Looking back over the past 12 months, the year 2011 has been a successful one for park visitors who hunted for diamonds in the 37 ½-acre search area at Arkansas’s diamond site, the Crater of Diamonds State Park.
According to Park Superintendent Justin Dorsey, over 500 diamonds were found by visitors last year. Of the year’s diamond finds, 30 weighed over a carat each. The year’s largest diamond find was an 8.66-carat white diamond found in April. And on December 12, David Anderson of Murfreesboro found the year’s 535th diamond. His 3.83-carat pear-shaped, yellow diamond marks the fourth largest find for the year.
Park Interpreter Margi Jenks said, “This has been a great year for our park visitors here at the Crater of Diamonds. During every month this year, a visitor unearthed a diamond weighing over a carat. And in April, six diamonds weighed over a carat including the year’s largest diamond find, the 8.66-carat Illusion Diamond discovered by Beth Gilbertson of Salida, Colorado.” She continued, “That white diamond ranks as third largest diamond found by a park visitor since the Crater of Diamonds was established as an Arkansas state park in 1972.”
Jenks noted that David Anderson found his diamond in the East Drain section of the park’s search area. A regular diamond digger at the park, Anderson found the diamond while washing dirt from a hole he dug that was located near holes dug by other park visitors. Jenks said, “It’s a pale yellow, very shiny diamond about the size of dime. That shine is characteristic of diamonds found here at the Crater of Diamonds.”
According to David Anderson, “Everyone else had moved away from that spot. Everyone missed it!” He continued, “It was in the first bucket of material I washed that morning, and I caught the diamond in my top screen.”
Anderson noted that he’s found many diamonds at the park. “This is my sixth diamond weighing over one carat, but this one is the largest of all my diamond finds.” Anderson credits hard work and his “passion for treasure hunting” as the reasons for his success at the park. “You wonder what’s going to be in the next bucket. I’m still looking for an even bigger diamond.”
Originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan, Anderson lives near the park in Murfreesboro now. He decided to name his 3.83-carat diamond the Wolverine Diamond after the Michigan Wolverines football team, his favorite team. “After finding the diamond Monday morning, I met a visitor from Michigan at the park who was also a Wolverine fan. The diamond’s name just came naturally from our conversation,” he said.
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.
On average, two diamonds are found each day at the park. The park’s policy is finder-keepers. What park visitors find is theirs to keep. The park staff provides free identification and certification of diamond found at the park. Park interpretive programs and exhibits explain the site’s geology and history and offer tips on recognizing diamonds in the rough.
Note: This is the first of a two-part series on Crater of Diamonds State Park
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Lost, yesterday, somewhere between sunrise and sunset, two golden hours, each set with sixty diamond minutes. No reward is offered for they are gone forever.