Sometimes, a small change can change your life. On Friday, August 16, 27-year-old Miranda Hollingshead of Bogata Texas, visited Arkansas’s Crater of Diamonds State Park for the first time. But according to Hollingshead, that wasn’t her original plan. “I was just going to pick up a transmission that day, but my siblings were in town and wanted to do something fun together.”
Hollingshead, who has known about the Crater of Diamonds for years, decided to go diamond searching when she found out the park wasn’t too far from her home. “When I realized it was only a couple hours away, I knew we had to go!” What started as a fun family outing became the experience of a lifetime when Hollingshead discovered a diamond weighing nearly four carats at the Arkansas State Park.
After searching for about an hour, Hollingshead found the diamond at the base of a hill on the northeast side of the park’s 37.5-acre diamond search area. “I was sitting in the shade, watching a YouTube video on how to find diamonds. I looked over at my kid for a second, and when I looked down, I saw it mixed in with other rocks.”
Hollingshead noted she was pretty sure she had found a diamond when she first saw the stone. “I shook my hand across it to make sure what it was, picked it up, and yelled across the field to my mom, ‘I think I got one!’” After showing her mom and siblings, Hollingshead carried her find to the Diamond Discovery Center, where park staff registered it as a 3.72 ct. yellow diamond. It is the largest registered at the Crater of Diamonds since March 2017, when a teenager from Centerton, Arkansas found a 7.44-carat brown gem. It is the largest yellow diamond since a visitor from Oklahoma City found a 3.85-carat jewel there in October 2013.
Park Interpreter Waymon Cox said, “Every diamond found at the park is beautiful in its own way, and this one is certainly no exception. It’s about the size of a pencil eraser, with a light yellow color and a sparkling, metallic luster. Ms. Hollingshead said her gem’s unique shape reminded her of a rounded molar, with a small indentation in one end.”
Cox pointed out that rainfall likely played a role in Hollingshead finding her diamond. “Much of the ground where Ms. Hollingshead found her diamond is made of unweathered volcanic rock. When it rains, flowing runoff often leaves loose gravel, and sometimes diamonds, on the surface in these areas. Diamonds have a brilliant, adamantine luster that makes them easy to spot, and Ms. Hollingshead happened to be sitting in just the right place to see the diamond sparkle in the sun.”
About one in every 10 diamonds are found on the top of the ground by observant visitors. Park personnel plow the diamond search area, the eroded surface of an ancient, diamond-bearing volcanic pipe, periodically to loosen soil and assist with natural erosion.
Many visitors choose to name the diamonds they find at Crater of Diamonds State Park. Hollingshead and her son named her gem the Caro Avenger. “He chose the name Caro, and I am a fan of superheroes, so it seemed like a good fit.”
When asked whether she plans to sell her gem or keep it as a souvenir, Hollingshead said if she doesn’t sell it, she’ll probably have it mounted in a ring. As of this writing, 319 diamonds have been registered at Crater of Diamonds State Park in 2019, weighing a total of 63.49 carats. 13 diamonds registered this year have weighed at least one carat each.
Quick Facts about Crater of Diamonds State Park
Diamonds come in all colors of the rainbow. The three most common colors found at Crater of Diamonds State Park are white, brown, and yellow, in that order.
In total, over 75,000 diamonds have been unearthed at the Crater of Diamonds since the first diamonds were discovered 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. It was later cut into a 12.42-carat emerald shape and purchased by a private collector for $150,000 in 1971.
Crater of Diamonds State Park is located on Arkansas Highway 301 in Murfreesboro. It is one of 52 state parks administered by the State Parks Division of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage, and Tourism.