"When I told her I was going to find her a diamond for Mother's Day I didn't know I would actually find one," Wendell Fox told ABC News about his find at the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas, on May 13. "I sort of pre-committed so I had to follow through," he said.
Fox, 70, and his wife Jennifer, 68, live in Joliet, Montana, most of the year, but as Arkansas natives, the pair knew the storied history behind the state park. "The diamond mine is part of Arkansas history and it's the only one in the U.S." he explained, unaware that the park had been a hotbed for other diamond-seekers in recent months.
Fox said he and his wife were walking around the grounds for about an hour and a half "looking for a glimmer" when he noticed the gem.
"I was surface looking, walking very slowly and looking very slowly and I saw it," Fox said. "I got down for a closer inspection because I wasn't quite sure what to look for, but as soon as I saw it I thought, 'that's probably a diamond.'"
Fox showed the peanut-sized stone to his wife who told him to take it to the Diamond Discovery Center. When Fox pulled it from his pocket to show the employees, "one of the ladies sort of gasped and I just saw this big smile," he said.
The staff confirmed that Fox discovered a 2.78-carat champagne colored diamond, the second-largest one registered at the park this year.
Fox named his gem "Way Out Yonder" as a tribute to their home in Montana. The gemstone will be made into a pendant for his wife, Jennifer.
"We still can't believe that we found it. It was just by the grace of God and love," Fox said.