Vacationer uncovers 3-carat diamond in crater

The metallic brown gem was lying in the gravel, glinting in the sunlight, when Terry Staggs walked by. He has named his July 4 discovery the Patriot Diamond.

By Kim Peterson Jul 11, 2013 1:12PM
The champagne brown Patriot Diamond sparkles in the hand of finder Terry Staggs (Courtesy of Arkansas State Parks)Vacations usually mean relaxing with the family and seeing a few sights. For one Kentucky man, however, vacation means hunting for gems -- and finding a 2.95-carat diamond.

Terry Staggs spent nearly three hours combing the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Ark., according to the Arkansas State Parks. He goes there about twice a year to look for gems but has never uncovered anything as large as the one he found on July 4 that he has named the Patriot Diamond.

How did he find it? Incredibly, it was just lying there in the gravel, sparkling in the sun. At least 50 people had walked by the same spot over several hours, The Richmond Register reported. But Staggs was able to catch a glint of sunlight off of the stone.

The Crater of Diamonds park has a 37.5-acre search area, a plowed field that is thought to be the surface of the No. 8 diamond-bearing deposit in the world. People who discover diamonds there are allowed to keep them, and about two diamonds are found every day, on average. More than 300 other gems have been uncovered there this year, but Staggs' discovery is the largest.

Park workers regularly plow the search site, spurring the natural erosion there. The largest diamond ever found at the park was a massive 16.4-carat white diamond unearthed in 1975.

Staggs' diamond doesn't look like the clear, sparkly gem you might expect to see. It's champagne brown and shaped like a shield. It has a golden-brown metallic look, park interpreter Waymon Cox said, according to a park news release.

How much is this gem worth? Staggs doesn't want to know. He told The Register that he won't even get it appraised. Instead, he's storing it away with his other diamond discoveries in a safe-deposit box.

More on moneyNOW

Jul 11, 2013 2:02PM

Looks like the park issues you a certificate of ownership too.  How about that.

Looks like I found my next vacation spot!  LOL!

Jul 11, 2013 2:31PM
Love Crater of Diamonds. Went there last summer. Really hot but we had a blast. Didn't find a thing but a few tiny shiney minerals but it was a great day. My husband and I will definitely be going back. Yes you keep what you find, you don't even have to show it to them if you don't want to....just helps to know what you are walking out with. There is a bed and breakfast there, real close to the park. Not expensive and you will not likely ever see anyone there. They have a pool and they have all the diamond digging supplies you need and loan them for free....There is a sign on the door telling you to let yourselves in if there is no answer and by now you have already received instructions as to where your room is located and where to find things. There is food that appears on the counter....cupcakes etc and you get a business card to take to the diner for a full breakfast everyday...they own the diner too...we never saw a person there that was not a guest yet everything we needed was provided. Pretty neat.
Jul 11, 2013 2:13PM
It looks like a gold tooth! Oh, and thanks for telling us how much its worth! That's the way to complete a story...
Jul 11, 2013 2:01PM
So how about a guess as to the value of this great find?????
Jul 11, 2013 2:05PM
The "rich democrat" comment is WAAAAY off topic.  There is no relationship between a tiny stone from the center of the earth and a student loan.
Jul 11, 2013 2:28PM
I really, really want to pan for gold.  I don't expect to get rich and won't be disappointed if I don't find any, but it's something that I've wanted to do since I was a kid in the early 60's.  Whadda ya think?
Jul 11, 2013 2:51PM
I found a precious gem, but she went and married some other guy.
Jul 11, 2013 2:15PM
Been there..great place to spend the day with the family.  Everyone finds something. May not be a 3 ct diamond, but other gems are everywhere.  We have about a 1/4 cup full of lesser gems we have found there over the years.
Jul 11, 2013 3:34PM
how in the heck does this have any thing to do with the government ? holy cow people , Obama didn't hide the stone in a pile of rocks so "we" would be distracted just long enough for the white house to pass Obama care and ship 100,000 jobs to china ........ really

I would have passed it over , good for him

Jul 11, 2013 2:20PM
It's always nice to find a gem even if it isn't a diamond!  :)
Jul 11, 2013 2:28PM
This is a great place to spend a day, except when it is hot. We have been several times, and while we have not found a diamond, we have a good time meeting and talking with fellow diamond searchers from all over the USA. It's a wonderful example of the great state parks in Arkansas.
Jul 11, 2013 2:25PM
I've seen this place on TV a couple of times and have always wanted to go. It sound like a lot of fun.
Jul 11, 2013 2:17PM
thought it was a gold tooth at first
Jul 11, 2013 2:30PM
pot of gold at the end of the rainbow......just gotta look
Jul 11, 2013 2:25PM
Good find!  Shout out from Little Rock, AR
Jul 11, 2013 2:14PM
Cool, that sounds like fun, I have be gold hunting in Califronia, and Alaska!
Jul 11, 2013 2:27PM
Some where I have long wanted to go . Sadly I will  never make it there.
I am sure that is something they will remember for a lifetime.
Jul 11, 2013 2:27PM
How much is that worth? I blew up the pic, it still looked like gold.
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