is an article Joan Ellison of Arkansas State Parks sent that recaps the 2011
season at Crater of Diamonds State Park. Over 500 diamonds have been found at the park so far this year. Thirty of them have weighed over a carat each. The most recent was a 3.83-carat yellow diamond found by David Anderson (in the shot below) of Murfreesboro.It was the fourth largest find this year. Below are more
details about the many finds at Crater:
Looking back over the past 12 months,
year 2011 has been a successful one
for the park visitors who have hunted for diamonds in the 37 ½-acre search area
at Arkansas’s diamond site, the Crater of Diamonds State Park. According to Park Superintendent Justin
Dorsey, over 500 diamonds have been found by visitors this year. Of this year’s diamond finds, 30 have
weighed over a carat each. The
year’s largest diamond find was an 8.66-carat white diamond found in
April. And on Monday of this week
( Dec. 12), David Anderson of Murfreesboro found the 535th diamond
this year. His 3.83-carat
pear-shaped, yellow diamond marks the fourth largest find for the year.
Park Interpreter Margi Jenks
said, “This has been a great year for our park visitors here at the Crater of
Diamonds. During every month this
year, a visitor unearthed a diamond weighing over a carat. And in April, six diamonds weighed over
a carat including the year’s largest diamond find, the 8.66-carat Illusion
Diamond discovered by Beth Gilbertson of Salida, Colorado.” She continued, “That white diamond
ranks as third largest diamond found by a park visitor since the Crater of
Diamonds was established as an Arkansas state park in 1972.”
Jenks noted that David
Anderson found his diamond in the East Drain section of the park’s search
area. A regular diamond digger at
the park, Anderson found the diamond while washing dirt from a hole he dug that
was located near holes dug by other park visitors. Jenks said, “It’s a pale yellow, very shiny diamond about
the size of dime. That shine is
characteristic of diamonds found here at the Crater of Diamonds.”
According to David Anderson,
“Everyone else had moved away from that spot. Everyone missed it!”
He continued, “It was in the first bucket of material I washed that
morning, and I caught the diamond in my top screen.” Anderson noted that he’s found many diamonds at the park. “This
is my sixth diamond weighing over one carat, but this one is the largest of all
my diamond finds.” Anderson
credits hard work and his “passion for treasure hunting” as the reasons for his
success at the park. “You wonder
what’s going to be in the next bucket.
I’m still looking for an even bigger diamond.”
Originally from Grand
Rapids, Michigan, Anderson lives near the park in Murfreesboro now. He decided to name his 3.83-carat
diamond the Wolverine Diamond after the Michigan Wolverines football team, his
favorite team. “After finding the
diamond Monday morning, I met a visitor from Michigan at the park who was also
a Wolverine fan. The diamond’s
name just came naturally from our conversation,” he said.
The search area at the Crater of Diamonds State Park is a 37 ½-acre
plowed field, 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.
On average, two diamonds are found
each day at the park. The park’s
policy is finder-keepers. What
park visitors find is theirs to keep.
The park staff provides free identification
and certification of diamond found at the park. Park interpretive programs and exhibits explain the site’s
geology and history and offer tips on recognizing diamonds in the rough.
Diamonds come in all colors of the rainbow. The three colors found at the Crater of
Diamonds are white, brown and yellow, in that order. Other semi-precious gems
and minerals found in the park’s search area include 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.
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.
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. Other large notable finds
from the Crater include the Star of Murfreesboro (34.25 carats) and the Star of
Arkansas (15.33 carats).
The largest diamond of the 27,000 discovered by park visitors
since the Crater became an Arkansas state park in 1972 was the 16.37-carat
Amarillo Starlight. W. W. Johnson of Amarillo, Texas, found this spectacular
gem-quality, white diamond in 1975.
In June 1981, the 8.82-carat Star of Shreveport was added to the growing
list of large valuable stones found at the Crater.
Another 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
Shirley Strawn of nearby 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. The diamond
will once again be on display in a special exhibit in the Crater of Diamonds
State Park visitor center when the building’s current remodeling project is
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.
Mrs. Clinton chose to wear the gem as a special way to represent
Arkansas’s diamond site at the galas celebrating both of Bill Clinton’s
Crater of Diamonds State Park is located two
miles southeast of downtown Murfreesboro.
It is one of the 52 state parks
administered by the State Parks Division of the Arkansas
Department of Parks and Tourism.
For more information contact: Justin Dorsey, park superintendent,
Crater of Diamonds
State Park, 209 State Park Road,
Murfreesboro, AR 71958, or call him at 870-285-3113 or via email at
. More details
about the park can be found at craterofdiamondsstatepark.com.