Man Finds 2.89-Carat Diamond at Arkansas Park Famous for Gems

Friday, 14 Mar 2014 01:27 PM

By Clyde Hughes

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A Louisiana man found a 2.89-carat white diamond at the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas, one of the largest diamonds found in the park this year.

Brandon Kalenda of Maurepas, who was with other family members traveling from Louisiana to Minnesota to visit relatives, decided to stop at the park, according to a statement from the State Parks of Arkansas. 

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Some 75,000 diamonds have been found at the park since 1906 when farmer John Huddleston, who once owned land at the park, first found one. The Crater of Diamonds State Park has been part of the Arkansas' park system since 1972.

"We encourage park visitors to look for pockets or layers on the surface of gravel, and search there," Margi Jenks, a park interpreter, said. "That's exactly what Brandon was doing."

Jenks said that diamond hunting is much like gold hunting and the jewels could be found in pockets of smaller rocks. She said Kalenda picked up the idea from watching the reality series "Gold Rush" on the Discovery Channel.

"No two diamonds in the rough are alike," Jenks noted, per the park's news release. "This is a triangular-shaped diamond with a metallic appearance, and it's about the size of an English pea. Sure enough, Brandon found his diamond after searching for about 20 minutes in the Fugitt's Bank area of the park's search area."

Kalenda named his stone the Jax Diamond after his toddler, Jackson. The park has a "finders keepers" policy on diamonds found at the park.

"Conditions are perfect for diamond hunting right now," Jenks said in the news release. "The park staff plowed the diamond search field at the end of January, and the park received about one and a quarter inch of rain on Sunday—a good, hard washing rain."

Diamonds are formed about 100 miles below the Earth's surface and brought up by volcanic activity where they can be buried for many years, according to Smithsonian.com. They are comprised of carbon and are created with hot temperature and pressure.

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