Sometimes a little detour is worth it.
That’s exactly what a California woman did when she and her husband took a trip to Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas—and it certainly paid off.
Noreen Wredeberg of Granite Bay, Calif., was visiting the park with her husband, Michael, when they decided to swing by Crater of Diamonds State Park, who was nearby.
“I first saw the park on a TV show several years ago,” Werdberg told the parks department. “When I realized we weren’t that far away, I knew we had to come!”
Arkansas State Park has the only public diamond area in the country, and visitors are allowed to keep any gems they find. This allure of finding a literal diamond in the rough was too strong for Wredberg, who insisted on going hunting for valuable stones.
After about an hour of searching on September 23, Wredberg found a large, shiny gem: a yellow diamond weighing 4.38 carats.
It turns out that the couple went to the park under the best possible conditions: it had rained a few days before, which often brought up stones from the dirt below.
“The soil had dried up a bit, and when Mrs. Werdberg came two days later, the sun was out,” Park interpreter Wayman Cox said in a press release. “She was in the perfect spot to watch her diamond shine in the morning sun.”
“I didn’t know it was a diamond, but it was clean and shiny, so I picked it up!” said Wredberg of his jellybean-shaped gem.
She took it to the park’s Diamond Discovery Center—where everyone who finds the stone go to verify their finds—and it was confirmed that Werdberg’s rock was a diamond. As of this writing, she is unsure what she is going to do with it.
In terms of estimated value, a four-carat rough diamond costs between $7,500 and $69,000 depending on clarity, cut, and color. The exclusive Wredberg diamond has not yet been certified for value.
According to the park, it is the largest diamond found there in the past year. (An Arkansas man found a 9.07-carat diamond relatively recently, in September 2020.)
More than 33,100 diamonds have been found by park visitors since the Crater of Diamonds became an Arkansas state park in 1972.
Notable diamonds found in the crater include the 40.23-carat “Uncle Sam”, the largest diamond ever found in the Americas, the 16.37-carat “Amarillo Starlight”, the 15.33-carat “Star of Arkansas”, and the 8.52-carat “Star of Arkansas”. – is a carat. According to the park’s website, “Esperanza,”.