The oldest and most famous diamond mine in North America is the Crater of Diamonds which is just south of Murfreesboro, Arkansas. Diamonds were first suspected in the area and in 1889, state geologist John Branner gave the area a thorough surface search and didn't find anything. Seventeen years later, diamonds were found after John Wesley Huddleston bought the land to farm. He was feeding his cattle one day and noticed two small stones in the bottom of the bucket. After taking the stones to town to show the bank president, it was decided they would be forwarded on a Little Rock jeweler. The jeweler then sent them to Tiffany's in New York and both stones were certified as gem quality. One was graded a 3.0 carat, white in color and the other was graded a 1.5 carat and yellow in color. Upon his discovery of diamonds, Huddleston sold his property to some men from Little Rock for $36,000. (Crater of Diamonds State Park)
Throughout the 1900's, the diamond bearing property
passed from owner to owner. It was commercially mined shortly after
Huddleston sold it. In 1949, it was first opened to the public by
the owners at the time. This continued until 1969 when General Earth
Minerals of Dallas bought the property. They never commercially mined
the site, but kept it open to the public as a tourist attraction.
In 1972, the property was sold to the State of Arkansas to be used as a
state park. It still remains a state park and today you can dig for
diamonds and keep what you find for $5.00. The chances of finding
a diamond are very small. On the average, two diamonds are found
each day. The best time to look for diamonds is after a heavy rain.
Occasionally there are a few big diamond finds. The Uncle Sam was
found in 1924 and is 40.24 carats. It is currently the largest diamond
found in North America. The next largest diamond found is the Star
of Murfreesboro found in 1964 at 34.25 carats and then the Searcy diamond
was found in 1926 and is 27.21 carats. The interesting thing about
the Searcy diamond is that it was found near Searcy, Arkansas, 175 miles
from Murfreesboro, Arkansas. (Crater
of Diamonds State Park)
The Searcy Diamond. Image taken from Love Story®.
Diamonds have been recently mined in other parts of North America. In 1996, the State Line Kimberlite District, found near the Colorado - Wyoming border started production of diamond mining. It is the only operating diamond mine in the United States at this time. There are also a number of places throughout Canada, mainly in the Northwest Territories where diamond mining is taking place. Several companies including DeBeers are currently exploring this area for possible diamond mining.
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