State and national parks can provide an abundance of exciting discoveries. You never know when you might encounter wildlife in its natural habitat, breathtaking scenery or — if you’re as lucky as one recent state park visitor — a gemstone worth thousands of dollars.
California residents Noreen and Michael Wredberg love to travel and visit national parks. In September, the couple was exploring Arkansas when Noreen recalled seeing Crater of Diamonds State Park featured on a television show several years ago. It is the only state park in the U.S. with a diamond mine open to the public.
“When I realized we weren’t too far away, I knew we had to come,” she told Arkansas State Parks.
As many visitors do, the Wredbergs rented shovels and buckets to dig for diamonds. The weather was a bit brisk, so Michael suggested they move out of the shadow of the mine entrance and out into a sunny field.
Here’s a post from Arkansas State Parks announcing her discovery:
Noreen Wredberg found the 4.38-carat yellow diamond sitting on top of the ground within an hour of searching. It’s the largest diamond found so far this year at Crater of Diamonds State Park. Read her story: https://t.co/Pcy8YDJV03 #ARStateParks #Diamonds pic.twitter.com/rFSHa8UCRd
— Arkansas State Parks (@ARStatePark) September 30, 2021
Noreen’s knees started to hurt from kneeling on the rough earth, so she opted to stand up and walk around the field. Whenever she saw something glimmer on the ground, she would check it out only to find several rocks. Finally, however, after about 40 minutes, she saw a sparkle, pushed the dirt from the rock and discovered a shiny, light yellow stone.
“I didn’t know it was a diamond then,” she told Arkansas State Parks, “but it was clean and shiny, so I picked it up!”
Michael Wredberg took it to the park’s Diamond Discovery Center for identification.
“When I first saw this diamond under the microscope,” Park Superintendent Caleb Howell said, “I thought, ‘Wow, what a beautiful shape and color!’ Mrs. Wredberg’s diamond weighs more than four carats and is about the size of a jellybean, with a pear shape and a lemonade yellow color.”
Heavy rains several days before may have unearthed the stone enough for a lucky seeker to locate it.
“We really didn’t think we would find one,” said Noreen Wredberg, “let alone something that big!”
Insider reports that she’ll be able to keep the diamond and is naming it Lucy’s Diamond after her husband’s kitten. She doesn’t know yet what she’ll do with it.
More than 75,000 diamonds have been discovered at the Crater of Diamonds since a farmer named John Huddleston first found diamonds there in 1906, including the largest diamond ever discovered in the United States. The 40.23-carat white diamond with a pink cast was unearthed in 1924.
These finds are possible because the state park is at the site of a volcanic pipe, Arkansas State Parks notes in a tweet. Diamonds formed up to 100 miles underground and molten material called lamproite carried them to the surface.
At Crater of Diamonds State Park, in Murfreesboro, Ark., visitors can search for real diamonds in a volcanic pipe. Park interpreter Waymon Cox shows us the fascinating story volcanic rocks tell. https://t.co/1ERRZjVnhJ #ARStateParks #Diamonds
— Arkansas State Parks (@ARStatePark) September 14, 2021
The park says that visitors find an average of one or two diamonds there each day.