By Waymon Cox
Greetings from Crater of Diamonds State Park!
With 2018 well underway, it’s fun to look back at last year’s diamond finds and wonder what the new year will have in store. 2017 was a record-breaking year for park visitation, with more than 182,000 visitors searching for diamonds in Arkansas. Park staff certified 445 diamonds during the year, weighing a total of 103.33 carats—nearly seven carats more than in 2016! Arkansans registered 109 diamonds, while visitors from 36 other states and two foreign countries registered 336 gems.
Of all diamonds registered last year, 299 were white, 72 were brown, and 74 were yellow. Fifteen gems weighed more than one carat each, and three weighed over two carats! While most diamonds were found by wet sifting, more than one out of every ten were found on top of the ground in the park’s 37.5-acre search area, including the three largest finds of the year!
After attending a baseball tournament in southern Arkansas on March 11, 14-year-old Kalel Langford, of Centerton, Ark., fulfilled his dream of visiting the Crater of Diamonds. After only 30 minutes of surface searching at the park, Langford picked up a 7.44-carat dark brown diamond—the largest of 2017 and the 7th largest since the Crater of Diamonds became an Arkansas State Park in 1972! The gem was about as large as a pinto bean, with a cushion shape. Langford named his find Superman’s Diamond for his unique connection to the DC superhero—his first name is similar to Superman’s birth name, Kal-El.
On May 6, Victoria Brodski, of Tulsa, Okla., visited the Crater of Diamonds with her family for a special birthday celebration. A few minutes after entering the search area, Brodski was searching near a culvert with her daughter and brother when she picked up what she thought was a pretty piece of glass with a smooth, rounded surface. She later learned that she had discovered a 2.65-carat brown gem, the third-largest of 2017! Brodski dubbed her diamond the Michelangelo, because her family had decided to use the names of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as code words in case any of them found a diamond.
The following Saturday, Jennifer and Wendell Fox, of Joliet, Mont., were surface searching near the East Drain of the diamond search area, when Wendell Fox spotted a diamond about the size of an English pea. The gem weighed 2.78 carats and was the second-largest diamond found last year. It had an oval shape, with a champagne brown color and a sparkling shine. Fox registered the diamond in both his and his wife’s names, as a memento of their once-in-a-lifetime experience. They chose to name it the Way Out Yonder, as a tribute to their home in Montana.
Date last plowed:
Nov. 27, 2017
significant rain: Jan. 27
100 points=1 carat
Jan. 14 – Bryan Pettit, Georgetown, N.Y., 5 pt. brown
Jan. 14 – Bryan Pettit, Georgetown, N.Y., 7 pt. white
Jan. 18 – Derek DeCook, Stewartville, Min., 3 pt. white
Jan. 19 – Jessica Prewitt & Ricky Taylor, Mesquite, Texas, 47 pt. white
Jan. 20 – Christie Berrier, Palm Bay, Fla., 5 pt. white