467 diamonds found at Crater of Diamonds last year

Susie Clark holding her 3.69-carat Hallelujah Diamond

Crater of Diamonds offers park visitors a one-of-a-kind experience and a day filled with adventure as visitors hunt for real diamonds. Visitors will search for these beautiful stones in a 37 acre plowed field; an eroded surface of the world’s eighth largest diamond-bearing volcanic crater.

Diamonds have been found in large numbers. Just last year, park staff registered 467 diamonds, totaling 98.81 carats in weight. Arkansans found 220 diamonds last year, while visitors from 33 other states, the District of Columbia, and two foreign countries found 247 diamonds at the park.

Included in these precious gems registered during the year were; 287 white gems, 84 brown, and 96 yellow. About 15% of diamonds found last year were discovered on the surface of the park’s 37 and ½-acre diamond search area, including all four of the year’s largest finds.

Dean Filppula, an offshore steward from Shreveport, Louisiana, found the first two-carat-plus diamond of 2015. Filppula visited the park shortly after an early February rainstorm and found a 2.01-carat yellow diamond while surface searching in the West Drain of the search area. He named his sparkling, wedge-shaped gem the Merf Diamond, after his mother’s initials.

Two months later, Susie Clark, of Evening Shade in Sharp County, Arkansas, topped off a multi-day visit to the Crater of Diamonds by finding a 3.69-carat white diamond on April 23. During her last day at the park, Clark prayed and asked God, “Are you going to bless me and let me find a diamond today?” Soon after, she picked up a sparkling gem near the South Washing Pavilion in the search area. Because she found it after saying a prayer on her last day of searching, Clark named her teardrop-shaped gem the Hallelujah Diamond.

These finds did not cease, following with a wet spring which uncovered many more diamonds at the park, including one of the largest diamonds ever found at the park.

On June 24, Bobbie Oskarson, of Longmont, Colorado, was visiting the nearby town of Hot Springs with her boyfriend when they saw the Crater of Diamonds advertised on an Arkansas highway map and decided to check it out. About 20 minutes after arriving, Oskarson was digging through a small mound of dirt in the southwest corner of the search area when she found an 8.52-carat white diamond.

Initially, Oskarson thought the crystal-clear gem might be quartz, due to its unusual, elongated shape. However, she soon learned that her gem was actually the fifth-largest diamond found since the Crater of Diamonds was established as an Arkansas State Park in 1972.

Oskarson named her diamond the Esperanza, after her niece’s name and the Spanish word for “hope.” In mid-September, the Esperanza was cut into a 147-facet triolette-shaped gem weighing 4.6 carats and later mounted in a platinum pendant setting to complement its unique shape and luster.

On September 6 Peggy Eaton, of Carl Junction, Missouri, found the year’s third-largest diamond while visiting the park with her daughter. After surface searching for about an hour, the retired counselor located a 2.29-carat white diamond on top of the ground near the search area’s East Drain. Because the wedge-shaped gem featured several chips on the surface resembling an open mouth and two eerie-looking eyes, Eaton good-naturedly named her gem the Goblin Diamond.

Carter of Diamonds says “while this time of year always brings to mind many amazing and endearing stories of past diamond finds, we are also looking forward to the exciting new discoveries we’ll share with our visitors in 2016.”

Most recent significant precipitation: December 28, 2015

Diamond finds for the week of December 27, 2015 (100 points=1 carat):

December 27 – Miranda Lutterbei, Flower Mound, TX, 12 pt. yellow; Adam Hardin, Murfreesboro AR, 8 pt. yellow, 10 pt. white

December 28 – Madison Stea, San Antonio, TX, 3 pt. white

December 29 – Adam Hardin, Murfreesboro, AR, 15 pt. white

December 31 – Chris and Lorie Jackson, Tuttle, OK, 14 pt. white

January 2 – Adam Hardin, Murfreesboro, AR, 16 pt. white; Casey Davis, Tulsa, OK, 1.63 ct. white

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