Visitor Finds 4.38-Carat Yellow Diamond at Arkansas State Park
Last week, after just an hour of searching, a visitor who spotted something "shiny" on top of the ground at Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas, ended up pocketing the park's largest diamond of the year.
Noreen Wredberg of Granite Bay, California, was at Hot Springs National Park with her husband Michael when she realized how close they were to Crater of Diamonds State Park.
"I first saw the park featured on a TV show several years ago," Noreen said in a news release. "When I realized we weren't too far away, I knew we had to come!"
The couple's fateful visit to the park took place on Thursday, September 23. Noreen was searching in a shaded area near the mine entrance until her husband suggested they move.
"It was cold in the shade that morning," Michael said, "so I told Noreen that we should go to the middle of the field, where it was warmer."
She heeded his advice, and 40 minutes later, she spotted a sparkling gem on top of the ground.
"I didn't know it was a diamond then, but it was clean and shiny, so I picked it up!" Noreen recalled.
After having the stone examined at the park's Diamond Discovery Center, staff informed the couple that they were in possession of a very large, 4.38-carat yellow diamond.
"When I first saw this diamond under the microscope, I thought, 'Wow, what a beautiful shape and color!'" Park Superintendent, Caleb Howell, said in a statement. "Mrs. Wredberg's diamond weighs more than four carats and is about the size of a jellybean, with a pear shape and a lemonade yellow color."
At 4.38 carats, Noreen's diamond is the largest found at the park since last October, when a visitor from Fayetteville, Arkansas, discovered a 4.49-carat yellow diamond.
Noreen was shocked by the news. "We really didn't think we would find one, let alone something that big!" she said.
More than 75,000 diamonds have been unearthed at the Crater of Diamonds since the first diamonds were discovered there in 1906. The three most common colors are white, brown, and yellow, in that order.
Many of the park's largest diamonds are found right on top of the ground, explained Park Interpreter Waymon Cox, who noted that weather conditions were perfect for Noreen to find a diamond.
"We plow the search area periodically to loosen the soil and promote natural erosion. Diamonds are somewhat heavy for their size and lack static electricity, so dirt doesn't stick to them. When rain uncovers a larger diamond and the sun comes out, its reflective surface is often easy to see," Cox said in a news release. "More than one inch of rain fell at the park between September 19 and 21. The soil had dried a little, and the sun was out when Mrs. Wredberg visited two days later. She was in just the right place to see her diamond sparkle in the morning sunlight!"