Deep in the woods of southwest Arkansas sits Crater of Diamonds State Park. Since 1906, when the first diamond was discovered by a farmer, tens of thousands of diamonds have been found by the public. And you can try your luck if you like, just head to the park, pay the fee and get digging. Most of the diamonds have been found only a few inches below the surface. It's the only place in the world a regular joe can go search around for a diamond in an area known for producing them. Usually, diamonds come from private mines in Africa. And you don't want to mess around and get caught trying to snoop around those with a shovel hoping to score your engagement ring diamond. Have you ever seen "Blood Diamond?" It's a dirty business
Unlike the Leo DiCaprio movie, diamond-hunting in Arkansas it really pretty darn easy. Crater of Diamonds State Park is about a two-hour drive from Little Rock and about a 4-hour drive from Dallas. Once you're there, the park is happy to rent you all the equipment you'll need, which is basically a shovel, a bucket, and a screen. Simple. After you've got your gear, you head out into the 37-acre field and start digging and sifting. Anything you find is yours to keep. It's like an easter egg hunt. But instead of plastic eggs, you find diamonds!
It's not a scam! It's very real. The park is owned by the State of Arkansas and is actually the reason there is a diamond on the state flag. Thousands of people have found diamonds here and yes, they are legitimate diamonds. In fact, one diamond dubbed the "Strawn-Wagner" diamond was found there in 1972. The diamond was graded "perfect: by the Gemological Institute of America. It's one of only a few in the world to be graded as such. Today, it is on display at the park. Another gem (pardon the pun) found at the park is the "Star of Murfreesboro" (picture below), which weighed in at an amazing 34.25 karats. The diamond was found in 1964 and today is worth more than $100K. Just recently, in 2017, a teenager found a diamond he named "The Superman Diamond" at the park. It weighed in at 7.44 karats. In fact, since 2006, eleven diamonds over five karats have been found by the public.
The first diamond was found in 1906. It was, at the time, the only diamond ever found at its source outside of South Africa. The farmer that owned the land, John Huddleston sold the rights to the field to a group of investors who attempted a few times to turn into a commercial diamond mind and failed each time. For some reason, most of the yield comes from very near the surface. It proved to be too much labor to make it a successful commercial diamond source. Finally, in the 1950s and man named Howard Millar bought the land and turned it into a tourist attraction called "Crater Of Diamonds" and eventually, in 1972, the State of Arkansas bought it for three-quarters of a million dollars and made it the state park it remains today. Open to the public. A public dreaming of striking it rich like an old gold digger panning for precious metal in California in the 19th century.
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