MURFREESBORO, Ark. -- A young Arkansan's birthday celebration this month featured a sparkling gift from Mother Earth.
Seven-year-old Aspen Brown of Paragould, Arkansas, visited Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro on Sept. 1 and left with a 2.95-carat golden brown diamond, according to a news release. Brown's find is the second-largest registered by a park guest this year, topped only by a 3.29-carat brown diamond discovered in March.
Brown was visiting the park with her father and grandmother to celebrate her birthday. They made their way to the north side of the park's 37.5-acre diamond search area, a plowed field atop the eroded surface of an ancient, diamond-bearing volcano.
According to Aspen's dad, Luther Brown, "She got hot and wanted to sit down for a minute, so she walked over to some big rocks by the fence line. Next thing I know, she was running to me, saying 'Dad! Dad! I found one!'"
Brown picked up a gem about the size of a green pea from a pathway along the northeast side of the search area. On their way out of the park, the family stopped at the Diamond Discovery Center to have their finds identified. There, the park staff confirmed that Aspen's gem was a diamond.
"Aspen's diamond has a golden-brown color and a sparkling luster. It is a complete crystal, with no broken facets and a small crevice on one side, created when the diamond was formed," said Waymon Cox, assistant park superintendent. "It's certainly one of the most beautiful diamonds I've seen in recent years."
Many of Crater of Diamonds State Park's visitors choose to name the diamonds they find at the park. Luther Brown said he thinks The Aspen Diamond is the perfect name.
"There was no skill required for her to find it. She was just in the right place at the right time," he said.
Brown's diamond is the first large diamond registered since the completion of an excavation project at the park last month.
"A contracted company dug a 150-yard trench in August to help manage erosion on the north side of the search area," said Caleb Howell, park superintendent. "Several tons of unsearched diamond-bearing material were exposed, and it's very possible that this diamond and others were uncovered as a result."
The Aspen Diamond was found close to where another large diamond, the 3.72-carat Caro Avenger, was discovered in 2019. As of press time, 563 diamonds have been registered at Crater of Diamonds State Park in 2023, totaling more than 89 carats. An average of one to two diamonds are found by park visitors each day.
In total, over 75,000 diamonds have been unearthed at the Crater of Diamonds since the first diamonds were discovered by John Huddleston, a farmer who owned the land long before it became a state park in 1972. The largest diamond ever discovered in the United States was unearthed in 1924 during an early mining operation on the land that later became the state park.
On Arkansas Highway 301 in Murfreesboro, Crater of Diamonds State Park is one of the only places in the world where the public can search for real diamonds in their original volcanic source. The park is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, except New Year's Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve afternoon and Christmas Day.