PIKE COUNTY, Arkansas — Two people that visited Crater of Diamonds State Park in Pike County recently walked away with large diamonds, one being the 12th largest found there since 1972.
Dr. Mindy Pomtree of Benton, Ark., was at the park in June and found a diamond near Beatty's Hill when she spotted a glittering pebble on top of the ground. She put the stone in her pocket, not knowing what she found.
"I kept feeling of my pocket throughout the day to make sure it was still there," Pomtree said. "I didn't know if it was a diamond but thought it looked cool, and it was definitely shiny!"
After returning home, Pomtree took the stone to a jeweler who confirmed that she had indeed found a genuine diamond.
Park Superintendent Caleb Howell arranged for Pomtree to return to the park to hit it weighed and registered. Howell confirmed that her find is one of the biggest diamonds found during his tenure at the park. The diamond weighs 6.38 carats and is about the size of a pumpkin seed.
Many visitors choose to name the diamonds they find at the Crater of Diamonds. Pomtree decided to name her gem Serendipity, noting that she was lucky to have found it. "I did a little research on how to find diamonds beforehand, but it turned out to be a walk that resulted in my find!"
Last Thursday (July 9), William "David" Dempsey from Athens, Ala., found his own diamond while visiting the park.
Dempsy said he first learned about Arkansas's diamond site from his fourth-grade teacher.
"I've been wanting to visit for more than 30 years," said Dempsey. "Recent news stories about the park brought it back to my attention, so we planned a trip."
Dempsey was wet sifting with his youngest daughter when he found the diamond.
"I was running my finger through some gravel I had just sifted, and the diamond popped right out. My son had come over to tell me lunch was ready, and he saw it at the same time I did."
Park Interpreter Cox noted, "Mr. Dempsey's diamond has a very clear, water-white appearance. It has a beautiful rounded shape and a brilliant shine. It reminds me of many other large, white diamonds that have been found here and is absolutely stunning to see!" Dempsey's diamond was found near where another large white diamond, the Strawn-Wagner, was discovered in 1990.
Dempsey named his gem the Dempsey-Ducharme Diamond, as a tribute to his family's unforgettable experience at the park. He plans to have the diamond examined and appraised before deciding whether to keep or sell it.
In total, over 75,000 diamonds have been unearthed at the Crater of Diamonds since the first diamonds were discovered in 1906 by John Huddleston, a farmer who owned the land long before it became an Arkansas State Park in 1972.
The largest diamond ever discovered in the United States was unearthed at Crater Diamond State Park in 1924 during an early mining operation.