Visitor From Shreveport Finds 4.80-carat Diamond June 9 at the Crater of Diamonds State Park

For Immediate Release

Off-white Dodecahedral-shape Diamond is the Largest Diamond Found by a Park Visitor So Far This Year


(Murfreesboro) — The month of June has been an especially good one for diamond hunters at Arkansas’s diamond site, the Crater of Diamonds State Park, the world’s only diamond-bearing site where the public can search for diamonds in the rough. During the first nine days of this month, the five largest diamonds have weighed over a carat. The gems were a 1.08-carat white diamond found by a visitor from Fort Meyers, Florida; a 1.12-carat brown diamond found by a visitor from Murfreesboro, Arkansas; a 1.18-carat white diamond found by visitor from Delaware, Arkansas; a 2.93-carat light brown diamond found by a young visitor from Butler, Missouri, and a 4.80-carat white diamond found Saturday by Milton Milam from Shreveport, Louisiana.

Milam unearthed his 4.80-carat white diamond late Saturday, June 9. His gem is the largest diamond found so far this year at the park. This year’s second largest was a 2.93-carat diamond unearthed last Tuesday by a Missouri teenager. The third largest was a 2.67-carat yellow diamond found by a park visitor from Delight, Arkansas, in February.

According to the park staff, Milam had spent the day digging in the West Drain of the park’s search area, a 37 ½-acre plowed field that is the eighth largest diamond-bearing deposit in the world in surface area. [NOTE: In September 2006 trenching was done in the West Drain, and earlier during August 2005 in the East Drain, to open up new material for visitors to search in these low areas within the diamond search field.] He found the diamond around 4:50 p.m. while washing the material he’d dug from the West Drain at one of the park’s washing pavilions. According to Milam, who hunted regularly for diamonds at the park back in the 1980s, “this is the largest diamond I’ve found here, but it isn’t the prettiest.” He noted that he’d “found a flawless diamond” at the park in the past.

According to Park Interpreter Rachel Engebrecht, “Mr. Milam’s find was an “off-white, dodecahedral-shape diamond.” She noted that the somewhat cube-shape diamond had a metallic look, as do many raw diamonds, and it was very “silvery on the outside.”

She noted that this was the largest diamond found so far this year and the largest diamond that’s been unearthed at the park since Bob Wehle from Ripon, Wisconsin, discovered a 5.47-carat canary diamond in October 2006. Another park staff member to see Milam’s 4.80-carat gem was Park Interpreter Aneesah Rasheed. She said, “I started working here at the Crater of Diamonds two and a half years and this is the second largest diamond I’ve held.” According to Rasheed, “I got to hold the 6.35-carat brown Roden Diamond that Mr. and Mrs. Roden from Point, Texas, found last September. However, I missed getting to see Bob Wehle’s 5.47-carat yellow diamond that he named the Sunshine Diamond.”

Rasheed noted that Milam’s gem marked the 337th diamond found so far this year. She said that last year by June 9 visitors had found 220 diamonds at the park. This year by that same date, park visitors have found 337 diamonds. “What a great year the park visitors are having,” she said, “and, what a great June!” 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. On average, two diamonds are found each day by park visitors.

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 in the early 1970s. 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 diamond site 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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