Hoping (and Hunting) for Diamonds

hunting for diamondsI went diamond mining.

To answer your first questions, no, I did not find a Hope Diamond-sized rock. If I had, well…today’s blog may have been a little late while I extended my mini-vacation.

Luckily, my favorite niece, my friend, and I didn’t have to go all the way to Africa to try our hand at diamond mining. Our adventure took us to Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas. The park is built on an old volcanic crater that produces actual diamonds. For only ten bucks, you get a day pass to find your very own diamond in the rough!

For the skeptical, take a look at this list of recent finds. Just this year, an Arkansan park-goer found her very own seven carat diamond. Now, with that on my finger, it might be a little more challenging to type out my blog posts!

Although we didn’t find anything ourselves, we had a ton of fun. What we lacked in carats, we made up with in sunburns, pizza, laughs, and that elusive thing called ‘hope’.

Really, hope is what keeps everyone going back. I’m already planning to go back in the fall when it’s a bit cooler. Sure, I could save up hunting for diamondsand just buy a diamond, but there’s something magical about the chance to find your very own right from the earth. The state park keeps records of every diamond found there, weighing them, categorizing them and even naming the biggest!

While there are many great stories about people finding big diamonds at the park, my favorite story isn’t about quality, but quantity. It’s the story of Diamond Jim.

James Archer, or “Diamond Jim” was a regular at the Crater of Diamonds State Park. After his retirement from his day job in 1982, he went to the park daily to search for diamonds. For 21 years, fueled by hope, James hunted the precious stones every day. In 2003, James suffered a heart attack and passed away, doing what he loved best – mining in the diamond field. Over the years, he had found enough diamonds to fund a new home for his family, a house for his parents, and college educations for his children.

Hope and persistence is what keeps people returning to Crater of Diamonds State Park, what kept Jim going every day, and what’s got me wanting to go back in the fall to look again. Spending the weekend smiling in the sun and digging in the dirt with some of my favorite people was invigorating.

And we’re not the only ones to think so! In 2003, Bobbie Oskarson of Longmont, Colorado, found a white, 8.52-carat diamond after only 30 minutes of searching at the park. She named her find the Esperanza diamond – both for her own niece (glad to know I’m not the only one going diamond hunting with her niece!) and for the Spanish word for hope.

Happy Monday,