Crater of Diamonds State Park near Murfreesboro, Arkansas continues to be the source of diamonds for the public who have a keen eye and are willing to do a little digging. Every year, heavy machinery is used to uncover new material in the park’s 37 1/2 –acre diamond search area where park visitors can keep the diamonds they discover. On average, over two diamonds a day are found by visitors to the park.
The last 12 months have been productive for diamond seekers and the following stories highlight some of those “shiny” discoveries.
Richard Burke and his wife, Carol, of Flint, Michigan had read about Crater of Diamonds State Park in a geology book and seen a feature about the park on The Travel Channel. The couple had been visiting Colorado panning for gold and fossil hunting when they decided to make the two day drive to Arkansas to try their searching skills on diamonds. On September 30, 2008, Richard was searching a shallow ravine when he discovered a 4.68-carat white diamond that looks like a frosted ice cube. He named the diamond the “Sweet Caroline” after his wife Carol and their favorite song, Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline.”
On November 16, 2008, Rhonda Bankston of Baton Rouge, Louisiana was camping at the park and had decided to try her hand at diamond searching. She had seen a segment about Crater of Diamonds State Park on the Travel Channel’s “The Best Places to Find Cash and Treasures” and was intrigued enough to try it. On her second day of searching, she found a 2.09-carat white diamond that she later had faceted to a 1.04-carat cushion cut shape. Rhonda named her diamond “Dream Angel,” which is appropriate for a gem with exceptional white color and high clarity. Crater of Diamonds had yielded many high quality diamonds and the most famous was the 3.03-carat Strawn-Wagner Diamond found in 1990 that was ultimately cut to a 1.09-carat D color, Flawless clarity, and Ideal cut diamond, which is the highest quality possible when it was graded by the American Gem Society Laboratory.
Glenn Worthington has visited Crater of Diamonds State Park for 30 years and has found many diamonds, written a book about the park, and produced a DVD demonstrating how to find diamonds at the park. On April 9, 2009, Glenn was searching for diamonds by dumping buckets of mud over a screen. He had decided to process one last bucket before the Easter weekend when he discovered his largest diamond. The 2.04-carat diamond has a bright yellow color and has a smooth, lustrous surface and an elongated shape. Glenn named his special find “Easter Sunrise” because of its appearance and the timing of his find.
On April 28, 2009, Mike Burns of Arab, Alabama, discovered a 5.75-carat white diamond. Mike had traveled to Colorado with a good friend to look for gold but the property owner was not available where they wanted to search. Prior to the trip, Mike’s wife, Linda, had mentioned she would like a diamond for their 20th anniversary and she repeated that comment on the phone when he called from Colorado. She suggested he should get to Crater of Diamonds State Park so he could find a diamond for her. Mike did go to the park and while walking along a wet creek bank spotted a shiny object. After confirming his find was a white diamond, he named his gem “Arabian Knight” in recognition of his hometown high school football team. Time will only tell if Linda gets her anniversary diamond.
On May 13, 2009, Stephen Carter of Hot Springs, Arkansas discovered a 2.35-carat white diamond. As Stephen was leaving the search area at about 6:00 pm, he noticed the sparkling white stone sitting on top of a mound of dirt alongside the furrows in the field. The angle of the sun and his Billy’s vigilant eyes resulted in the special find. Stephen and his wife had been experiencing tough financial times. They had watched TV news coverage of a woman who found a diamond at the Crater of Diamonds. The Carters thought that finding a diamond might be the answer to their financial troubles so they prayed for several weeks and made the trip to Crater of Diamonds. On their fifth trip to the park, Carters said “Our prayers were answered” and they appropriately named the diamond “Faith.”
On October 20, 2009, Royce Walker of Lockesburg, Arkansas was operating a bulldozer for a contractor trenching the Crater of Diamonds State Park search area. As he walked across the search area to give his son, Bobby, a lunch break he spotted something shiny in the dirt. He picked up what turned out to be a 2.93-carat, dark honey brown colored diamond about the size of a pinto bean. The diamond is shiny on one side and metallic looking on the other side with a broken edge indicating it was probably part of a larger diamond crystal at one time.
On October 30, 2009, Billy Moore of Murfreesboro, Arkansas found a 3.20-carat white color diamond with a rounded shape. Billy named the gem “The Frosty” because of its rounded, white appearance. Billy is a frequent visitor at Crater of Diamonds State Park. While he has found approximately 400 diamonds in the park during his years of searching but the 3.20-carat is by far his largest find.