Visitor From New Mexico Finds 2.28-carat Diamond at Arkansas's Crater of Diamonds State Park

White Gem Was Found Near the Spot Where the First Diamond Was Discovered Here at Arkansas’s Diamond Site in 1906


(Murfreesboro)--Trythall said his father, William, was a “good storyteller.” When Bill and his two brothers, Tom and Bob, were boys, their father would entertain them with stories including many tales of “treasure hunting.” Inspired by their father’s stories, the three boys, all now adults, have enjoyed a life-long love of hunting treasure. Today at 11:00 a.m., Bill found the greatest of all his treasure finds when he discovered a 2.28-carat white diamond at Arkansas’s diamond site, the Crater of Diamonds State Park at Murfreesboro. He named the gem the Trythall Senior Diamond to honor his father who died in March. According to Trythall, his diamond “is shaped like the head of an eagle.” He said, “And, there’s an imperfection in the diamond that’s located just where the eagle’s eye would be if you looked at an eagle’s profile.”

Park Superintendent Tom Stolarz noted that Trythall’s triangular white diamond is called a silver cape because of its frosty appearance and somewhat flat shape. He said that Trythall found his diamond in the southern portion of the park’s 37 ½-acre diamond search area near the spot where farmer John Huddleston found the first diamond here at Arkansas’s diamond site in 1906. According to Stolarz, this is the 725th diamond found at the park so far this year and one of 29 diamonds this year that have weighed over one carat in the rough. He said that on average, two diamonds are found each day by park visitors.

Stolarz noted that conditions at the park today were in Trythall’s favor as he searched atop the diamond search area, a large plowed field. Surface searching is the most productive method following a hard rain and it rained a total of three and half inches at the park Monday evening. Rain washes the soil away from a raw diamond’s oily skin leaving diamonds exposed on the surface of the field. Sunlight reflecting off raw diamonds gives them a metallic look, and today was a sunny day at the park.

“Routine plowing by the park staff, followed by rainfall and then sunshine makes for optimum diamond-hunting conditions,” said Stolarz.

Trythall, who lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, saw a segment about the Crater of Diamonds featured on The Travel Channel’s “America’s Best Places to Find Cash and Treasure.” Following that, he and his two brothers who both reside in Pennsylvania decided to visit the park. This was the first visit for all three. Arriving three days ago, and after two days of diamond searching digging and washing material, the brothers decided to surface search today. As they walked over the diamond search area, Trythall saw something shiny and metallic-looking sparkling on top of one of the furrows left by the park’s machinery that is regularly used to plow the field. As he picked it up, Trythall wasn’t at first certain it was a diamond. Park officials later confirmed his find. According to Tom Stolarz, 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, 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 splendid stone from the Crater is the flawless 4.25-carat Kahn Canary diamond discovered at the park in 1977. Spectacular in its raw form, this uncut, triangular-shape yellow diamond gem has been on exhibit at many cities around the U.S. and overseas. The diamond was featured in an illustrious jewelry exhibition in Antwerp, Belgium, in 1997 that included precious stones from throughout the world including gems from 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, 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. 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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