VISITOR FROM KENTUCKY FINDS 2.95-CARAT SPARKLER AT ARKANSAS’S CRATER OF DIAMONDS STATE PARK ON INDEPENDENCE DAY
Champagne Brown Gem Dubbed the Patriot Diamond
Marks the Largest Diamond Found So Far This Year at Arkansas’s Diamond Site
(MURFREESBORO, Ark.)–Terry Staggs of Richmond, Kentucky, took advantage of a long weekend away from work and drove to the Crater of Diamonds State Park to once again try his luck searching for diamonds at Arkansas’s diamond site. According to Staggs, he’s been visiting the park a couple of times each year for the past 28 years. The stunning 2.95-carat, champagne brown diamond he found on the morning of July 4 marks the largest of the many diamonds he’s found at the park. It’s also the largest of the 304 diamonds found by park visitors so far this year. Since he found the gem on Independence Day, he named it the Patriot Diamond.
According to Park Interpreter Waymon Cox, the diamond is stunning in its rough form, just as the forces of nature created it. “Mr. Staggs’diamond appears to be a complete crystal and is shaped like a shield. It’s about the size of an English Pea and has a golden brown metallic appearance,” said Cox. “The diamond looks similar in shape to the 4.21-carat yellow Okie Dokie Diamond, which was discovered by Oklahoma State Trooper Marvin Culver at the Crater of Diamonds in 2006.” Staggs found the diamond while walking the East Drain section of the park’s 37 ½-acre diamond search area and checking out everything that sparkled. The diamond caught his attention after he’d been surface searching for about two and one half hours.
Cox noted that the colors of diamonds found at the park are white, brown, and yellow, in that order. “Because of their color, brown diamonds are often difficult to find in the dark dirt of the diamond search area. However, sunny weather conditions on July 4th were perfect for this sparkler to catch Mr. Staggs’attention as he searched,” said Cox. “Mr. Staggs’ gem was found in gravel on the surface of the East Drain area. Sunlight reflecting off the diamond made it stand out from the other stones.”
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. 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 registration of diamonds. Park interpretive programs and exhibits explain the site’s geology and history and offer tips on recognizing diamonds in the rough.
Cox continued, “Many factors help visitors who like to surface search for diamonds at the park. Park personnel regularly plow the diamond search area to help with natural erosion. Erosion from heavy rains concentrates the heavy rocks and minerals, like diamonds, in the low-lying parts of the search area and also occasionally exposes larger diamonds, like the one found by Mr. Staggs.”
Search area last plowed: Different areas of the field are now plowed weekly;
Most recent rain: June 16 and 17
Total diamonds found in 2013: 308
Diamonds registered for June 30 - July 6, 2013 (100 points = 1 carat):
June 30 – Adam Hardin, Barberton, OH, 3 pt. yellow, 12 pt. yellow
July 1 to July 3 – No diamonds were registered
July 4 – Terry Staggs, Richmond, KY, 2.95 ct. brown
July 5 – No diamonds were registered
July 6 – Brittany Behar, Spring, TX, 16 pt. brown; Mikey Howard, Plano, TX, 7 pt. white; Amanda Hood, Cottonwood, AL, 2 pt. white