MURFREESBORO -- More than 124,000 people visited Crater of Diamonds State Park last year and found 405 diamonds, weighing a total of 77.12 carats. Visitors from Arkansas registered 82 diamonds, while travelers from 31 other states and Japan registered 323 gems, in 2018, the park said in a year-end news release.
Of all diamonds found in 2018, 282 were registered as white, 66 were yellow, and 57 were brown. The average diamond weight found last year was just under one-fifth of a carat, but eight gems weighed more than 1 carat each.
"While most diamonds are found by digging and sifting soil, about one out of every 10 found last year was discovered on top of the ground in the park's 37.5-acre diamond search area, including the year's five largest finds! Diamonds are somewhat heavy for their size and tend to stay put during rainfall, while smaller, lighter gravel washes away. When the sun comes out, a diamond's metallic shine is often easier to see on the surface," the release said.
Visitors registered only 26 diamonds in January and February of 2018, but as temperatures rose in March, so did diamond finds. On the last day of March, a visitor from Dallas discovered the first 1-carat-plus diamond of the year, a 1.4-carat white gem that ranked as the third-largest of 2018. The diamond had a flat appearance, with a kite-like shape and a few inclusions near the surface.
Finds remained fairly steady throughout spring, and on April 18, a visitor from Columbus, Miss., found another big diamond, the year's second-largest, after more than 3 inches of rain fell on the search area. The 1.42-carat white gem had a thick, oblong shape, with a small chip on one side.
Rain helped uncover large diamonds during summer, as well. After more than 2 inches of rain at the park on July 8, the following day a visitor from San Antonio found a 1.33-carat diamond while surface hunting. The jewel had a pointed shape and a light brown color that stood out against the park's black and green volcanic dirt.
On Sept. 15, a grandmother from Aurora, Colo., picked up the year's largest diamond, a 2.63-carat white gem, just minutes after entering the park. Her diamond was about the size of a pinto bean, with an icy, white appearance. She named it Lichtenfels, after the town in Germany where she grew up.
During a mild and rainy fall, visitors found more than 100 diamonds. On Dec. 1, a park visitor from Conroe, Texas, discovered a 1.35-carat gem, the year's fourth-largest. The diamond was shaped similar to a parallelogram with a broken edge. The sun reflected off the gem's flattened surface, making it very visible in the search area, the release said.
Diamond finds for the weeks of Dec. 23 and 30 included the following; 100 points equals 1 carat:
• Dec. 26 -- Dave Rhodes, New Orleans, 27-point white.
• Dec. 27 -- Emily Meyer, Huntington, Ind., 28-point yellow.
• Dec. 28 -- Robert McDonald, Cedar Park, Texas, 3-point white, 11-point brown; Troy Savage, Antlers, Okla., 16-point white.
• Dec. 31 -- Kirsten Nordin, Marble, Colo., 5-point brown; Jack Pearadin, Murfreesboro, 4-point white.
• Jan. 2 -- Jack Pearadin, Murfreesboro, 36-point white.
• Jan. 3 -- Jack Pearadin, Murfreesboro, 4-point yellow.
• Jan. 5 -- Kenny and Melissa Oliver, Rosston, 1-point yellow, 3-point white; Marilyn and Ally Eaves, Waldron, 24-point white.
Entertainment on 01/10/2019
Print Headline: Park visitors find 77 carats in 2018