MURFREESBORO, Ark. — Walking along a path taken by thousands of others at the Crater of Diamonds State Park, Nicole Ruhter noticed something everyone else had missed — a tea-coloured, 2.93-carat diamond.
Ruhter, 13, of Butler, Mo., said she would name her find the “Pathfinder Diamond” after pulling what she described as a broken pyramid from the ground. Her parents, grandparents, brother and two sisters had already spent the day digging in two other fields before heading down the path just after 7 p.m. Tuesday.
“We were walking through the path and I just walked and saw this little shine,” said Ruhter, who has just finished the seventh-grade. “We wrapped it up in a little dollar bill and took it back and showed them.”
Ruhter said both park rangers and her vacationing family got excited about the diamond, found along a service road. So far this year, visitors to the park have found 332 diamonds, three of them Tuesday alone, said Bill Henderson, assistant park superintendent.
While the park does not do appraisals, Henderson said experts appraised a 4-carat diamond found previously in the park between US$15,000 to $60,000. Henderson said Ruhter’s diamond did have chips and several imperfections.
“It’s a nice diamond,” he said. “It looked like it had been broken off at one side.”
For now, Ruhter and her family said they’d keep the diamond for a time and find out how much it is worth before attempting to sell it.
“I was kind of praying to God. I was saying, ‘I don’t care if it’s worth whatever it’s worth, I don’t care if it’s a tiny little sliver of something, I just want something,’” Ruhter said. “Ten minutes later, I just found it.”
Crater of Diamonds State Park is the world’s only diamond-producing site open to the public and visitors are allowed to keep the gems they find. On average, two diamonds are found each day at the park.
The largest of the 25,000 diamonds found since the state park was established in 1972 was the 16.37-carat Amarillo Starlight, a white diamond found by a visitor from Texas in 1975.