Sometimes it’s worth it to take a little detour.
That’s exactly what a California woman did when she and her husband went on a trip to Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas — and it definitely paid off.
Noreen Wredberg, of Granite Bay, Calif., was visiting the park with her husband, Michael, when she decided to swing by Crater of Diamonds State Park, which was close by.
“I first saw the park featured on a TV show several years ago,” Wredberg said to the Parks Department. “When I realized we weren’t too far away, I knew we had to come!”
The Arkansas state park contains the only public diamond field in the country, and visitors are allowed to keep whatever gems they find. This allure of finding a literal diamond in the rough was too strong for Wredberg, who insisted on going hunting for the valuable stones.
After about an hour of searching on Sept. 23, Wredberg stumbled upon a big, shiny gem: a yellow diamond that weighed in at 4.38 carats.
It turns out that the couple went to the park under the best possible conditions: it had rained a few days earlier, which often brings the stones up from the dirt below.
“The soil had dried a little, and the sun was out when Mrs. Wredberg visited two days later,” said park interpreter Waymon Cox in a press release. “She was in just the right place to see her diamond sparkle in the morning sunlight.”
“I didn’t know it was a diamond then, but it was clean and shiny, so I picked it up!” said Wredberg of her jellybean-sized gem.
She took it to the park’s Diamond Discovery Center — where all people who find a stone go to verify their discoveries — and it was confirmed that Wredberg’s rock was a diamond. As of this writing, she’s unsure what she’s going to do with it.
In terms of estimated value, a four-carat raw diamond is worth between $7,500 and $69,000, depending on clarity, cut and colour. Wredberg’s specific diamond does not yet have a certified value.
According to the park, it’s the largest diamond found there in the past year. (An Arkansas man found a 9.07-carat diamond relatively recently, in September 2020.)
More than 33,100 diamonds have been found by park visitors since the Crater of Diamonds became an Arkansas state park in 1972.
Notable diamonds found at the crater include a 40.23-carat known as “Uncle Sam,” the largest diamond ever unearthed in the U.S., the 16.37-carat “Amarillo Starlight,” the 15.33-carat “Star of Arkansas” and the 8.52-carat “Esperanza,” according to the park’s website.
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