The Quartz Seemed Extra Shiny. It Wasn't Quartz

Tennessee's David Anderson finds 3.29-carat 'Big, Ugly Diamond' in Arkansas state park
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 17, 2023 12:59 PM CDT
This 'Big, Ugly Diamond' Just Turned Up in Arkansas
A photo of Anderson's find.   (Arkansas State Parks)

More than 75,000 diamonds have been found at Arkansas' Crater of Diamonds State Park over the past century or so, with more than 120 emerging from the earth this year alone. Park regular David Anderson just added one more to the mix, and he's already got a name for it: BUD. "That's for Big, Ugly Diamond," the Murfreesboro native says of the 3.29-carat mottled brown specimen he uncovered earlier this month, the park's largest diamond discovery since September 2021, per an Arkansas State Parks statement.

Anderson, who has found hundreds of diamonds in the park since first hearing about it on the Travel Channel in 2007, says he was wet-sifting dirt in the park's nearly 40-acre search area on March 4 when he found the pitted gem. "At first I thought it was quartz but wondered why it was so shiny," he says. "Once I picked it up, I realized it was a diamond." "Mr. Anderson's diamond is about the size of an English pea, with a light brown color and octahedron shape," park interpreter Tayler Markham explains. "It has a metallic shine typical of all diamonds found at the park, with a partially resorbed surface and lots of inclusions."

Markham notes that, for the most part, the diamonds found in the park have smooth, rounded edges due to the volcanic eruption process that brought them to the surface. The park has also produced the largest diamond ever uncovered in the United States: the 40.23-carat "Uncle Sam" white diamond, found in 1924 and now residing in the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in DC.

story continues below

Anderson typically sells the gems he finds to area jewelers, and this time will be no different. The BBC notes that one to two diamonds are uncovered daily at the park, which rents out digging and sifting gear (shovels, buckets, kneeling pads, etc.) to visitors and allows them to keep their finds, which it also helps them identify. (More diamonds stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.