Woman finds 4.38-carat yellow diamond less than an hour after arriving at Crater of Diamonds State Park

Sara Karnes
Springfield News-Leader
Larger diamonds are often found right on the surface

Diamonds may be a girl's best friend, but it's quite the feat when you serendipitously stumble upon one lying on the ground at a national park.

That's what happened to a Granite Bay, Calif., woman visiting Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas. 

Noreen Wredberg found a 4.38-carat yellow diamond within an hour of searching Sept. 23, according to a news release from the state park. It’s the largest diamond found so far this year at Crater of Diamonds State Park.

The diamond is the largest found at the park since October 2020, when a visitor from Fayetteville, Ark., found a 4.49-carat yellow diamond.

Wredberg has been retired for a decade, and she spends her time visiting national parks along with her husband, Michael. While visiting Hot Springs National Park, the pair decided to venture to Crater of Diamonds, which is the only state park in the country that has a diamond mine open to the public.

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Noreen Wredberg found a 4.38-carat yellow diamond within an hour of searching Sept. 23.

Moving from the shaded mine entrance to the sunshine, Wredberg walked north of a central pathway when she spotted a gem.

“I didn’t know it was a diamond then, but it was clean and shiny, so I picked it up," Wredberg said.

Her husband took the stone to the Diamond Discovery Center, and park staff confirmed it was a very large yellow diamond.

“When I first saw this diamond under the microscope, I thought, ‘Wow, what a beautiful shape and color,'" said Park Superintendent Caleb Howell. "Mrs. Wredberg’s diamond weighs more than four carats and is about the size of a jellybean, with a pear shape and a lemonade yellow color.”

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At least 258 diamonds have been registered at the state park and weigh more than 46 carats in total. An average of one to two diamonds are found by park visitors each day.

Larger diamonds are often found right on the surface, said Park Interpreter Waymon Cox. 

“We plow the search area periodically to loosen the soil and promote natural erosion," Cox said. "Diamonds are somewhat heavy for their size and lack static electricity, so dirt doesn’t stick to them. When rain uncovers a larger diamond and the sun comes out, its reflective surface is often easy to see.”

Many diamond-finders choose to name their gems, and Wredberg was no exception. She named it Lucy's Diamond, which is for her husband's kitten.

"The name is sentimental to us," she said. "Lucy is mostly gray but has slight tints of yellow in her fur, similar to the light yellow of my diamond.”

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The diamond is the largest found at the park since October 2020, when a visitor from Fayetteville, Ark., found a 4.49-carat yellow diamond.

Although she's not sure what she will do with the diamond, Wredberg said this is all new to her and she may have it cut.

At least 258 diamonds have been registered at the state park and weigh more than 46 carats in total. An average of one to two diamonds are found by park visitors each day.

Visit https://www.arkansasstateparks.com/ for details.

Sara Karnes is an Outdoors Reporter with the Springfield News-Leader. Follow along with her adventures on Twitter and Instagram @Sara_Karnes. Got a story to tell? Email her at skarnes@springfi.gannett.com.