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Crater of Diamonds has gem of a year

Crater of Diamonds has gem of a year

Visitors from as far as Japan find more than 400 stones

January 10th, 2019 by Waymon Cox/Crater of Diamonds State Park in Texarkana News

This 2018 photo shows a 3-carat diamond found by a woman in September at Crater of Diamonds State Park, an Arkansas park known for its precious gems in Murfreesboro, Ark. (Waymon Cox/Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism via AP)

In 2018, the Crater of Diamonds State Park had 124,000 people visit the park and found 405 diamonds, weighing a total of 77.12 carats.

Visitors from Arkansas registered 82 diamonds, while travelers from 31 other states and Japan registered 323 gems.

The diamonds found here in 2018, had 282 registered as white, 66 were yellow and 57 were brown. The average diamond weight found last year was just under one-fifth of a carat, but eight gems weighed more than one carat each.

While most diamonds are found by digging and sifting soil, about one out of every 10 found last year was discovered on top of the ground in the park's 37.5-acre diamond search area, including the year's five largest finds! Diamonds are somewhat heavy for their size and tend to stay put during rainfall, while smaller, lighter gravel washes away. When the sun comes out, a diamond's metallic shine is often easier to see on the surface.

Visitors registered only 26 diamonds in January and February of 2018, but as temperatures rose in March, so did diamond finds. On the last day of March, a visitor from Dallas discovered the first 1-carat-plus diamond of the year, a 1.4-carat white gem that ranked as the third-largest of 2018. The diamond had a flat appearance, with a kite-like shape and a few inclusions near the surface.

"Diamond Finds" remained fairly steady throughout spring, and on April 18, a visitor from Columbus, Miss. found another big diamond, the year's second-largest, after more than three inches of rain fell on the search area. This 1.42-carat white gem had a thick, oblong shape, with a small chip on one side.

Rain helped uncover large diamonds during summer, as well. After more than two inches of rain at the park on July 8, the following day a visitor from San Antonio, Texas, found a 1.33-carat diamond while surface hunting. The jewel had a pointed shape and a light brown color that stood out against the park's black and green volcanic dirt.

On Sept. 15, a grandmother from Aurora, Colo. picked up the year's largest diamond, a 2.63-carat white gem, just minutes after entering the park. Her diamond was about the size of a pinto bean, with an icy, white appearance. She named it Lichtenfels, after the town in Germany where she grew up.

During a mild and rainy fall, visitors found more than 100 diamonds. On Dec. 1, a park visitor from Conroe, Texas, discovered a 1.35-carat gem, the year's fourth-largest. The diamond was shaped similar to a parallelogram with a broken edge. The sun reflected off of the gem's flattened surface, making it very visible in the search area.

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