<p>Noreen Wredberg with her valuable find</p>

Noreen Wredberg with her valuable find

Tourist who found 4.38-carat diamond in US state park gets to keep it

The gem is estimated to be worth between $20,000 and $30,000

Lucy Thackray
Tuesday 05 October 2021 15:48
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A tourist who found a diamond worth over $20,000 in a US national park has been allowed to keep it.

Noreen Wredberg from California was hiking in Arkansas’s Crater of Diamonds State Park on 23 September when she spotted a glinting yellow object in the ground.

“I didn’t know it was a diamond then, but it was clean and shiny, so I picked it up,” she told the State Park’s communications team.

Wredberg declared the stone to the Park’s authorities, who confirmed that it was a flawless yellow diamond.

Park Superintendent Caleb Howell described the 4.38 carat stone as "about the size of a jellybean, with a pear shape and a lemonade yellow color."

The 3.48-carat yellow diamond found in Arkansas

“When I first saw this diamond under the microscope, I thought, ‘Wow, what a beautiful shape and color’,” said Howell.

Wredberg’s diamond is the largest found at the park since last October, when a visitor from Fayetteville, Arkansas discovered a 4.49-carat yellow diamond.

The largest jewel found there was a 9.07-carat diamond found in September 2020.

Wredberg and her husband Michael spend much of their leisure time hiking around America’s National Parks, and were in Arkansas to visit its Hot Springs National Park when they got the urge to visit Crater of Diamonds.

“We really didn’t think we would find one, let alone something that big,” said Wredberg.

She isn’t sure what to do with the gem yet, but might have it cut, depending on the quality.

“I don’t even know what it’s worth yet. It’s all new to me!” she added.

David Allen of Purely Diamonds says: “A rough diamond of this carat weight could get anywhere between 3.00 to 3.50 carat as a polished diamond.

“A diamond of this size would retail at anything from $20k to $30k depending on the intensity of the yellow. The more vivid and intense the colour of yellow the more valuable it becomes.

“While yellow diamonds are more common than other fancy coloured diamonds, they are still rarer than white diamonds and highly sought after. This is a wonderful find and Noreen is a very lucky person.”

The aptly named Crater of Diamonds State Park is a two-hour drive outside the city of Little Rock, Arkansas.

Around 50 gems are discovered in the park each year, but most are less valuable semi-precious stones such as quartz or garnet.

Visitors to the park often find gems just sitting on the surface of the earth.

“We plow the search area periodically to loosen the soil and promote natural erosion,” said the State Park’s interpreter Waymon Cox.

“Diamonds are somewhat heavy for their size and lack static electricity, so dirt doesn’t stick to them.

“When rain uncovers a larger diamond and the sun comes out, its reflective surface is often easy to see.”

“Arkansas is the only state in the country that has a diamond mine open to the public,” added Stacy Hurst of Arkansas’s Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism.

“It’s such a unique experience and visitors make lifetime memories, whether or not they find a diamond. Of course, finding a diamond adds to the experience.”

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