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Man Discovers 2.95-carat 'Patriot Diamond' at Arkansas State Park

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Jul 08, 2013 04:09 PM EDT
The 2.95-carat Patriot Diamond found on July 4, 2013, by Terry Staggs of Richmond, Kentucky
A Kentucky man found a raw 2.95-carat diamond at a state park in Arkansas renowned for its diamond cache. . (Photo : Division of State Parks, Arkansas Dept. of Parks and Tourism)

A Kentucky man found a raw 2.95-carat diamond at a state park in Arkansas renowned for its diamond cache.

Terry Staggs, of Richmond, Ky. spent his Fourth of July weekend in Arkansas at the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, a place he knows well. He visits the park multiple times a year and has dug up diamonds before, according to an official report by Arkansas' Division of State Parks.

The champagne brown diamond, which Staggs named the "Patriot Diamond" because he found it on July 4th, is the largest of the 304 diamonds unearthed in at the state park this year.

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"Because of their color, brown diamonds are often difficult to find in the dark dirt of the diamond search area. However, sunny weather conditions on July 4th were perfect for this sparkler to catch Mr. Staggs' attention as he searched," said Park Interpreter Waymon Cox.

What's left of a 95-million-year old eroded volcano is now Crater of Diamonds State Park, a 37.5 acre (15.2 hectare) plowed field of dirt in southwest Arkansas. The park is the world's only diamond-bearing site that's accessible to the public, and visitors to the site constantly find gems which they are free to keep for themselves. An average of 600 gems - diamonds, amethyst, garnet, jasper and more - leave the park each year.

In 1924, the largest diamond ever discovered in the United States, a 40.23-carat white diamond named "Uncle Sam" was unearthed. Other large notable finds, according to the Arkansas Parks division, include the "Amarillo Starlight, a 15.33-carat white diamond discovered in 1975, and the Star of Shreveport, an 8.82-carat white gem unearthed in 1981. In 2011, an 8.66-carat white diamond named the Illusion Diamond became the third-largest gem registered at the Crater of Diamonds State Park since 1972."

The most perfect diamond ever certified by the American Gem Society, the Strawn-Wagner Diamond, was found at Crater of Diamonds State Park in 1990. Originally weighing 3.09 carats, the stone was cut down to 1.09 carats in 1997 and graded as certified D-flawless in clarity color and cut, according to National Geographic.

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