MURFREESBORO, Ark. (Ark. Department of Parks and Tourism) - After hearing about the 5.16-carat, honey brown diamond found at the Crater of Diamonds State Park on July 31 by 12-year-old Michael Dettlaff of Apex, North Carolina, 14-year-old Tana Clymer and her family from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, decided to experience Arkansas's diamond site for themselves. During their first visit to the Crater of Diamonds this week, Tana found a beautiful, 3.85-carat canary diamond yesterday while surface searching over the park's 37 ½-acre search area. The yellow diamond is teardrop shaped and about the size of a jellybean.
According to Tana, she'd been digging and sifting in the dirt for about two hours, then surface searching for 10 minutes, when she noticed the diamond on the surface of the search field.
"I thought it was a piece of paper or foil from a candy wrapper," she said. "Then, when I touched it, I thought it was a marble." Tana told park officials, "I think God pointed me to it. I was about to sprint to join my family, and God told me to slow down and look. Then, I found the diamond!" Tana said a prayer of thanks, and in His grace named her beautiful canary gem the God's Jewel diamond.
Assistant Park Superintendent Bill Henderson said, "This canary diamond is very similar to the gem-quality, 4.21-carat canary diamond found at the Crater of Diamonds by Oklahoma State Trooper Marvin Culver of Nowata, Oklahoma, on March 12, 2006, a gem he named the Okie Dokie Diamond." Henderson said, "And now, we're celebrating another canary diamond find by another Oklahoman!" He noted that Marvin Culver's diamond was a beautiful representation of the high quality of diamonds that can be found at the Crater of Diamonds. "Tana's diamond is, too," he emphasized.
Marvin Culver's 4.21-carat canary diamond was egg shaped and Tana's 3.85-carat canary diamond is more of a teardrop shape. Her gem is the 396th diamond found so far this year. On average, two diamonds are found a day by park visitors. The colors of diamonds found at the park are white, brown, and yellow, in that order.
Henderson continued, "No two diamonds are alike, and each diamond finder's story is unique, too. What an experience for Tana to remember the rest of her life! Tana told me that she was so excited, she couldn't sleep last night. She's either going to keep the diamond for a ring, or, if it's worth a lot, she'll want that for college."
Henderson noted that with this diamond, the current trend continues of visitors finding diamonds on the surface of the search field. Due to good rains this spring, and some especially hard rains this summer, many of the recent large diamonds were found right on the surface. Diamonds are a bit heavy for their size, so a good downpour will wash the dirt away, leaving the diamond exposed.
The search area at the Crater of Diamonds is a 37 ½-acre plowed field that is 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. In addition to diamonds, semi-precious gems and minerals are found in the park's search area including 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.
The park's policy is finder-keepers. What park visitors find is theirs to keep. The park staff provides free identification and registration of diamonds. Park interpretive programs and exhibits explain the site's geology and history, and offer tips on recognizing diamonds in the rough.
Many factors help visitors who like to surface search for diamonds at the park. Park personnel regularly plow the diamond search area to bring fresh, eroded diamond ore to the surface. Then, erosion from heavy rains concentrates the heavy rocks and minerals, like diamonds, in the low-lying parts of the search area.
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 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. Notable diamonds found by park visitors since the state park was established at the site include the Amarillo Starlight, a 16.37-carat white diamond discovered in 1975 which ranks as the largest diamond ever found by a park visitor. The second largest find by a park visitor is the Star of Shreveport, an 8.82-carat white gem unearthed in 1981. In 2011, a visitor from Colorado found an 8.66-carat white diamond she named the Illusion Diamond, which is the third-largest gem registered here since the Crater of Diamonds State Park was established in 1972.
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 park visitor Shirley Strawn of 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. It is on display in a special exhibit in the Crater of Diamonds State Park visitor center.
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 as a special way to represent Arkansas's diamond site at the galas celebrating both of Bill Clinton's presidential inaugurals.
Crater of Diamonds State Park is on Ark. 301 at 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: Bill Henderson, assistant park superintendent, Crater of Diamonds State Park, 209 State Park Road, Murfreesboro, AR 71958. Phone: 870-285-3113. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit CraterofDiamondsStatePark.com.
(Source: Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism)