Arkansan Finds 2.93-carat Brown Diamond at the Crater of Diamonds State Park

Article follows the photos:
Royce Walker holding his 2.93-carat honey brown diamond
Royce Walker holding his 2.93-carat honey brown diamond
Royce Walker's 2.93-carat brown diamond
Royce Walker's 2.93-carat brown diamond
For Immediate Release

Murfreesboro -- Royce Walker of Walker Sand and Gravel in Lockesburg is the local private contractor who is presently conducting this year’s trenching operation at Arkansas’s diamond site, the Crater of Diamonds State Park. Starting in 2005, the park has contracted each year for excavation work by heavy machinery to uncover new material in the park’s 37 ½-acre diamond search area for park visitors to search. This annual trenching operation opens up new diamond-bearing material at depth. And, in addition, the material that’s excavated during the trenching is spread on the ground nearby doubling the chances for more diamond finds. Around noon yesterday as Walker was stepping across the search area towards his high track bulldozer to give his son, Bobby, a lunch break, he looked down and saw something shiny in the dirt. He reached down and picked up the stone, a 2.93-carat, dark honey brown diamond. Shiny on one side and metallic looking on the other, it was immediately recognized by Walker as a diamond. About the size of a pinto bean, the diamond has a broken edge indicating it’s a broken segment of a larger diamond. Walker saw one of the park’s regular prospectors, a gentleman from Harrison, searching nearby. He showed his brown diamond to the prospector and said, "What does this look like to you?” The prospector replied, "You just found a three-carat diamond!" Smiling, he continued, "I’ve been looking for that for a year!" This year’s trenching by Walker and his son using a scraper tractor and bulldozer is being conducted in the West Drain area of the search area, the eroded surface of the world’s eighth largest, diamond-bearing deposit in surface area. However, Walker found his diamond on the area’s east side while doing work there where last year’s trenching was done. According to Walker, he’s considering naming his diamond the Cherokee Princess to honor his mother who passed away last year. An American Indian, her family were Cherokee from North Carolina. Park Interpreter Margi Jenks said that Walker’s diamond is the 820th diamond found so far this year at the Crater of Diamonds. This is the largest diamond found at the park since the 5.75-carat white, Arabian Knight diamond was found on April 28 by Mike Burns of Arab, Alabama. He named his gem to recognize his hometown High School Football Team there in Arab. Right before Easter, Glenn Worthington of Springdale found 2.04-carat yellow gem he named the Easter Sunrise Diamond.

Crater of Diamonds State Park 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. An average of two diamonds a day is unearthed by park visitors at the Crater of Diamonds. During 2008 a total of 946 diamonds were found at the park. Twenty seven of those diamonds weighed over one carat. 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 28,000 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.

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.

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: Justin Dorsey, park superintendent, Crater of Diamonds State Park, 209 State Park Road, Murfreesboro, Arkansas 71958. Phone: 870-285-3113. E-mail: justin.dorsey@arkansas.gov. Or visit craterofdiamondsstatepark.com.
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