A visitor from California found a 4.38-carat raw yellow diamond near an old diamond mine while walking in an Arkansas state park — and she gets to take it home, parks officials reported.
Noreen Wredberg spent just an hour searching with her husband for gemstones at Crater of Diamonds State Park last month, and she found the sparkler just sitting on top of the ground, officials said. The park includes an old diamond mine, and visitors often try their luck on treasure hunts there.
Diamonds are often difficult to spot because they’re raw, uncut and sometimes covered in dirt. But when rain “uncovers a larger diamond and the sun comes out, its reflective surface is often easy to see,” said park interpreter Waymon Cox. Wredberg was searching a couple of days after a big rain but when the ground had dried.
“I didn’t know it was a diamond, but it was clean and shiny, so I picked it up,” said Wredberg, who is from Granite Bay. “We really didn’t think we would find one, let alone something that big!”
Wredberg first learned of the park on a TV program several years ago. While the couple was hiking in another Arkansas park last month, “I realized we weren’t too far away, I knew we had to come,” she said in a statement released by the park.
Park Superintendent Caleb Howell confirmed the lucky strike was a diamond after examining it under a microscope. He described it as the “size of a jelly bean, with a pear shape and a lemonade-yellow color.”
Wredberg’s diamond is the biggest found so far this year, according to officials. Since 1906, more than 75,000 diamonds have been unearthed at the Crater of Diamonds, which became a state park in 1972.
According to park records, 258 diamonds have been registered at Crater of Diamonds State Park this year, weighing a total of more than 46 carats. An average of one to two diamonds are found by park visitors each day.
The park is the only one in the nation with a diamond mine that’s open to the public.
Those who find large diamonds at the park sometimes name them. Wredberg named hers “Lucy’s Diamond” for her husband’s kitten, who’s gray but has “slight tints of yellow in her fur, similar to the light yellow of my diamond,” she said.
She’s considering having “Lucy’s Diamond” cut, depending on a determination of quality.
“I don’t even know what it’s worth yet,” she said. “It’s all new to me.”