Nine-Year-Old Visitor from Dallas Finds 2.75-Carat Diamond Saturday at Arkansas’s Crater of Diamonds State Park
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Matthew Smith of Dallas, Texas and his find
Murfreesboro — Nine-year-old Matthew Smith of Dallas, Texas, thought it would be fun to show his cousins from Connecticut the Crater of Diamonds State Park, Arkansas’s diamond site. During their visit—a first time visit to the park for all of them—Matthew found a 2.75-carat brown diamond. He found the gem around 3:30 p.m. Saturday (July 12) while surface searching by a path near the Beatty’s Hill portion of the park’s 37 ½-acre search area. According to the park staff, his diamond is about the size of an M&M's candy and is a dark, warm brown about the color of a cola drink. Its shape is similar to that of an ice cream cone. Matthew named his stone the Brown Eyed Beauty after the color of his mom’s and sister’s eyes.
According to Matthew, while eating barbecue lunch at a restaurant on Friday, the day before he found his diamond, Matthew's family told their waitress about their upcoming visit to Arkansas’s Crater of Diamonds State Park. Matthew's aunt jokingly told their waitress to look for their names in the paper.
Matthew plans to keep his diamond as a souvenir from his first visit to the Crater of Diamonds.
Park Superintendent Tom Stolarz said, “Other young people have discovered diamonds at the park and it’s always thrilling for other visitors and the park staff when a young visitor unearths one.” He continued, “What a wonderful, and unique, memory to have and to share to with family, friends and classmates.”
According to Stolarz, the Crater of Diamonds State Park offers many recreational choices for young visitors including the park’s aquatic playground, Diamond Springs, and the Diamond Discovery Center. “But the essential park experience for them, like adults, is the opportunity to search for real diamonds and the other semi-precious stones, rocks, and minerals that are found here,” he emphasized.
Stolarz noted that the park policy is finder-keepers. “What park visitors find in the diamond search area is theirs to keep.”
The search area at the Crater of Diamonds State Park is a 37 ½-acre plowed field, 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. Diamonds come in all colors of the rainbow. The three most common colors found at the park are white, brown and yellow, in that order.
The park staff provides free identification and certification of diamonds. Park interpretive programs and exhibits explain the site’s geology and history and offer tips on recognizing diamonds in the rough.
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. 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. Other large notable finds from the Crater include the Star of Murfreesboro (34.25 carats) and the Star of Arkansas (15.33 carats).
The largest diamond of the 25,000 discovered by park visitors since the Crater became an Arkansas state park in 1972 was the 16.37-carat Amarillo Starlight. W. W. Johnson of Amarillo, Texas, found this spectacular gem-quality, white diamond in 1975.
In June 1981, the 8.82-carat Star of Shreveport was added to the growing list of large valuable stones found at the Crater.
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 Shirley Strawn of nearby 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. The diamond is on permanent display in a special exhibit in the Crater of Diamonds State Park visitor center.
Another gem from the Crater, the flawless 4.25-carat Kahn Canary diamond, discovered at the park in 1977, has been on exhibit at many cities around the U.S. and overseas. The uncut, triangular-shape diamond 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, and wore it in a special, Arkansas-inspired ring setting designed by Henry Dunay of New York. Mrs. Clinton chose to wear the gem as a special way to represent Arkansas’s diamond site at the galas celebrating both of Bill Clinton’s presidential inaugurals.
Other semi-precious gems and minerals found at the Crater of Diamonds include 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.
Crater of Diamonds State Park is located two miles southeast of 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: Tom Stolarz, park superintendent, Crater of Diamonds State Park, 209 State Park Road, Murfreesboro, Arkansas 71958. Phone: 870-285-3113. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or visit craterofdiamondsstatepark.com.