Crater of Diamonds State Park

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Crater of Diamonds State Park
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Digging for diamonds, 2007
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Location of Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas
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Crater of Diamonds State Park (the US)
Location Murfreesboro, Pike, Ouachita Mountains, Arkansas, United States
Coordinates 34°1′59″N93°40′13″W / 34.03306°N 93.67028°W / 34.03306; -93.67028 Coordinates: 34°1′59″N93°40′13″W / 34.03306°N 93.67028°W / 34.03306; -93.67028
Area911 acres (369 ha) [1]
Established1972 [1]
Named forDiamond mine
Governing body Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism
Website Crater of Diamonds State Park

Crater of Diamonds State Park is a 911-acre (369 ha) Arkansas state park in Pike County, Arkansas, in the United States. The park features a 37.5-acre (15.2 ha) plowed field, the world's only diamond-bearing site accessible to the public. Diamonds have continuously been discovered in the field since 1906, including the Strawn-Wagner Diamond. [2] The site became a state park in 1972 after the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism purchased the site from the Arkansas Diamond Company and Ozark Diamond Mines Corporation, who had operated the site as a tourist attraction previously. [1]

Pike County, Arkansas County in the United States

Pike County is a county located in the U.S. state of Arkansas. As of the 2010 census, the population was 11,291. The county seat is Murfreesboro. Pike County is Arkansas's 25th county, formed on November 1, 1833, and named for Lieutenant Zebulon Pike, the explorer who discovered Pikes Peak. It is an alcohol prohibition or dry county.

Arkansas State of the United States of America

Arkansas is a state in the southern region of the United States, home to over 3 million people as of 2018. Its name is of Siouan derivation from the language of the Osage denoting their related kin, the Quapaw Indians. The state's diverse geography ranges from the mountainous regions of the Ozark and the Ouachita Mountains, which make up the U.S. Interior Highlands, to the densely forested land in the south known as the Arkansas Timberlands, to the eastern lowlands along the Mississippi River and the Arkansas Delta.

United States federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.



A supplement to the Nashville News of nearby Nashville, Arkansas, advertising diamonds mining in the early 1900s Diamond mines of Arkansas supplement Nashville News 1906.jpg
A supplement to the Nashville News of nearby Nashville, Arkansas, advertising diamonds mining in the early 1900s

In August 1906, John Huddleston found two strange crystals on the surface of his 243-acre (98 ha) farm near Murfreesboro, Arkansas, and soon became known as the first person outside South Africa to find diamonds at their original source. The following month, Huddleston and his wife, Sarah, sold an option on the 243 acres (98 ha) to a group of Little Rock investors headed by banker-attorney Samuel F. (Sam) Reyburn, who undertook a careful, deliberate test of the property. [3]

Murfreesboro, Arkansas City in Arkansas, United States

Murfreesboro is a city in, and the county seat of, Pike County, Arkansas, United States. Its population was 1,764 at the 2000 census. The city is known for the Crater of Diamonds State Park located south of the city.

South Africa Republic in the southernmost part of Africa

South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. It is bounded to the south by 2,798 kilometres (1,739 mi) of coastline of Southern Africa stretching along the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans; to the north by the neighbouring countries of Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe; and to the east and northeast by Mozambique and Eswatini (Swaziland); and it surrounds the enclaved country of Lesotho. South Africa is the largest country in Southern Africa and the 25th-largest country in the world by land area and, with over 57 million people, is the world's 24th-most populous nation. It is the southernmost country on the mainland of the Old World or the Eastern Hemisphere. About 80 percent of South Africans are of Sub-Saharan African ancestry, divided among a variety of ethnic groups speaking different African languages, nine of which have official status. The remaining population consists of Africa's largest communities of European (White), Asian (Indian), and multiracial (Coloured) ancestry.

After 1906, several attempts at commercial diamond mining failed. The only significant yields came from the original surface layer, where erosion over a long period of time had concentrated diamonds. In the early period, 1907–1932, yields from this "black gumbo" surface material often exceeded thirty carats per hundred loads (50 mg/Mg) (standard 1600-pound tramload of the early period). Highest yields from the undisturbed subsurface material (described as kimberlite or volcanic breccia by the U.S. Geological Survey) were two carats per hundred loads (3.5 mg/Mg) in 1908 and about two carats per hundred short tons (4.4 mg/Mg) in 1943−1944.

Mining The extraction of valuable minerals or other geological materials from the earth

Mining is the extraction of valuable minerals or other geological materials from the earth, usually from an ore body, lode, vein, seam, reef or placer deposit. These deposits form a mineralized package that is of economic interest to the miner.

Carat (mass) unit of mass

The carat (ct), is a unit of mass equal to 200 mg and is used for measuring gemstones and pearls. The current definition, sometimes known as the metric carat, was adopted in 1907 at the Fourth General Conference on Weights and Measures, and soon afterwards in many countries around the world. The carat is divisible into one hundred points of two milligrams each. Other subdivisions, and slightly different mass values, have been used in the past in different locations.

Kimberlite An igneous rock which sometimes contains diamonds

Kimberlite is an igneous rock, which sometimes contains diamonds. It is named after the town of Kimberley in South Africa, where the discovery of an 83.5-carat (16.70 g) diamond called the Star of South Africa in 1869 spawned a diamond rush and the digging of the open-pit mine called the Big Hole. Previously, the term kimberlite has been applied to olivine lamproites as Kimberlite II, however this has been in error.

Because equipment of the early period usually included bottom screens with mesh larger than 1/16 inch (1.6 mm), thousands of smaller diamonds were allowed to pass through. The bulk of these ended up in drainage cuts of varying depths all over the field and in the big natural drains on the east and west edges of the diamond-bearing section of the volcanic deposit (approximately 35 acres (14 ha) of volcanic breccia on the east side of the 80-acre (32 ha) pipe). In recent decades, those small diamonds have been the bread-and-butter of recreational diamond digging.

Soon after the first diamond was found, a "diamond rush" created a boomtown atmosphere around Murfreesboro. According to old tales, hotels in Murfreesboro turned away 10,000 people in the space of a year. Supposedly, these aspiring diamond miners formed a tent city near the mine, which was named "Kimberly" in honor of the famous Kimberley diamond district in South Africa. On the other hand, all available evidence indicates that the Town of Kimberly originated as a land-development venture in 1909, initiated by Mallard M. Mauney and his oldest son, Walter, on their land immediately south of Murfreesboro. The project failed soon afterward as the speculative boom generated by the diamond discovery collapsed. Today, the Kimberly area is almost all cow pasture, owned by Mauney's descendants.

Diamond rush

A diamond rush is a period of feverish migration of workers to an area that has had a discovery of diamonds. Major diamond rushes took place in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in South Africa and South-West Africa.

Boomtown community that experiences sudden and rapid population and economic growth

A boomtown is a community that undergoes sudden and rapid population and economic growth, or that is started from scratch. The growth is normally attributed to the nearby discovery of a precious resource such as gold, silver, or oil, although the term can also be applied to communities growing very rapidly for different reasons, such as a proximity to a major metropolitan area, huge construction project, or attractive climate.

Tent city

A tent city is a temporary housing facility made using tents or other temporary structures. Informal tent cities may be set up without authorization by homeless people or protesters. As well, state governments or military organizations set up tent cities to house refugees, evacuees, or soldiers. Tent cities set up by homeless people may be similar to shanty towns, which are informal settlements in which the buildings are made from scrap building materials.

During the Second World War, the U.S. government took over the mine and granted a contract to Glen Martin to extract this rare war material. Although diamonds were obtained, and the concentration of diamonds similar to other producing mines, this was not fully successful as a venture due to the large costs involved with U.S. labor. After the war, the property was returned to the previous owners. From 1951 to 1972, the crater hosted several private tourist attractions. The first, The Diamond Preserve of the United States, lasted only about one year. In late 1951, Howard A. Millar stepped in and salvaged the infant tourist industry. In April 1952, Millar and his wife, Modean, launched their Crater of Diamonds attraction. Howard Millar, an accomplished writer and promoter, stirred unprecedented national publicity and drew enough visitors to sustain the operation. In March 1956, a visitor found the Star of Arkansas on the cleared surface. The rare beauty weighed 15.33 carats (3.066 g). Later, Roscoe Johnston opened a rival tourist attraction, the Arkansas Diamond Mine, on the main part of the diamond field.

The rivalry between the two tourist operations left both in a weakened position. In 1970, the entire volcanic formation was consolidated by a private partnership, which then reassigned the property to General Earth Minerals (GEM) of Dallas, Texas. GEM expected to turn the property over for a profit, but ended up heavily indebted to GF Industries (GFI) of Dallas. Upon default, GFI took the property in July 1971.

GEM consolidated the tourist operation as well as the property. GFI continued the attraction until it sold the 80-acre (32 ha) volcanic formation and some 800 acres (320 ha) to the State of Arkansas in March 1972 for $750,000. The tourist operation continued as the centerpiece of Crater of Diamonds State Park. [4]

Due in part to the park, and also because Arkansas was the first place outside South Africa where diamonds were found at their original volcanic source, this special gem has come to be associated with the Natural State. A large diamond symbol has dominated the state flag since 1912. The Arkansas State Quarter, released in 2003, bears a diamond on its face.


The Crater of Diamonds volcanic pipe is part of a 95-million-year-old eroded volcano. The deeply sourced lamproite magma, from the upper mantle, brought the diamonds to the surface. The diamonds had crystallized in the cratonic root of the continent long before and were sampled by the magma as it rose to the surface.

The geology of the area and the diamond formation process itself were the subjects of the Ph.D. dissertation of Roland Everett Langford in 1973 from the University of Georgia; in it, he proposed a gas phase reaction from the reduction of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide in the upper mantle. The dissertation was on display at the state park for many years.

The lamproite diamond source is unusual, as almost all diamonds are mined from kimberlite and from alluvial deposits of diamonds weathered from kimberlite. The most prominent lamproite diamond source is the Argyle diamond mine in Australia.


Pool at Crater of Diamonds State Park Crater of diamonds SP pool.jpg
Pool at Crater of Diamonds State Park

Crater of Diamonds State Park is famous for the 37.5-acre (15.2 ha) plowed field on which visitors can hunt for diamonds and other semi-precious gems. On average, two diamonds are found per day by park visitors. [5] A visitor center contains information about the geology of the park, a gift shop, and a cafe. Interested visitors can continue to the Diamond Discovery Center, which offers an interpretive look at prospecting for diamonds. The Diamond Springs aquatic playground, enclosed pavilion, trails, and picnic areas surround the diamond field. [2] The park offers campers 47 Class AAA facilities near the Little Missouri River. [5]

Diamond mine

Crater of Diamonds State Park is situated over an eroded lamproite volcanic pipe. The park is open to the public and, for a small fee, rockhounds and visitors can dig for diamonds and other gemstones. Park visitors find more than 600 diamonds each year of all colors and grades. [6] Over 29,000 diamonds have been found in the crater since it became a state park. Visitors may keep any gemstone they find regardless of its value. [6]

In addition to diamonds, visitors may find semi-precious gems such as amethyst, agate, and jasper or approximately 40 other minerals such as garnet, phlogopite, quartz, baryte, and calcite.

Notable diamonds found

Esperanza Triolette Pendant by Mike Botha and Ian Douglas, The Inspired Collection Esperanza Triolette Pendant.jpg
Esperanza Triolette Pendant by Mike Botha and Ian Douglas, The Inspired Collection
Kahn Canary in 1992 Dunay setting Cynnabar ring for Hillary Clinton 1992 inaugural ball.jpg
Kahn Canary in 1992 Dunay setting
Notable diamonds found
YearFinderDiamond NameWeight (carat)Weight (gram)ColorNotes
1917Lee J. Wagner of the Arkansas Diamond Company17.863.572canary yellowon display in the National Museum of Natural History
1924Wesley Oley Basham Uncle Sam 40.238.046largest diamond ever discovered in the United States
1964John Pollock Star of Murfreesboro 34.256.850
1975W. W. Johnson Amarillo Starlight 16.373.274Largest found since 1972. Cut into a 7.54 carats (1.508 g) marquise [7]
1977George SteppKahn Canary4.250.850canary yellowNaturally flawless. Remains uncut in dodecahedral "pillow" shape [7]
1978Betty LamleLamle Diamond8.611.722fourth largest found since 1972
1981Carroll BlankenshipStar of Shreveport8.821.764second largest found since 1972
1990Shirley Strawn Strawn-Wagner Diamond 3.090.618cut to 1.09 carats (218 mg) in 1997; graded a "perfect" 0/0/0 by the American Gem Society in 1998, making it the first diamond ever to receive such an AGS grading. Currently on exhibit at the park.
1991Joe FedzoraBleeding Heart Diamond6.231.246brownish yellow
1997Richard CooperCooper Diamond6.721.344deep purplish-brown
1997Richard CooperCooper Diamond6.001.200brown/cognacnew owners from Florida since 2008
2006Marvin CulverOkie Dokie Diamond4.210.842deep canary yellowFlawless. Seen on Today Show, MSNBC, Inside Edition and Travel Channel and published in Lost Treasure magazine (twice), Western and Eastern Treasures magazine, Mineralogical Record and Rocks & Minerals.
2006Bob WehleSunshine Diamond5.471.094deep canary yellowflawless
2006Donald and Brenda RodenRoden Diamond6.351.270honey brown
2007Chad Johnson4.380.876tea-colored [8]
2008Denis TyrrellKimberly Diamond4.420.884 [9]
2008Richard BurkeSweet Caroline4.680.936white [10]
2009Glenn WorthingtonEaster Sunrise Diamond2.040.408yellow [11]
2010Glenn WorthingtonBrown Rice Diamond2.130.426light brown [12]
2011Beth GilbertsonIllusion Diamond8.661.732whitethird largest diamond found since 1972, and largest in almost 30 years [13] [14]
2013Michael DetlaffGod’s Glory Diamond5.161.032honey brown [15]
2013Tana ClymerGod's Jewel3.850.770canary yellow [16]
2014Brandon KalendaJax Diamond2.890.578white [17] [18]
2014David AndersonLimitless Diamond6.191.238white [19]
2015Susie ClarkHallelujah Diamond3.690.738white [20]
2015Bobbie OskarsonEsperanza Diamond8.521.704Type IIa, D IFThe fifth largest diamond found since 1972 and the first of the exceptional Arkansas diamonds to be cut and polished in Arkansas by Canadian master diamond cutter and educator- Mike Botha [21] [22]
2017Kalel LangfordSuperman's Diamond7.441.488dark brown [23]

See also

Related Research Articles

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Argyle diamond mine diamond mine

The Argyle Diamond Mine is a diamond mine located in the East Kimberley region in the remote north of Western Australia. Argyle is the largest diamond producer in the world by volume, although due to the low proportion of gem-quality diamonds it is set to close by 2020. It is the only known significant source of pink and red diamonds, producing over 90% of the world's supply. It additionally provides a large proportion of other naturally coloured diamonds, including champagne, cognac and rare blue diamonds. On June 21, 2015, after more than 11 years and 42 kilometres of tunnelling, the Argyle underground block cave development was officially completed. In 2013, Argyle is estimated to produce 10.2 million carats with an average per carat price of $25/carat.

Ekati Diamond Mine mine

The Ekati Diamond Mine ("Ekati") is Canada's first surface and underground diamond mine. It is located 310 km (190 mi) north-east of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, and about 200 km (120 mi) south of the Arctic Circle, near Lac de Gras. Until 2014 Ekati was a joint venture between Dominion Diamond Mines (80%), and the two geologists who discovered kimberlite pipes north of Lac de Gras, Chuck Fipke and Stewart Blusson each holding a 10% stake in the mine, until Fipke sold his share to Dominion.

Ultramafic rock igneous rock type

Ultramafic rocks are igneous and meta-igneous rocks with a very low silica content, generally >18% MgO, high FeO, low potassium, and are composed of usually greater than 90% mafic minerals. The Earth's mantle is composed of ultramafic rocks. Ultrabasic is a more inclusive term that includes igneous rocks with low silica content that may not be extremely enriched in Fe and Mg, such as carbonatites and ultrapotassic igneous rocks.

Lamproite Ultrapotassic mantle-derived volcanic or subvolcanic rock

Lamproite is an ultrapotassic mantle-derived volcanic or subvolcanic rock. It has low CaO, Al2O3, Na2O, high K2O/Al2O3, a relatively high MgO content and extreme enrichment in incompatible elements.

Williamson diamond mine

The Williamson Diamond Mine is a diamond mine 23 kilometres (14 mi) northeast of Shinyanga in Tanzania; it became well known as the first significant diamond mine outside of South Africa. The mine was established in 1940 by Dr. John Williamson, a Canadian geologist, and has been continuous operation since then, making it one of the oldest continuously operating diamond mines in the world. Over its lifetime it has produced over 19 million carats (3,800 kg) of diamonds. The Williamson mine, once owned by its namesake Dr. Williamson and later nationalized by the government of Tanzania. Since February 2009 the mine is mostly owned by Petra Diamonds, with 75% ownership, the government of Tanzania owning the remaining 25%.

Haggertyite is a rare barium, iron, magnesium, titanate mineral: Ba(Fe2+6Ti5Mg)O19 first described in 1996 from the Crater of Diamonds State Park near Murfreesboro in Pike County, Arkansas. The microscopic metallic mineral crystallizes in the hexagonal system and forms tiny hexagonal plates associated with richterite and serpentinitized olivine of mafic xenoliths in the lamproite host rock. It is an iron(II) rich member of the magnetoplumbite group. It is a light grey opaque mineral with calculated Mohs hardness of 5.

Premier Rose Diamond

The Premier Rose Diamond was one of the large rare gems produced by Premier Mine, of De Beers in South Africa.

The incorporated town of Kimberly, a sparsely inhabited area on the south side of Murfreesboro, Arkansas, began in late 1908 as an ill-fated land-development project spanning almost 240 acres (0.97 km2). At the time, the recently discovered Arkansas diamond field was still generating a speculative heyday, and the enterprising property owner, Millard M. Mauney, envisioned a dynamic settlement based upon a future mining industry. His location was perfect. The diamond field lay only a half-mile away. The planned extension of a railroad into Murfreesboro from the southwest would cut through Kimberly, facilitating investments and development.

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Uncle Sam is the nickname for the largest diamond ever discovered in the United States. It was found in 1924 in Murfreesboro, Arkansas at the Prairie Creek pipe mine, which later became known as the Crater of Diamonds State Park. The diamond was named "Uncle Sam" after the nickname of its finder, Wesley Oley Basham, a worker at the Arkansas Diamond Corporation.

Star of Murfreesboro

The Star of Murfreesboro is a 34.25 carats (6.850 g) blue diamond that is eleven-sixteenths of an inch in diameter. The diamond was found by John Pollock at the Arkansas Diamond Mine near Murfreesboro, Arkansas. Pollock found the diamond on March 1, 1964. It is the largest diamond ever found by a tourist in the Arkansas area. It was valued at $15,000.00 in 1964. Using the Consumer Price Index, to adjust for inflation, the 2006, value would be $95,452.47.

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Kelsey Lake Diamond Mine

Kelsey Lake Diamond Mine is a defunct diamond mine in Colorado, USA. It is located in the State Line Kimberlite District, near the Wyoming border, and consists of nine kimberlite volcanic pipes, of which two were open pit mined.

Strawn-Wagner Diamond

The Strawn-Wagner Diamond is one of a relatively few colorless, internally flawless diamonds found so far in the world, weighing 3.09 carat. It was found in 1990 by Shirley Strawn of Murfreesboro, Arkansas, in the Crater of Diamonds State Park public search field. It was cut to 1.09 carats in 1997, and graded a "perfect" 0/0/0 by the American Gem Society in 1998 and graded perfect by the Gemological Institute of America, making it the first diamond from Arkansas to receive such an AGS grading. The diamond is considered one-in-a-billion, according to Peter Yantzer, the AGS Laboratory Director.

Mike Botha is a master diamond cutter, with close to five decades in the profession, his training and subsequent career began in South Africa and has led him to Mauritius, Russia and Canada – from Vancouver to the Northwest Territories to Saskatchewan.

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  1. 1 2 3 Staff of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism (February 14, 2011). "Crater of Diamonds State Park". The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture. The Central Arkansas Library System. Retrieved February 21, 2012.
  2. 1 2 "Crater of Diamonds State Park". Arkansas State Parks Guide, 2011. Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. p. 19. Retrieved February 21, 2012.
  3. History section by Banks, Dean. "Arkansas Diamonds: Dreams, Myths, and Reality". Pike County Archives and HIstory Society, 2006. PCAHS. Retrieved 24 December 2018.
  4. History section above, Banks, Dean. "Arkansas Diamonds: Dreams, Myths, and Reality". Pike County Archives and History Society. PCAHS. Retrieved 24 December 2018.
  5. 1 2 "Crater of Diamonds State Park" (PDF). Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. 2005. Retrieved February 21, 2012.
  6. 1 2 "Crater of Diamonds State Park Enjoying Spotlight". Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. Retrieved January 17, 2012.
  7. 1 2 "Famous Finds". Crater of Diamonds State Park. Retrieved 2012-01-12.
  8. - Arkansas Man Nearly Throws Away 4.38-Carat Diamond - Local News | News Articles | National News | US News
  9., Arkansas Diamond Digging Regular Finds 4.42 Carat Diamond with Pictures
  10. Visitor From Michigan Finds 4.68-carat White Diamond at Arkansas's Crater of Diamonds State Park
  11., Glenn Worthington finds 2.04 carat Yellow Diamond; Easter Sunrise Diamond with Pictures
  12. Gold Prospector Magazine, Sep–Oct 2010Missing or empty |title= (help)
  13. Crater of Diamonds State Park (April 27, 2011), Colorado Visitor Finds 8.66-Carat White Diamond at Arkansas’s Crater of Diamonds State Park , retrieved 1 May 2011
  14. Eddington, Sarah (April 28, 2011), Salida woman finds 8.66-carat diamond at Arkansas park, Associated Press, retrieved 1 May 2011
  15. Twelve-year-old boy from North Carolina finds 5.16-carat diamond at Arkansas's Crater of Diamonds State Park
  16. "Oklahoma teen finds 3.85-carat diamond at Arkansas state park", Fox News, October 22, 2013
  17. Louisiana Tourist Digs up White Diamond in Arkansas
  18. Kindelan, Katie (March 13, 2014). "Man Finds 2.89-Carat White Diamond in State Park".
  19. "Arkansan Finds 6.19-carat White Diamond Yesterday at Arkansas's Crater of Diamonds State Park" (Press release). Arkansas State Parks. April 16, 2014. Retrieved April 19, 2014.
  20. "Woman Finds 3.69-Carat Diamond at Arkansas' Crater of Diamonds State Park" (Press release). CNN WIRE. April 30, 2015. Retrieved April 30, 2015.
  21. Staff, KSLA. "Large diamond found at Arkansas's Crater of Diamonds State Park". Archived from the original on 2015-06-28. Retrieved 2015-06-27.
  22. "Longmont woman finds hefty gem at Arkansas park" . Retrieved 2015-06-27.
  23. Fish, Madeline (2017-03-16). "Teenager discovers 7.44 carat diamond in Arkansas state park". Fox News. Retrieved 2017-03-17.