Terry Staggs Diamond: Kentucky Man Finds 2.95-Carat Diamond In Arkansas State Park

By iScienceTimes Staff on July 11, 2013 11:05 AM EDT

diamond staggs
Terry Staggs found a 2.95-carat diamond, colored "champagne brown," while digging at Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Ark. (Photo: Arkansas State Parks)

Terry Staggs was visiting a state park in Arkansas on July 4th when he spotted something shiny in the dirt: a 2.95-carat diamond.

The discovery by Staggs, of Richmond, Ky., was exciting but not totally shocking: he was digging through rocks at the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Ark., a 911-acre public park where visitors can dig for diamonds--and keep them. The park is the only diamond-bearing site in the world which is open to the public.

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Staggs has been visiting the park twice for the past 28 years. This isn't his first time finding a diamond in the 38-acre diamond-hunting area of the park, but Stagg's previously found gems were smaller. The champagne brown diamond Staggs found is the largest of 304 diamonds found at Crater of Diamonds State Park this year.

Because Staggs discovered the diamond on July 4th, he named it the Patriot Diamond. He doesn't plan to sell it or even have it appraised, but will keep it in a safety deposit box with his other Crater of Diamonds State Park finds.

"Mr. Staggs' diamond appears to be a complete crystal and is shaped like a shield," said Park Interpreter Waymon Cox. "It's about the size of an English Pea and has a golden brown metallic appearance. The diamond looks similar in shape to the 4.21-carat yellow Okie Dokie Diamond, which was discovered by Oklahoma State Trooper Marvin Culver at the Crater of Diamonds in 2006."

Without taking the diamond to an appraiser, it's not almost impossible to say how much the diamond is worth, since variables in color, clarity and cut can make all the difference when it comes to diamond grading.

The most recent highly valuable diamond found at the park was the Silver Moon diamond found in February 2012. That diamond, which was much clearer but only 2.44 carats, valued at $22,000.  

Since 1906, over 75,000 diamonds have been at the site which is now the Crater of Diamonds State Park, established in 1972.

Many notable diamonds have been found at the Crater of Diamonds. In 1924, the 40.23-carat Uncle Sam diamond, the largest diamond ever discovered in the U.S. was found at the park. In 1990, a 1.09-carat diamond, the Strawn-Wagner diamond, was certified by the American Gem Society with a color, clarity and cut rating of 0/0/0, making it a "perfect" diamond. The Strawn-Wagner diamond is considered by the Society to be a one-in-a-billion diamond.

The largest diamond ever found by a visitor to Crater of Diamonds is the Amarillo Starlight, a 16.37-carat white diamond discovered in 1975.

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