- A 7-year-old was visiting the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas to celebrate her birthday.
- When she was taking a break from the heat, the girl stumbled upon a 2.95-carat diamond.
- The child will be able to keep the diamond, per the park’s “finders, keepers” policy.
Aspen Brown received a surprise gift when she was visiting the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas, on September 1, for her 7th birthday.
While taking a break from the heat, Brown stumbled upon a 2.95-carat brown diamond the size of a green pea, according to Arkansas State Parks.
“She got hot and wanted to sit down for a minute, so she walked over to some big rocks by the fence line,” her father Luther Brown told the park agency. “Next thing I know, she was running to me, saying ‘Dad! Dad! I found one!'”
To come across a gem of that size at the 37.5-acre diamond search area is an “exceptionally rare” find, Aaron Palke, a research scientist for the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), told Insider.
Palke and his team of researchers visited the park last year. They searched for two and a half days and didn’t find any diamonds while at the site, Palke said.
An average of one to two diamonds are found by visitors each day, according to the state park agency. But the size of the gems is typically small.
“Most of the ones you find are smaller than a rice grain,” Palke said of the diamonds.
In more technical terms, a diamond found at the park typically might be .05 to .20 carats, Palke said. One carat is one-fifth of a gram.
“It’s very unusual to find a diamond like that in Arkansas,” Palke said of Brown’s discovery.
Brown’s family could not be reached for comment.
The Arkansas site itself is unique as it’s the only place in the world where members of the public can dig for diamonds and keep them, Palke said.
Stephen Morisseau, GIA’s director of communications, told Insider that the diamonds at the park most likely formed “deep in the earth billions of years ago.” But the gems didn’t come up to the surface until about 95 million years ago — or “relatively recently,” as Palke put it — after a volcano erupted.
“In total, over 75,000 diamonds have been unearthed at the Crater of Diamonds since the first diamonds were discovered in 1906 by John Huddleston, a farmer who owned the land long before it became an Arkansas State Park in 1972,” according to the state park.
About half of those diamonds were found by visitors after the park opened in the ’70s.
The largest diamond ever to be unearthed at the site weighed 40.23 carats or 8 grams. The diamond, named Uncle Sam, was found in 1924 during a mining operation, the state park wrote.
In 2020, a 33-year-old man found a 9.07-carat “marble-sized” diamond. One woman found a 4-carat yellow diamond the following year.
It’s unclear how much Brown’s 2.95-carat diamond would cost especially because Arkansas diamonds are so rare, Palke said, adding that they are not appraised the same way commercial diamonds are priced.
“They’re basically collectors’ items,” he said.
Per the state park’s “finders, keepers” policy, Brown was able to take her diamond home.
The family plans to name the gem Aspen Diamond.