MURFREESBORO, Ark. (KTHV) - At Arkansas' Crater of Diamonds State Park, nearly 100,000 visitors stop by per year. This year, 413 diamonds have been found, with two of the biggest finds by teenagers. So, you may wonder, what is the best way to find one of these rare gems?
In a field of amateur prospectors, there are some that take diamond hunting more seriously than others.
"My third day here, I got a diamond," said Adam Hardin, regular park visitor. "So, I said ok this will work." Originally from Ohio, Hardin first came to the park in 2011 and decided to make Murfreesboro home.
"I'm working on number 61 right now," he said, explaining that he's already found 60 diamonds at the park. Hardin frequents the park five, sometimes seven days a week; digging for diamonds has now become a career.
"Yeah, you can get the diamond fever," he said. "Especially, when you come out, when you pull it out of the ground you're the first person that's every lied eyes on it, so it's kind of a special moment."
The park sits on top of a volcanic crater. "It erupted 106 million years ago, explained Margi Jenks, Park Interpreter. "It turns out you can't have a diamond without a volcano."
Jenks said the diamonds were formed under considerable heat and pressure ninety miles deep and more than a billion years ago. They were brought to the surface during a violent volcano eruption that formed a 600-foot-wide crater speckled with diamonds.
"Some of them are worth some serious money and that varies, like I said, with the color, the clarity, the cut that they might be able to get out of it," Jenks said.
This year, six diamonds weighing more than two carats have been found at the park. Recently, it's been teens that have the best luck. "They're kind of sharp eyed and one of the things about diamonds is they're heavy enough, so they'll stay put and when it rains the dirt washes away."
Jenks said the best time to find a diamond is after a big soaker."What really sets up our field for people to find diamonds is the rain. Because, diamonds are a bit heavy, like I said, they'll stay put and the dirt washes away." Many are found sitting right on the surface.
Park visitor, Arlie Suerez said she's wanted to visit the park for 20 years, and for her birthday, her husband made that wish come true. "I just want to find a raw diamond; I just want to see what a raw diamond looks like" Suerez said. "Sal has bought me diamonds, but I want to see what a raw one is."
The couple used a sifting tray hoping to uncover a hidden gem. "When the little girl found one the other day, I said, see she found the one I was supposed to have."
"Screaming is something that's a reaction to finding a diamond."Jenks says on average, two diamonds a day are found by park visitors, though most are very small. She said the more field you cover, the more likely you'll find one. "Everyone comes here expecting to dig a hole. Actually, the best thing to do is skim the gravel off the surface instead. The biggest find here at the Crater of Diamonds State Park happened back in 1924. More than a 40 carat diamond, called the Uncle Sam was unearthed from this field. But, they say plenty of more soil to go through."
Since the park was opened to the public in 1972, more than 30,000 diamonds have been found. Last year the total number of diamonds found was 530.
Success Stories from the Crater of Diamonds:
14-year-old finds 3.85 carat diamond at state park
12-year-old finds 5.16 carat diamond