Q: What do the largest diamond ever found in North America, and the world’s only known perfect diamond, have in common?
A: They were both discovered right here in Arkansas! That’s right – The Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro holds a number of very impressive distinctions. Here are 10 things you may not know about the park.
It’s the world’s only public diamond mine.
It holds the most concentrated deposit of diamonds in North America.
Diamonds are found elsewhere in North America (including the US) but on nowhere near the same scale and concentration. Around 30,000 diamonds have been found in there since it became a national park in 1972.
This photo of Murfreesboro is courtesy of TripAdvisor
The diamonds there are of volcanic origin.
The Murfreesboro diamonds there originate in a layer of kimberlite – the same volcanic material from the world-famous diamond mines of South Africa. (Don’t worry, these volcanoes were from the age of the dinosaurs – and like T-rex, they are fortunately extinct!)
A Pike County farmer found the first diamond there in 1906.
When John Wesley Huddleston and his family bought 160 acres of farmland just outside Murfreesboro, he didn’t expect that his cash crop would be diamonds. After stumbling across one of the unusual shiny pebbles, he jumped on his mule to take the stone into town. He later sold his farm for $36,000 and earned the nickname “Diamond John.”
America’s largest diamond was discovered at the park in 1924.
The whopping 40-plus carat diamond, nicknamed “Uncle Sam,” remains the largest ever found in North America. It was cut twice over the years and is now a 12 carat emerald-cut.
The so-called “Strawn-Wagner” was discovered at the park in 1990. Originally it weighed over 3 carats, but was cut to a round brilliant weighing around 1 carat. It was placed in a specially-designed ring setting to represent its unique role as a state symbol.
“Graded the perfect grade of O/O/O (Ideal cut/D color/Flawless), or “Triple Zero,” it is the highest grade a diamond can achieve. This is the most perfect a cut diamond can be. A diamond this perfect is so rare than most jewelers and gemologists never see one during their career.”
Crater of Diamonds, “Famous Finds“
Today it is on display at Crater of Diamonds State Park. Read more about the 4 C’s of diamond grading…
The largest diamond found by a park visitor weighed over 16 carats.
The “Amarillo Starlight” diamond was discovered in 1975 by a family on vacation. Not a bad travel story, huh?
Does “finders keepers” really exist?
Yes! It’s true that you may keep any diamonds you find at the park, regardless of its size or value. In fact, it’s estimated that a huge number of finds are never reported to park authorities.
Visitors occasionally make other gem finds, including garnets and amethysts.
There are a few different ways you can be a real-life diamond miner.
The easiest way: You can scan the ground anywhere over the hundreds of acres of the park, looking for shiny specks (hopefully diamonds!) exposed as rain erodes the soil
The most popular way: By shoveling dirt over sieves, hoping to screen out the diamonds – a bit like gold mining.
The hard way: Try your own “mini mine.” This takes an experienced hand (and eye) to know where to locate the best deposits – not to mention considerable elbow grease! You may also search through the “tailings” or waste from old time miners’ claims, looking for anything they might have missed.
Admission is $7 a day for adults and $4 for kids. More info: