However, the most recent article I read was a took some of the shine from a place that has pleased thousands of adults and children who have spend hours searching for the elusive diamond they could take home and show their friends. The investigative article “Arkansas Diamond Fraud” reports on the diamond sales by Eric Blake (see my previous blog article on Eric Blake).
Eric Blake and his family visited Crater of Diamonds in October 2007 and supposedly discovered a large number of diamonds. He then created a webpage and sold diamonds he advertised as being from the Arkansas State Park. He also sold diamonds on eBay that were reported to be from the Arkansas “public” diamond mine. However, investigative research uncovered the fact that Eric Blake had purchased diamonds from India prior to his trip to Crater of Diamonds. Descriptions and photos of the diamonds ordered from India matched the weights and photos of diamonds supposedly “found” at Crater of Diamonds.
You might wonder why someone would buy diamonds in India and claim they came from Arkansas. The answer is simple, greed. Because of the rarity and uniqueness of diamonds from Crater of Diamonds, shoppers are willing to pay a price premium for the diamonds found in the United States. The Arkansas diamonds are often uniquely formed crystals that often look like drops of glass, unlike the flat, cube or octahedron surfaces typically found in most diamond mines. However, there are some sources around the world, like the Panna Mines in India, which produce diamond crystal similar in appearance to the crystals found in Arkansas. Since the diamonds from India are more abundant than those from Arkansas and do not have the celebrity status of diamonds found at Crater of Diamonds, the price of Indian diamonds can be less than a tenth the price of diamonds from Arkansas. With a ten-fold profit margin, “planting” Indian diamonds in Arkansas was a profitable diamond scam.
While I am sure that the justice system and angry victims will take care of Eric Blake, but I do have concern for all the future visitors to Crater of Diamonds. I hope their fun and enjoyment is not diminished by one person’s diamond scam. For all those people who have found or purchased authentic diamonds from Crater of Diamonds, they should take comfort in the fact that they really to have unique and valuable diamonds. Crater of Diamonds State Park remains a treasure chest of diamonds waiting to be discovered.