DIAMOND, Mo. —
Mack Evans dismissed it at first.
“I almost threw it away,” said Evans, 67, of Diamond. “I had seen a lot of diamonds. I have never seen anything like this.”
Yet, something about the stone snagged his eye. Uncut, or raw, diamonds, he said, have a “metallic sheen,” and this grayish-white rock did, too. But most diamonds form from a single crystal. Few are aggregates of multiple crystals like the one Evans saw in his sluice box.
Evans, a retired minister from Central Christian Center in Joplin, gave it a second look. Good thing, too.
What he found was a 4.89-carat diamond that he describes as being about the size of a jellybean, the largest diamond found in Arkansas’ Crater of Diamonds State Park so far this year.
“It almost got away from me,” said Evans.
Crater of Diamonds near Murfreesboro is the only diamond-producing site in the world that is open to the public. It includes a 37.5-acre field that is actually the eroded surface of one of the largest diamond-bearing deposits in the world. The field is plowed regularly, which brings new stones to the surface. People 13 and older pay $7 to get in, and they can dig all day. The park also rents mining equipment. The rule is finders, keepers.
“We have more than 40 other rocks and minerals that you can find,” including jasper, garnet and banded agate, said Waymon Cox, park interpreter.
Evans has been a regular at the site for several years, stopping by on trips to Louisiana to visit family.
“I make my own mining equipment, my own screens,” he said.
“I think the largest I have found is what they call a chocolate or brown diamond, about 80 points,” he said, explaining that it takes 100 points to equal a carat.
He also found a 59-point yellow diamond.
“It looked like someone attached two pyramids together by the base,” he said. “It is a gorgeous diamond.”
Asked to name his latest find, Evans called it the “gray ghost,” because it nearly vanished. “I almost threw it away,” he said.
Cox said two to three diamonds are found each day in the park, but only a few times each year is one larger than 2 carats discovered. Most are one-quarter carat or less.
Park officials say diamonds come in every color of the rainbow, with white, brown and yellow being the most common finds at Crater of Diamonds. While park staff members help identify and certify diamonds, they don’t evaluate or appraise them. That’s left to gemologists.
Evans said he has no interest in having his latest find appraised by a gemologist. He doesn’t even keep his finds at his house. Instead, he has given them to family members as gifts.
Andy Ostmeyer is the metro editor for The Joplin Globe.
Crater of Diamonds
More than 75,000 diamonds have been found at the diamond site near Murfreesboro, Ark., since 1906. The Uncle Sam diamond, found there in 1924, weighted 40.23 carats.