An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the previous record for the second-largest diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park since its opening in 1972 was a 7.44-carat brown diamond found in 2017. In fact, an 8.82 carat white diamond found in 1981 held that previous record.
Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas allows visitors to hand-sift 37 acres of plowed earth for the chance to take home a natural diamond — usually around a quarter of a carat and often found daily. But it’s certainly not every day that a visitor lifts a 9-carat stone, as one person did earlier this month.
Arkansan Kevin Kinard visited Crater of Diamonds with some friends on Labor Day to search the volcanic fields for gemstones, which he has done regularly since he was a kid, according to a news release from Arkansas State Parks. This time, the 33-year-old unearthed a shiny, dark stone about the size of a marble, which he thought might be glass.
“I almost didn’t have [park staff] check my finds, because I didn’t think I had found anything,” Kinard said in the release. But when one friend went to have her own finds checked, he followed suit with the round stone in hand.
The park’s Diamond Discovery Center identified Kinard’s rock as a 9.07-carat brown diamond. “I honestly teared up when they told me,” he said. “I was in complete shock!”
The stone is the second-largest diamond ever found at the park, which opened in 1972 and is one of the only public diamond fields in the world. Crater of Diamonds has registered over 240 diamonds this year, according to the news release, and sees an average of about one or two diamonds per day. Visitors often bring their own tools to search the 37-acre diamond field, but they aren’t allowed to use battery or motor-powered tools.
“A find like this is always thrilling for the park guest, as well as the park staff, who get to help identify the gem and share in the excitement,” Stacy Hurst, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism, said in the release.
The previous record for the second-largest diamond found at the park since its 1972 opening was an 8.82 carat white diamond found in 1981. In 2019, a Texas woman found a 3.72-carat yellow diamond at the park. The largest diamond ever found there is a 16.37-carat white diamond named Amarillo Starlight, which was unearthed in 1975. Assistant Superintendent Dru Edmonds said in the release, “Mr. Kinard’s diamond is very large, with a brandy brown color. It has a rounded, dewdrop shape and a metallic shine typical of all Crater diamonds.”
Waymon Cox, park interpreter at Crater of Diamonds, told The Washington Post via email that the park employees “cannot determine a diamond’s value at the park,” but he noted that similarly sized finds have been estimated to be worth a fortune in the past. In 2015, for example, an 8.52-carat diamond found at the park was valued at around $1,000,000 after it was cut into a 4.63-carat triolette.
Lucky visitors who do find diamonds are typically asked to name the stones, and Kinard named his in honor of friends who visited the park with him on Labor Day — the Kinard Friendship Diamond.
“We love to travel together and had such a great time out here,” Kinard said of their trip to the park. “It was a very humbling experience.”