his largest find yet!

Lay first learned about Crater of Diamonds State Park from his father, one of the park’s longtime diamond miners.

“Dad’s been coming to the Crater of Diamonds off and on for about 17 years. Whenever I’m on vacation, I like coming to Arkansas to spend time with him, and we enjoy searching for diamonds together.”

Lay said he discovered the large diamond in the one-eighth inch screen he uses for wet sifting.  Many park visitors use stacked screens of progressively-smaller sizes, usually ranging from one-quarter inch to one-sixteenth inch, to sort diamond-bearing gravel by size and make searching more productive.

Lay noted that although many visitors find big diamonds in larger, quarter-inch screens, “If it’s just the right shape, a big diamond can fall through the larger screen and end up in smaller gravel.”

When Lay first saw the brown gem in his gravel, he immediately knew it was a diamond and exclaimed, “Dad, you’ve got to come look at this!”

He also showed it to a few friends who were searching nearby before taking it to the park’s Diamond Discovery Center to have it weighed and certified.

Nearly 500 diamonds have been found at Crater of Diamonds State Park in 2012.

Doug Lay holds his diamond discovery in his hand. (Credit: Crater of Diamonds State Park)

According to Park Interpreter Waymon Cox, “Mr. Lay’s diamond is topped in weight this year only by the 1.99-carat yellow Stacy Diamond, which was discovered in March by a ninth grade student from Garland, Texas.”

Lay’s diamond is the largest brown gem registered at the park since the 3.65-carat Kings Mountain Pinnacle Diamond was discovered on November 21, 2010.

Cox continued, “No two Crater diamonds are ever completely alike, though they all share similar characteristics.  Mr. Lay’s diamond has a bright, metallic shine indicative of most Crater diamonds, but it also features an unusual pitted surface which gives it a unique appearance.  Even in the rough, each Crater diamond is beautiful and interesting in its own way.”

According to Lay, the diamond’s overall shape and texture remind him of a musket ball. He has not picked a name for his diamond yet but says he plans to keep it at this time as a souvenir of the time he has enjoyed outdoors with his dad.

A total of 493 diamonds have been found at Crater of Diamonds State Park this year, 13 of which have weighed more than one carat.

Other large notable finds from the Crater include the Star of Arkansas, a 15.33-carat white diamond discovered in 1975, and the Star of Shreveport, an 8.82-carat white gem unearthed in 1981. In April 2011, the 8.66-carat white Illusion Diamond became the third-largest gem registered at the Crater since it became an Arkansas State Park in 1972.

Another notable diamond from the Crater of Diamonds that has received much national attention is the 1.09-carat D-flawless Strawn-Wagner Diamond. Discovered in 1990 by Shirley Strawn of Murfreesboro, this white gem weighed 3.03 carats in the rough before being cut to perfection in 1997 by the renowned diamond firm Lazare Kaplan International of New York. The gem is the most perfect diamond ever certified in the laboratory of the American Gem Society. The diamond is on display in a special exhibit in the Crater of Diamonds State Park visitor center.

Diamonds come in all colors of the rainbow. The colors found at the Crater of Diamonds are white, brown, and yellow, in that order.

Other rocks and minerals found at the park include amethyst, garnet, peridot, jasper, agate, calcite, barite, and quartz, making it a rock hound’s delight!

The park remains open year-round, seven days a week, closing only on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Park staff provides free identification and certification of diamonds. Park interpretive programs and exhibits explain the site’s geology and history and offer tips on recognizing diamonds in the rough.

Close-up of diamond in Doug Lay’s hand. (Credit: Crater of Diamonds State Park)

Visitors may choose to bring their own mining tools (no battery-powered or motorized equipment) or rent equipment from the Diamond Discovery Center. Other park services include a campground, picnic areas, walking trails, gift shop, museum, and a seasonal water park and restaurant. Motels, hospitals, and other conveniences are available in nearby towns.

Crater of Diamonds State Park is located on Arkansas Highway 301 in Murfreesboro.

Details

Crater of Diamonds State Park

Crater of Diamonds State Park is one of the 52 state parks administered by the State Parks Division of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism.

Search area last plowed:  September 28, 2012

Most recent significant rainstorms: 2 inches on November 11

Total diamonds found in 2012: 493

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

Phone: (870) 285-3113

Website: craterofdiamondsstatepark.com

Worth Pondering…
Angels are like diamonds. They can’t be made, you have to find them. Each one is unique.

—Jaclyn Smith

Read More