MURFREESBORO, AR (News Release) –David Anderson first learned of the Crater of Diamonds State Park when he saw Arkansas’s diamond site featured on The Travel Channel’s “Best Places to Find Cash and Treasures.” His first visit to the park was in 2007. Because of his love for diamond hunting here, he now calls Murfreesboro home so he can hunt regularly for diamonds in the park’s 37 ½-acre search area. Yesterday after looking for about four hours, Anderson found a 6.19-carat white diamond, the largest of the hundreds of diamonds he’s found at the park. He discovered it in the East Drain area of the search field. Anderson named his clear, white marquise-shape diamond the Limitless Diamond after the 2014 motto for the charitable organization Speed the Light. He plans to donate proceeds from the sale of this diamond to Speed the Light.
According to Park Interpreter Waymon Cox, “The Limitless Diamond is about the size of a jelly bean, and it’s the 15th-largest diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park since 1972. It is also the largest white diamond we have registered in three years since the 8.66-carat Illusion Diamond was discovered in April 2011 by Beth Gilbertson of Salida, Colorado.” He said, “This diamond is definitely a beauty. It looks almost entirely clear and appears to be an unbroken crystal.”
Cox continued, “It’s no surprise that a large diamond was found this week. Over four inches of rain fell on the park last weekend, and David found his diamond on the first sunny day following the rain. Rainwater washes soil from the search area and often exposes heavy gravel and diamonds on the surface.” He emphasized, “David has worked hard to find more than 400 diamonds here over the years, but he had never surface searched for diamonds until this year. This is the largest, and probably the easiest, diamond he’s ever found!”
Cox noted that the park staff often doesn’t find out what happens to diamonds from the park after they are registered. “We are excited to follow David’s journey with the Limitless Diamond and to see what the end result will be!”
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. Cox noted that with Anderson’s diamond, the current trend continues of visitors finding diamonds on the surface of the search field. Due to good rains this year, and some especially hard rains recently, the park is experiencing perfect conditions for visitors to find diamonds right on the surface of the search area. 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.
A 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. 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 Ark. 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.
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