Visitor from San Antonio, Texas, Finds 2.13-carat Champagne Brown Diamond at Arkansas's Crater of Diamonds State Park

Article follows the photos:
Clay Jarvis with his 2.13-carat champagne brown diamond from the Crater of Diamonds State Park
Clay Jarvis with his 2.13-carat champagne brown diamond from the Crater of Diamonds State Park
Clay Jarvis holding his diamond named for his wife and in honor of their first grandchild
Clay Jarvis holding his diamond named for his wife and in honor of their first grandchild
Nonna "J" diamond
Nonna J diamond
(MURFREESBORO, Ark.)–Clay Jarvis of San Antonio, Texas, has been fascinated by diamonds since he was boy, when at age 10 he visited a diamond cutting facility in Amsterdam, Holland. Recently, the business and commercial builder was working on a project in Texarkana and decided to visit all of Arkansas’s 52 state parks. He first visited Millwood State Park near Ashdown, and then he made his initial visit to the Crater of Diamonds State Park at Murfreesboro. He had first learned about Arkansas’s diamond site when seeing it featured on The Discovery Channel. On his second trip to the Crater of Diamonds yesterday, Jarvis found a 2.13-carat champagne brown diamond in the East Drain area of the diamond search field after surface searching for about an hour and a half.

According to Park Interpreter Margi Jenks, the light brown diamond is somewhat square in shape, and about the size of pencil eraser. “The diamond has a beautiful metallic shine that is very characteristic of Arkansas diamonds,” said Jenks. She noted that it’s the 368th diamond found at the park this year. It’s also the 14th diamond find this year weighing over one carat, and the fifth diamond this year weighing over two carats, all of which were brown diamonds found on the surface of the park’s 37 ½-acre search area.

Diamond finder Clay Jarvis commented that the reason he knew it was a diamond when he picked it up was because he had attended the “Diamond Mining 101” demonstration conducted by Jenks during his first visit to the park a couple of weeks ago. During that interpretive program, he and the other visitors participating in that hands-on demonstration were shown diamonds from the Crater as they learned the principle characteristics of diamonds from Arkansas’s site.

Margi Jenks said, “Mr. Jarvis certainly got an ‘A+’ on Diamond Mining 101 and went to the head of the class by finding a large diamond on his next visit to the park.” She continued, "We love it one of our visitors finds a diamond. We are so happy that his adventure had a happy ending, and in less than two hours during his second visit to the park!”

Clay Jarvis said, “It happens! And, keep looking, because it’s fun.” He named his stone the Nonna “J” Diamond for his wife, his best friend and sweetheart. Jarvis continued, “Our first grandchild was born last year. My wife, April, is studying Italian, and ‘Nona’ is the word for grandmother in Italian.”

Margi Jenks said, “Of the 14 diamonds weighing over one carat found at the park this year, the current trend continues of visitors finding diamonds on the surface of the search field. Due to good rains this year, many of the large diamonds were found right on the surface. Diamonds are a bit heavy for their size, so a good downpour will wash the dirt away, leaving the diamond exposed.”

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. The colors of diamonds found at the park are white, brown, and yellow, in that order. Other semi-precious gems and minerals found in the park’s search area 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. 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. 

Many factors help visitors who like to surface search for diamonds at the park. Park personnel regularly plow the diamond search area to bring fresh, eroded diamond ore to the surface. Then, erosion from heavy rains concentrates the heavy rocks and minerals, like diamonds, in the low-lying parts of the search area.

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 in 1972. 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. Notable diamonds found by park visitors since the state park was established at the site include the Amarillo Starlight, a 16.37-carat white diamond discovered in 1975 which ranks as the largest diamond ever found by a park visitor. The second largest find by a park visitor is the Star of Shreveport, an 8.82-carat white gem unearthed in 1981. In 2011, a visitor from Colorado found an 8.66-carat white diamond she named the Illusion Diamond, which is the third-largest gem registered here since the Crater of Diamonds State Park was established in 1972.

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 park visitor Shirley Strawn of 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. It is on display in a special exhibit in the Crater of Diamonds State Park visitor center.

Another gem from the Crater is the flawless 4.25-carat Kahn Canary diamond that was discovered at the park in 1977. This uncut, triangular-shape gem has been on exhibit at many cities around the U.S. and overseas. It 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, Arkansas, and wore it in a special, Arkansas-inspired ring setting designed by Henry Dunay of New York as a special way to represent Arkansas’s diamond site at the galas celebrating both of Bill Clinton’s presidential inaugurals.

Crater of Diamonds State Park is on Ark. 301 at 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: Margi Jenks, park interpreter, or Waymon Cox, park interpreter, Crater of Diamonds State Park, 209 State Park Road, Murfreesboro, AR 71958. Phone: 870-285-3113. Email margaret.jenks@arkansas.gov or waymon.cox@arkansas.gov, or visit CraterOfDiamondsStatePark.com.

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