A lucky little girl found a nice-sized diamond recently while visiting an Arkansas state park known for its diamond fields.
On Sept. 1, 7-year-old Aspen Brown of Paragould, Arkansas, discovered a 2.95-carat “golden brown” diamond while celebrating her birthday and searching for gems with her father and grandmother at Crater of Diamonds State Park in southwestern Arkansas.
While taking a break near a fence line, she came across a green pea-sized rock and ran to tell her father.
A recent photo posted to the Crater of Diamonds State Park page shows what some of the search area looks like: a large dirt field. The park has a 37.5-acre diamond search area, and around 75,000 diamonds have been found here since the first ones were discovered by the farmer who owned the land before it became a state park.
Why are so many diamonds found at this particular park? It’s situated on top of an ancient volcano, which brought diamonds formed deep in the earth up to its surface.
Aspen may have had extra luck on her side the day she was there. An excavation company working on an erosion-management project had recently finished turning over a large amount of fresh soil on the north side of the field where she looked.
“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, Crater of Diamonds park superintendent, in a statement from Arkansas State Parks. “Several tons of unsearched diamond-bearing material were exposed and it’s very possible that this diamond and others were uncovered as a result.”
A few diamonds, most the size of a grain of rice, are found almost every day at the park. A recent Facebook post for the state park listed several diamonds visitors discovered in August, along with the color and points (or fractions of a carat) of each one.
Visitors who find gemstones at Crater of Diamonds State Park get to keep their discoveries. Park rangers will also help verify and log finds, though you’ll need to get them appraised to figure out what they might be worth.
The most valuable diamond found at the park was an 8.52-carat white diamond found by a visitor from Colorado in 2015. Because of its flawless color and clarity, the so-called Esperanza diamond was valued at $1 million. But the largest diamond ever found at Crater of Diamonds since it first opened as a state park in 1972 was a 16.37-carat stone discovered in 1975.
You can check the park’s FAQ page to read more about what to expect when visiting Crater of Diamonds. You’ll want to wear good shoes and bring extra water while searching in the warmer months. And if you don’t have your own diamond digging and sifting equipment, you can rent some at the park.
While many people are first-time visitors to the park, some are regular searchers. One man, who found a 3.29-carat brown diamond at the park in March 2023, has collected over 400 diamonds there in 16 years. In 2022, another regular came across a 2.38-carat brown diamond. However, new visitors — including a California resident passing through the area who found a 4-carat diamond — have also found significant diamonds.
Finders get to name their diamonds too — and Aspen’s pick for her discovery is the Aspen Diamond. It’s a fitting name for a gem found by a lucky girl!