It took less than an hour for Dan Frederick, of Renton, Washington, and his daughter Lauren to spot a 2.03-carat white diamond on the side of a plowed furrow at Arkansas’s Crater of Diamonds State Park. The Fredericks arrived at Arkansas’s diamond site at 8 a.m. on Monday, October 3, 2016 and by 9 a.m. they were holding “The Lucky Diamond.”
The first time was the charm for the Fredericks. They’d never been to Crater of Diamonds State Park before. In fact, they traveled all the way from the West Coast based on what they found when they searched the Internet for “places to find gems.”
“My dad and I have always loved to hunt for gems; we’ve dug for sapphires and garnets and always search for agates when we’re on the Washington coast. Naturally, we had always wanted to go to Arkansas to dig for diamonds,” Lauren said. “As much as we have talked about the trip and planned it out, I think we’re still kind of in shock that we found something as big and beautiful as our ‘Lucky Diamond.’ When we first found the diamond we kept looking up pictures on the Internet to make sure it was real and kept guessing what the weight would be (my guess was closest!). We were so excited with our find that we actually walked around the park for another seven hours with the diamond in my dad’s pocket, trying to find another one. It really was the cherry on top of a fun and special trip with my dad. Finding the diamond will be one of my favorite memories, especially since my dad and I found it together.”
They found their gem near the Star of Arkansas diamond marker on the north end of the park’s 37.5-acre diamond search area. Dan Frederick noted that he spotted the diamond’s metallic shine on top of the ground about three feet away from where he was standing.
Park Interpreter Betty Coors noted, “Dan Frederick has proven, once again, that it is possible to find large, beautiful diamonds while surface searching. This is an example of a diamond that all park visitors dream of taking home.”
Larger diamonds are occasionally found on top of the search area by park visitors. Diamonds are a bit heavy for their size, and when rain washes dirt away, they are sometimes exposed to the surface. When the sun comes out, they sparkle and are easier to spot.
Dan and Lauren Frederick say they plan to keep their diamond. However, they haven’t said what they will do with it.
Coors noted, “The Lucky Diamond is pearly white in color. It appears to be a macle gem, a distinct triangular shape that results when two diamond crystals share part of the same structure during formation deep within the earth.”
Quick Facts about Crater of Diamonds State Park
In total, over 75,000 diamonds have been unearthed at the Crater of Diamonds since the first diamonds were found here in 1906 by John Huddleston, a farmer who owned the land long before it 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 visitors to the state park 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 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 gem named the Illusion Diamond, which is the third-largest gem found at the park.
In June 2015, another visitor from Colorado discovered an 8.52-carat white diamond named the Esperanza, the fifth-largest diamond found by a visitor. In September 2015, celebrated diamond cutter Mike Botha cut the Esperanza into a 4.6-carat triolette shape during a public event in North Little Rock. The diamond was later graded colorless and internally flawless by the American Gem Society and valued at $500,000.
Another notable diamond from the Crater of Diamonds 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 was certified as perfect 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.
An additional 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. 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.