|(Photo: Arkansas State Parks)|
A 56-year-old Arkansas woman was close to leaving Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro Saturday when a shiny stone caught her eye.
“I was searching with my daughter and granddaughters when I picked it up. I thought it was shiny but had no idea it was a diamond!” Beatrice Watkins said in a park news release. “My daughter googled similar-looking stones and thought it might have been iron pyrite, so I stuck it in my sack and kept sifting.”
She brought the stone back to the Diamond Discovery Center where they told her that the “iron pyrite” was actually a diamond. The large gem was later determined to be 2.23 carats.
“Visitors to the park search for diamonds in a 37.5-acre plowed field atop the eroded surface of an extinct, diamond-bearing volcanic pipe,” according to the release. “More than 33,000 diamonds have been found since the Crater of Diamonds opened as an Arkansas State Park in 1972. Typically, one or two diamonds are found there each day.”
Watkin’s diamond is the largest found at the park since a visitor discovered a 3.29-carat brown gem in October, 2019.
Diamonds come in all colors, with the three most common being white, brown and yellow, in that order.
The largest diamond ever found in the United States, a white, 40.23-carat behemoth with a pink cast named Uncle Sam, was found during a mining operation on the property in 1924. The Uncle Sam was cut to a 12.42-carat emerald shape and sold for $150,000 in 1971 to a private collector.
In total, over 75,000 diamonds have been unearthed at the Crater of Diamonds since the first diamonds were discovered in 1906 by John Huddleston, a farmer who owned the land long before it 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. It was later cut into a 12.42-carat emerald shape and purchased by a private collector for $150,000 in 1971.
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The above story is based on materials provided by Crater of Diamonds.