A Labor Day trip to Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas turned into the trip of a lifetime for Kevin Kinard. Kinard, who manages a bank in the town Maumelle, went diamond hunting with a few friends. They spent hours sifting through the dirt, looking for the precious stones. While his friends spent their time wet sifting through the soil, Kinard decided to get his hands dirty and started digging through the freshly plowed rows.
As he was searching, he found the marble-sized stone and tossed in his bag, thinking it was just a piece of glass.
"It kind of looked interesting and shiny, so I put it in my bag and kept searching. I just thought it might've been glass," Kinard said.
At the end of the day, Kinard and his friends stopped by the park's Diamond Discovery Center, where employees help visitors identify any diamonds they may have found. Kinard didn't think he found anything of value but decided to have the staff check his bag anyway.
"I almost didn't have them check my finds because I didn't think I had found anything. My friend had hers checked, though, so I went ahead and had them check mine, too."
It was a good thing he had them check because that shiny stone he picked up turned out to be a 9.07-carat diamond.
"I honestly teared up when they told me. I was in complete shock," Kinard said.
Officials said that his diamond was the second-largest ever found in the park. The largest diamond ever found was a whopping 16.37-carat white Amarillo Starlight, discovered in August 1975.
"This latest diamond find is a testament to maintaining the diamond search area with a focus on sustaining the resource at Crater of Diamonds State Park, as well as creating the opportunity to find a diamond and make lifetime memories for all of our guests," Arkansas State Parks Director Grady Spann said. "Not only for the 48 years, we've managed the diamond mine but also for the next generations and beyond."
It is unknown how much the diamond will fetch once it is polished. According to diamondregistry.com, it could be worth anywhere from $123,000 to nearly $2 million.
Photo: Arkansas State Parks