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Texas Couple Finds 6.35-Carat Diamond At Arkansas’s Crater Of Diamonds State Park

Article follows the photos:
  • Roden Diamond

  • Roden Diamond weighs in at 6.35 carats.


Contact: Rachel Engebrecht
(870) 285-3113

Dark Brown Diamond Is the Eighth Largest Diamond Find Since Crater of Diamonds Became an Arkansas State Park in 1972, and Largest Diamond Discovery Here Since 1998

(Murfreesboro) — Donald and Brenda Roden of Point, Texas, first visited the Crater of Diamonds State Park several years ago but did not find a diamond that time. They decided to pay the park a second visit this fall along with their son, daughter-in-law, and three grandchildren. This visit paid off for them in a big way. The couple was searching in an area of the park’s diamond search field known as the East Drain when they spotted something shiny lying on top of the plowed dirt. Mr. Roden was not sure what the object was but his wife recognized it as a diamond. However, she did not accompany her husband to the park’s Diamond Discovery Center for confirmation of the find that he carried in a medicine bottle because she wanted to keep searching for more diamonds.

The first park employee to see the dark brown gem was a clerk who immediately knew that the couple had found a diamond of a significant size. The coffee color, brown diamond weighed in at a whopping 6.35 carats making it the largest confirmed diamond find at the park since 1998 when a mother and daughter from Louisiana and Mississippi found the 7.28-carat gem they named the Dickinson-Stevens Diamond.

According to Park Superintendent Tom Stolarz, “The Rodens’ gem is the eighth largest find of the 25,714 diamonds discovered since the Crater of Diamonds became an Arkansas state park in 1972.” He continued, “The Rodens’ diamond is about the same size and color as a large coffee bean. The gem has a somewhat distorted octahedral shape and a metallic-looking shine that is characteristic of diamonds from the Crater of Diamonds.” He noted that diamonds come many different colors, but the three most common colors found at Arkansas’s diamond site are white, brown and yellow, in that order. On average, between one and two diamonds are found each day at the park.

Park Interpreter Rachel Engebrecht said that it is “an imperfect, but certainly very attractive and interesting gem and is by far the largest diamond I have had the privilege to weigh and certify since I began working at the park three years ago.”

Engebrecht noted that the Roden family seemed surprised at the significance placed on their find by park staff members and that they didn’t mind taking the time to show the gem to other curious park visitors. They have named their gem the Roden Diamond and are uncertain at this time about whether they will eventually sell or keep it.

Tom Stolarz continued, “A total of 345 diamonds have been found by park visitors so far this year. The second largest of these was the 4.21-carat, flawless canary yellow diamond found on March 12 by Oklahoma State Highway Patrol trooper Marvin Culver of Nowata, Oklahoma. Culver and his gem named the Okie Dokie Diamond were featured on theNBC “Today Show” three days later.

Crater of Diamonds State Park is one of the 52 state parks administered by the State Parks Division of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. Located in southwest Arkansas two miles southeast of Murfreesboro on Ark. 301, the park is the world's only publicly-operated diamond site where the public is allowed to search and keep any gems found, regardless of value. Other semi-precious gems and minerals found here include amethyst, garnet, jasper, agate, calcite, barite and quartz. Over 40 different rocks and minerals are unearthed at the Crater making it a rock hound's delight.

Over 75,000 diamonds have been unearthed at the Crater since those first found in 1906 by John Huddleston, the farmer who at that time owned the land. The largest diamond ever discovered in the United States was unearthed here in 1924. Named the Uncle Sam, this white diamond weighed 40.23 carats.

The largest of the 25,000 diamonds discovered since the Crater became an Arkansas state park in 1972 is the 16.37-carat Amarillo Starlight. A visitor from Texas found this white diamond in 1975.

The 3.03-carat Strawn-Wagner Diamond was unearthed at the park in 1990 and later cut to a 1.09-carat gem in New York by Lazare Kaplan International in 1997. 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 ever certified.

Crater of Diamonds State Park is open daily. Admission to the diamond search area is: Adult—$6 each; Child (age 6-12)—$3 each. With advance notice, organized groups of 15 persons or more can receive a group discount.

The park offers 59 campsites with water and electric hookups, picnic sites, picnic pavilion, a café (open seasonally), visitor center with exhibits, gift shop, the Diamond Discovery Center, Diamond Springs aquatic playground (open seasonally), laundry, hiking trails and interpretive programs.

The park staff provides free identification and certification of diamonds. Park interpretive programs, the exhibit gallery in the park visitor center, and the Diamond Discovery Center explain the site’s geology and history and offer tips on recognizing diamonds in the rough.
For more information about the park, contact: Rachel Engebrecht, park interpreter, Crater of Diamonds State Park, 209 State Park Road, Murfreesboro, AR 71958. Phone: (870) 285-3113. E-mail: Web site: