Arkansan Unearths 5.50-Carat Diamond at Crater of Diamonds State Park

May 15, 2000


Arkansan Unearths 5.50-Carat
Diamond at Crater of Diamonds State Park

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Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

Murfreesboro -- Marshall Rieff of Fayetteville has been visiting Arkansas's Crater of Diamonds State Park for over 20 years since his father first brought him here as a child. For the past five of those years, Rieff has been what you call a serious diamond hunter, unearthing an impressive number of diamonds at the park's search area.

Around 10:00 a.m. Saturday, Rieff discovered a 5.50-carat, white diamond at the park, the largest of all the gems he has found at the Crater of Diamonds. When asked the worth of his 5.50-carat diamond, Rieff said, "It's worth all the trips down here from Fayetteville!"

According to Park Superintendent Mike Hall, "Mr. Rieff's 5.50-carat diamond is clear white, rectangular in shape, and 1/2-inch long, or about the length of a jellybean." He added, "Inclusions are visible at one end, but the other 3/4th of the diamond appears to be a flawless, gem-quality stone." Hall noted that because of the gem's apparent quality, Rieff is planning to have the diamond cut, and hopes to end up with a 3-carat diamond.

Hall continued, "This 5.50-carat gem is the 234th diamond to be discovered at the park this year, and it is the largest diamond found at the park since a mother and daughter from out of state discovered a 7.28-carat pale yellow diamond together in April 1998." He noted that about two diamonds a day are discovered at the park.

Rieff found his diamond in the East Drain area of the Crater of Diamonds search field, a low area that diamonds have washed down into over the years. He had been digging for about two hours when he caught the gem in one of his screens while wet screening material he had dug up.

Crater of Diamonds State Park is the state's well-known diamond site located in southwest Arkansas at Murfreesboro. It is the world's only publicly operated diamond site where the public is allowed to search and keep any gems found, regardless of value.

John Huddleston, the farmer who at that time owned the site, first discovered diamonds at the site in 1906. Through the years, the site changed in ownership several times until it was purchased by the State of Arkansas and opened as a state park in 1972. Over 70,000 diamonds have been unearthed at the Crater since those first found by Huddleston.

The largest diamond ever discovered in North America was unearthed here in 1924. Named the "Uncle Sam," this white diamond weighed 40.23 carats. Other 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 20,000 discovered since the Crater became a state park in 1972, is the 16.37-carat "Amarillo Starlight." A visitor from Texas found this white diamond on the surface of the diamond field 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 3.30-carat "Strawn-Wagner Diamond" was unearthed at the park 1990 and later cut in New York in 1998. The American Gem Society graded the diamond a "D" Flawless, O/O/O (for cut/color/clarity) in April 1998 and noted it was the most perfect diamond their laboratory had every certified.

Diamonds may be any of several colors. The most common colors found at Crater of Diamonds are clear white, yellow and brown. Other semi-precious gems and minerals found here 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.

For more information, contact: Michael Hall, park superintendent, Crater of Diamonds State Park, Route 1, Box 364, Murfreesboro, Arkansas 71958. Phone: (870) 285-3113. E-mail: craterofdiamonds@arkansas.com.

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Submitted by the Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism
One Capitol Mall, Little Rock, AR 72201, (501) 682-7606
E-mail: info@arkansas.com

May be used without permission. Credit line is appreciated:
"Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism"