Thirteen-year-old Visitor From Missouri Finds 2.93-carat Diamond at Crater of Diamonds State Park

Article follows the photos:
Nicole Ruhter (AP photo)
Nicole Ruhter (AP photo)
For Immediate Release

Light Brown Diamond Was Found On the Edge of a Path in the Park’s Diamond Search Area That Thousands Of Park Visitors Have Traveled


(Murfreesboro) — Walking with her mother and grandmother Tuesday evening around 7:00 p.m. along a path—a service road in the 37 1/2-acre diamond search area
of Arkansas’s Crater of Diamonds State Park—that thousands of other park visitors have traveled, 13-year-old Nicole Ruhter of Butler, Missouri, saw something sparkling on the ground that no one else had noticed. According to the teenager, she knew the “metallic looking” stone half buried in the dirt was a diamond because of the way it shined. When she picked it up, the 2.93-carat diamond looked “pyramid-shaped, pointy, light and shiny,” noted Ruhter, “and it sparkled.” The path, a service road the park maintenance staff drives along to reach the diamond search area’s washing pavilions, also serves as a pathway for park prospectors. Because she found her diamond at the edge of that path, Ruhter named her gem the Pathfinder Diamond. She plans to keep it at first and perhaps sell her gem later after it’s appraised.

This was her family’s first visit to the park and their second day of diamond searching at the park. They had learned about the park from Ruhter’s grandparents who visited the park last year. Ruhter’s family learned more about the Crater of Diamonds on the park’s
Web site, CraterofDiamondsStatePark.com.


According to Ruhter, shortly before she discovered her gem, she said a little silent prayer in hopes of finding a diamond, any diamond, even a very small one. She didn’t care how large or of what value it would be, she just wanted to find a diamond. “And, 15 minutes later, I found it,” she said.

Park Superintendent Tom Stolarz noted that, “Nicole Ruhter’s light brown diamond is the color of iced tea and about the size of a piece of candy corn. Of the 332 diamonds that have been found by park visitors so far this year, this gem is the largest.” The second largest diamond this year was a 2.67-carat yellow gem unearthed on February 6 by a park visitor from Delight, Arkansas. Stolarz said that on average, two diamonds are found each day by park visitors.

He noted that 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. “What a wonderful memory to have and to share with family, friends and classmates,” said Stolarz.

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. He continued, “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.”

Stolarz emphasized 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, Arkansas, and wore it in a special, Arkansas-inspired ring setting designed by Henry Dunay of New York as a 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: tom.stolarz@arkansas.gov. Or visit craterofdiamondsstatepark.com.
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