Guardians of Research! Lucky retiree visited Arkansas national park and discovered a 4.38-carat candy-sized diamond

Throughout the pandemic, US national and state parks have seen an increase in visitor numbers as Americans, eager to get out of their homes, rediscover the great outdoors. But a visitor to an Arkansas state park had more than fresh air and exercise on her recent visit when she discovered a 4.38-carat yellow diamond, the size of of a candy, and she is allowed to keep it!

Noreen and Michael Wredberg of Granite Bay, Calif., Retired in 2011 and began exploring public parks across the country. On a recent trip to Arkansas’ Hot Springs National Park, Noreen suggested an additional stop at Crater of Diamonds State Park, near Murfreesboro. It was there that she stumbled upon the gemstone, which she named Lucy’s Diamond, in honor of the couple’s cat.

The park, located in a volcanic crater, is known for its rich array of rocks, minerals, and gemstones, including amethyst, garnet, jasper, agate, quartz and, yes, diamonds. Since the park was founded in 1972, visitors have found 33,100 diamonds there and they are allowed to keep all of them.

The former owner of the land, farmer John Huddleston, found the first stones in 1906, and some 75,000 have been found since.

Noreen Wredberg discovered a 4.3 carat yellow diamond at Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas. Photo courtesy of Arkansas State Parks.

The Lucy Diamond, which is the 258th diamond found in the park this year, has yet to be assessed, according to CBS News.

“Arkansas is the only state in the country to have a diamond mine open to the public,” Arkansas Secretary of Parks Stacy Hurst said in a statement. “It’s such a unique experience and visitors have unforgettable memories whether or not they find a diamond. Of course, finding a diamond adds to the experience!

A family digging diamonds at Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas.  Photo courtesy of Arkansas State Parks.

A family digging for diamonds at Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas. Photo courtesy of Arkansas State Parks.

The Wredburgs surrendered at a fortuitous moment, just days after a storm, when rains had passed through the ground, which helps uncover gems.

“We plow the research area periodically to loosen the soil and promote natural erosion,” park interpreter Waymon Cox said. “Diamonds are a bit heavy for their size and lack static electricity, so dirt doesn’t stick to them. When the rain uncovers a larger diamond and the sun comes out, its reflective surface is often easy to see. “

Diamonds at Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas.  Photo courtesy of Arkansas State Parks.

Diamonds at Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas. Photo courtesy of Arkansas State Parks.

“We really didn’t think we’d find one, let alone something that big! Noreen said.

In 1924, decades before Crater of Diamonds became a state park, miners found Uncle Sam, the largest diamond ever found in the United States. A white stone with a pink cast, it weighed 40.23 carats. A collector bought a 12.42-carat emerald-cut version of it for $ 150,000 in 1971.

The Kinard Friendship Diamond discovered by Kevin Kinard at the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas.  Photo courtesy of Arkansas State Parks.

The Kinard Friendship Diamond discovered by Kevin Kinard at the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas. Photo courtesy of Arkansas State Parks.

The largest diamond discovered since the land became a park is the 16.37-carat white Amarillo Starlight, found in 1975. The second largest stone, the Kinard Friendship Diamond, appeared over the weekend of the festival. of Labor in 2020. Bank branch manager Kevin Kinard found the marble-sized brown crystal, which weighs 9.07 carats, after returning empty-handed during 15 years of regular visits to the park.

See more photos of the Lucy Diamond below.

The Lucy Diamond discovered by Noreen Wredberg at the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas.  Photo courtesy of Arkansas State Parks.

The Lucy Diamond discovered by Noreen Wredberg at the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas. Photo courtesy of Arkansas State Parks.

The Lucy Diamond discovered by Noreen Wredberg at the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas.  Photo courtesy of Arkansas State Parks.

The Lucy Diamond discovered by Noreen Wredberg at the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas. Photo courtesy of Arkansas State Parks.

The Lucy Diamond discovered by Noreen Wredberg at the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas.  Photo courtesy of Arkansas State Parks.

The Lucy Diamond discovered by Noreen Wredberg at the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas. Photo courtesy of Arkansas State Parks.

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