September 23 was Noreen Wredberg’s lucky day.
While walking in Arkansas’ Crater of Diamonds State Park, Wredberg looked down and saw what turned out to be a 4.38-carat diamond. Of course, she picked it up.
“I didn’t know it was a diamond then, but it was clean and shiny, so I picked it up!” Wredberg said, Arkansas State Parks reports in a statement.
Here’s the best part: Wredberg gets to keep her diamond.
Crater of Diamonds State Park is one of the few places in the world where the public can search for diamonds — and keep or sell the ones they find. Sitting outside Murfreesboro, Arkansas, the park has a 37-acre field that actually is the eroded surface of a diamond-bearing volcanic crater. In addition to diamonds, you can also find minerals such as amethyst, quartz, and garnet there.
“Arkansas is the only state in the country that has a diamond mine open to the public,” Stacy Hurst, secretary for Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism, said in a statement.
“It’s such a unique experience and visitors make lifetime memories, whether or not they find a diamond. Of course, finding a diamond adds to the experience!”
Park interpreter Waymon Cox explains that many of the park’s diamonds are found on top of the ground. Here’s why.
“We plow the search area periodically to loosen the soil and promote natural erosion. Diamonds are somewhat heavy for their size and lack static electricity, so dirt doesn’t stick to them,” Cox said. “When rain uncovers a larger diamond and the sun comes out, its reflective surface is often easy to see.”
OK, about now you’re probably wondering just how many diamonds have been found at the park. Get ready for the answer.
Crater of Diamonds explains that 258 diamonds have been registered at the park this year — so far — with a combined weight of more than 46 carats. In fact, on average, 1 or 2 diamonds are found by park visitors each day.
Even more staggering, the first diamonds were found in 1906 by John Huddleston, a farmer who owned the land at the time. Since then, more than 75,000 diamonds have been discovered at what is now Crater of Diamonds State Park.
Wredberg’s Diamond, And Others
Wredberg discovered her diamond after searching the field for about 40 minutes. She then gave the diamond to her husband Michael, who took it to the park’s Diamond Discovery Center for identification. To the Wredbergs’ surprise, park staff told Michael he had a very large yellow diamond.
“When I first saw this diamond under the microscope, I thought, ‘Wow, what a beautiful shape and color!’” park superintendent Caleb Howell said. “Mrs. Wredberg’s diamond weighs more than four carats and is about the size of a jellybean, with a pear shape and a lemonade yellow color.”
At 4.38 carats, Wredberg’s diamond is the largest found at the park since last October, when a visitor from Fayetteville, Arkansas, discovered a 4.49-carat yellow diamond.
Even more impressive, on Labor Day 2020, Kevin Kinard, of Maumelle, Arkansas, found what is the second-largest diamond discovered at Crater of Diamonds. That large, brown gem weighed 9.07 carats.
How You Can Hunt For Diamonds Too
If you’re thinking you now need to go hunt for diamonds too, there’s good news. It isn’t hard or in a remote place.
Located in Murfreesboro, Arkansas, Crater of Diamonds State Park is just over an hour-long drive from Hot Springs. The drive from Little Rock is just 2 hours.
The field where the diamonds are found is plowed when the weather allows to help loosen the surface soil and promote diamond finds. Although plowing is not scheduled, it typically is done once a month during spring, summer, and fall.
There is a fee to hunt for diamonds. For adults, that fee is $10. If you’ll be taking kids or grandkids to help hunt for diamonds, the fee is $6 for those between 6 and 12. Kids under 6 can search for free.
Here’s more good news: You don’t even need to take your own diamond-hunting equipment because you can rent everything you need at the park. For example, you can rent what’s called a “basic diamond hunting kit,” which includes a shovel, screen set, and bucket for $12. You can also rent individual pieces of equipment, such as kneeling pads, box screens, and even a wagon. You can learn more about fees and equipment rentals here.
Now, let’s face it: Few people know how to hunt for diamonds. With that in mind, Crater of Diamonds State Park has several videos about searching for diamonds.
What’s more, you can even camp at Crater of Diamonds State Park. Arkansas State Parks offers information on campsites.
Finally, it should be pointed out that if you do find the gem of your dreams, park staff is not trained in diamond appraisals. However, they can offer resources to help you decide what to do with your diamonds.
If you are planning a trip or simply want to know what it’s like looking for diamonds at Crater of Diamonds, be sure to read Digging For Diamonds At Crater Of Diamonds State Park: 14 Things To Know.