A 71-year-old retiree from Aurora, Colorado made the find of a lifetime this month at Arkansas’s Crater of Diamonds State Park, when she discovered an ice white diamond weighing nearly three carats.
According to the finder, who wishes to remain anonymous, she had been searching for about ten minutes with her husband, son, grandson, and granddaughter when she made the discovery. “I was using a rock to scrape the dirt but don’t know if I uncovered the diamond with it or not. It was just lying on the surface!” She found the gem about halfway between the East Drain and North Wash Pavilion in the park’s 37.5-acre diamond search area, the eroded surface of an ancient, diamond-bearing volcanic crater.
The Coloradan didn’t realize that she had picked up a diamond, and thought it might be a piece of glass. Fortunately, she gave the gem to her son to put in his pocket. The family continued searching for another hour before having their rocks and minerals identified at the park’s Diamond Discovery Center, where staff revealed that the Coloradan had found the largest diamond so far in 2018. Upon learning that she had found a large diamond, the finder said, “I didn’t know what to think. I was shocked!”
Park Interpreter Waymon Cox says, “About one out of every five diamonds registered by park visitors is found right on top of the ground, including many of the largest ever found at the Crater of Diamonds.” Park personnel plow the diamond search area periodically to loosen the soil and assist with natural erosion. Diamonds are a bit heavy for their size and lack static electricity, so dirt doesn’t stick to them. When rainfall uncovers larger diamonds and the sun comes out, they sparkle and are often easy to see.
According to Cox, “Like other rocks and minerals, no two diamonds are exactly alike. This white diamond is about the size of a pinto bean and is shaped somewhat like a fingernail. Several brownish, freckle-like marks along the surface give the gem a unique, one-of-a-kind appearance.”
Many visitors choose to name the diamonds they find at Crater of Diamonds State Park. This finder named her gem Lichtenfels, the name of her hometown in Germany and a word that means “a rock between two lights.” The finder’s son pointed out that she was standing between her grandchildren when she found the diamond. “She wouldn’t have come to the park if it weren’t for her grandkids,” he explained, “They’re her two points of light.”
As of this writing, 256 diamonds have been registered at Crater of Diamonds State Park so far in 2018, weighing a total of 49.64 carats. Five diamonds registered this year have weighed at least one carat each.
Quick Facts about Crater of Diamonds State Park
Diamonds come in all colors of the rainbow. The three most common colors found at Crater of Diamonds State Park are white, brown, and yellow, in that order.
In total, over 75,000 diamonds have been unearthed at the Crater of Diamonds since the first diamonds were discovered in 1906 by John Huddleston, a farmer who owned the land long before it 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.
Crater of Diamonds State Park is located on Arkansas Highway 301 in Murfreesboro. It is one of 52 state parks administered by the State Parks Division of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism.