Large Brown Diamond Found in Arkansas State Park

July 17th, 2013 by Noam Flint

Digging for gold and diamonds has been part of America’s past since the famous California Gold Rush. While only a few amateurs were lucky enough to find glittering gems back then, even fewer are able to do the same today. However, one lucky Kentucky man, Terry Staggs, recently hit the jackpot while searching for diamonds at the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Ark.

The Patriot Diamond - 2.95 carat brown diamond rough
Terry Staggs holding 2.95 carat brown diamond rough

The Patriot Diamond – A Brown Champagne Diamond in the hand of finder David Staggs
images courtesy of the Arkansas Crater of Diamonds State Park

Staggs, who has been searching for diamonds at the state park for 28 years, stumbled upon an impressive 2.95-carat rough brown diamond July 4. The gemstone, which he has named “Patriot Diamond” due to its Independence Day discovery, is not only the first diamond ever found by Staggs, but the biggest gem to come out of the park this year.

How the diamond was found

Park interpreter Waymon Cox said it’s more common for people to find white and yellow diamonds rather than brown, because the darker hue tends to blend in with the dirt.

“Because of their color, brown diamonds are often difficult to find in the dark dirt of the diamond search area. However, sunny weather conditions on July 4th were perfect for this sparkler to catch Mr. Staggs’ attention as he searched,” Cox said. “Mr. Staggs’ gem was found in gravel on the surface of the East Drain area. Sunlight reflecting off the diamond made it stand out from the other stones.”

Digging for Diamonds Digging for Diamonds

Staggs said he had been searching the grounds in the East Drain area for approximately two hours before finding the stunning brown diamond.

About the park

Crater of Diamonds State Park is a 37.5-acre field and is the only diamond-producing site that is open to the public. The park runs off of a “finders, keepers” policy, meaning anything a visitor finds is his to bring home. According to the facility’s official website, the geology of diamonds found on site go back more than 3 billion years, “with the formation of diamonds as the stable form of carbon in the Earth’s mantle.”

Since 1906, more than 75,000 diamonds have been unearthed on the grounds, though the area didn’t become a national state park until 1972, WHAS 11 reports. While plenty of smaller diamonds have been found, the area is also home to the largest diamond ever dug up in the U.S. The white diamond with a pink cast called “Uncle Sam,” was found in 1924 and weighed in at 40.23 carats.