MURFREESBORO–The diamond is the traditional birthstone for those who were born in the month of April. How perfect that Andrea Murphy of Gentry, found a 2.10-carat brown diamond recently while she and her family visited the Crater of Diamonds State Park this week to celebrate her birthday.
According to Park Interpreter Margi Jenks, "Andrea and eight of her family members gathered together at the Crater of Diamonds to celebrate a milestone, her 30th birthday. Her mother, Karen, came up with the idea to visit Arkansas’s diamond site and celebrate the occasion here since the diamond is Andrea’s birthstone." ‘
Jenks said, "The square, iced tea brown diamond was a surface find after Andrea had been here for about two hours. At first Andrea thought her find was either a diamond, or some kind of toy. After the park staff verified and registered her diamond, Andrea decided that the best name for it would be the Andrea Birthday Diamond."
The diamond is the 144th diamond found this year by a park visitor, and it is the sixth diamond since Jan. 1 weighing over one carat. The colors of diamonds found at the park are white, brown, and yellow, in that order.
"Because of their dark color, brown diamonds are the most difficult to find. However, this is the second large brown diamond found at the park in the last two weeks. A beautiful 1.61-carat brown diamond was found by a park visitor from St. Louis, Mo., on March 28," said Jenks.
"The Crater of Diamonds State Park is very much a family place. Multi-generational families, like Andrea’s relatives, often enjoy the park together. The park staff is thrilled that this family get-together resulted in just what they’d hoped for — a diamond to celebrate Andrea’s birthday."
She noted that the conditions were perfect at the park yesterday for a diamond to be found on the surface of the diamond search area. "The park received a number of washing rainstorms in March, and then yesterday was a beautiful, sunny day. A good hard rain will wash dirt away that may be covering the diamonds. So, when diamonds are on the surface of the field, they sparkle, and can be seen easily."
The diamond was found in the East Drain area of the field, a 37 ½-acre plowed field that is 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 registration of diamonds. Park interpretive programs and exhibits explain the site’s geology and history and offer tips on recognizing diamonds in the rough.
Other semi-precious gems and minerals found in the park’s search area 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.
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, privately run mining operation. Named the Uncle Sam, that white diamond with a pink cast weighed 40.23 carats. Other notable finds from before the site became a state park include the Star of Murfreesboro (34.25 carats) and the Star of Arkansas (15.33 carats).
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. It is on display in a special exhibit in the Crater of Diamonds State Park visitor center.
Another 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. 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, Arkansas, and wore it in a special, Arkansas-inspired ring setting designed by Henry Dunay of New York. Mrs. Clinton chose to wear the gem as a special way to represent Arkansas’s diamond site at the galas celebrating both of Bill Clinton’s presidential inaugurals.
Crater of Diamonds State Park is located on Ark. 301 at 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: Margi Jenks, park interpreter, Crater of Diamonds State Park, 209 State Park Road, Murfreesboro, AR 71958. Phone: 870-285-3113. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or visit craterofdiamondsstatepark.com.