They discovered one of Arkansas’ hidden gems — and not in the figurative sense.
A California couple’s vacation took a fortuitous turn after they discovered a massive diamond at a state park.
“I don’t even know what it’s worth yet,” Noreen Wredberg told Arkansas State Parks news of the ritzy rock, which she discovered last week while touring the aptly named Crater of Diamonds park with her husband, Michael.
The Granite Bay couple was reportedly on holiday at Hot Springs National Park when the astute gal realized they were near the park, which is the only diamond mine in the US open to the public.
“I first saw the park featured on a TV show several years ago,” Wredberg said. “When I realized we weren’t too far away, I knew we had to come!”
So the pair stopped at Crater of Diamonds park and began exploring. A mere 40 minutes later, Wredberg discovered the glimmering gemstone on the ground and handed it to her husband.
The excited gal didn’t initially realize what it was, “but it was clean and shiny, so I picked it up!” she exclaimed.
They took the jewel to the park’s Diamond Discovery Center, whereupon park staff identified the bauble as 4.38-carat yellow diamond.
“When I first saw this diamond under the microscope, I thought, ‘Wow, what a beautiful shape and color!’” park superintendent Caleb Howell said.
He added that the pear-shaped rock, which weighed “more than four carats” was about the size of a “jellybean,” making it the largest gemstone discovered at the site this year.
“We really didn’t think we would find one, let alone something that big!” said Wredberg upon learning the good news.
Howell stated the conditions for uncovering a gemstone were optimal as the area had just received about an inch of rain. “She was in just the right place to see her diamond sparkle in the morning sunlight,” Howell said.
Wredberg hasn’t yet decided what to do with her new “girl’s best friend,” although she has named it Lucy after her husband’s yellow-furred cat.
“It’s all new to me,” exclaimed the overwhelmed treasure hunter, who says she might have her sparkly lottery ticket cut depending on the quality.
More than 250 diamonds have been registered at the state park in 2021, with visitors finding around two diamonds a day on average.
The largest diamond ever discovered in the US was a 40.23-carat beast that was found at Crater of Diamonds in 1924, according to park officials. The crude gem was later cut into a 12.42-carat emerald shape and bought by a private collector for $150,000 in 1971.