According to Crater of Diamonds State Park Interpreter Waymon Cox, “last week we registered five yellow diamonds at the Crater, including two weighing over half a carat each. Park visitors often cite yellow diamonds as their favorites, although they are the third-most-common color found here.”
“Some of the most beautiful diamonds I have registered over the past seven years have been yellow. To me, the bright hue of a yellow diamond catches the eye quicker than any other color, and they often seem to have fewer flaws than brown or white,” said Cox.
Natural yellow diamonds are formed when small amounts of nitrogen are introduced to the diamond lattice during formation. Nitrogen is the most common impurity found in diamonds, causing almost all diamonds to exhibit some degree of coloration. Generally, diamond color is graded on a scale from D to Z. “D” diamonds are as close to colorless as possible, while “Z” diamonds appear light yellow. Gems with deeper coloration are known as fancy-colored and are graded by their intensity.
The Crater of Diamonds has long been known for its yellow diamonds. One of the most famous is a 17.86-carat gem known as the Wagner/Roebling Diamond, found in the 1920s by Lee Wagner, who managed a commercial mine here at the time. The gem is now part of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Gem Collection in Washington D.C.
Another well-known yellow gem from the park is the Kahn Canary, a 4.25-carat diamond found by George Stepp in 1977. Stepp later sold it to Arkansas jeweler Stanley Kahn, who had the gem mounted uncut in an 18 karat gold and platinum setting. In 1993 and 1997, Kahn loaned his diamond to First Lady Hillary Clinton, who wore it as a symbol of Arkansas to both of her husband’s presidential inaugurations.
While it’s impossible to predict exactly where to find a particular color of diamond at the Crater, some visitors try to increase their odds of finding a yellow diamond by searching where others have been found. The southwest corner of the plowed search area is known as Canary Hill, for the yellow diamonds that originated there in the past. Visitors sift the green soil from Canary Hill to search for yellow gems every year, and many are successful.
Another notable yellow diamond, the 4.21-carat Okie Dokie, was found about halfway between the north and south washing pavilions by Oklahoma State Trooper Marvin Culver in 2006. In 2008 the park erected a marker in the area where the diamond was first unearthed. On most days it’s not uncommon to see people digging near the Okie Dokie diamond marker, no doubt hoping to find a yellow gem of their own.
“I have found a few of my own diamonds at the park, but I have yet to find a yellow one. However, I still dream of the day that I’ll be able to count my own yellow diamond among the most beautiful I’ve seen,” said Cox.
Diamond finds for the week of April 12, 2015 (100 points = one carat):
- April 12 – Bobby Jones, Plain Dealing, LA, 5 pt. brown, 6 pt. white; Jesse Gilbertson, Conway, AR, 3 pt. brown; Catherine Twiggs, Hot Springs, AR, 19 pt. yellow
- April 13 – Adam Hardin, Murfreesboro, AR, 2 pt. white, 3 pt. white, 4 pt. white
- April 14 – Julie Lister, McPherson, KS, 79 pt. white; Adam Hardin, Murfreesboro, AR, 6 pt. white; Mark Amblo, Charlotte, VT, 12 pt. white
- April 15 – Sean LaPrad, Shelburne, VT, 13 pt. white; Timothy Gray, Royal, AR, 67 pt. yellow
- April 16 – Adam Hardin, Murfreesboro, AR, 2 pt. white, 2 pt. yellow, 5 pt. yellow, 6 pt. white, 7 pt. white
- April 17 – Derrek Webb, Little Rock, AR, 69 pt. yellow