LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KATV) — After decades of searching, an Arkansas man stumbled on the second-largest diamond ever found at the Crater of Diamonds State Park.
On Labor Day, 33-year-old Kevin Kinard of Maumelle and his friends hauled sifting equipment to the state park in Murfreesboro. Kinard said he has been visiting Crater of Diamonds regularly since he went on a field trip there in the second grade but he had never found a diamond, until Sept. 7.
“I only wet sifted for about ten minutes before I started walking up and down the plowed rows," he said. "Anything that looked like a crystal, I picked it up and put it in my bag.”
While searching in the southeast portion of the 37.5-acre diamond search area, Kinard picked up a marble-sized crystal that had a rounded, dimpled shape, park staff said.
“It kind of looked interesting and shiny, so I put it in my bag and kept searching," Kinard said. "I just thought it might’ve been glass.”
After a few hours of searching, Kinard and his friends went to have their crystals checked by park staff.
An employee reportedly set the glass-like find aside for closer examination. After a few minutes, park managers brought Kinard into the office and revealed that he had discovered a 9.07-carat diamond.
“I honestly teared up when they told me," Kinard said. "I was in complete shock.”
Conditions were perfect for Kinard to find his diamond Assistant Superintendent Dru Edmonds said.
"Park staff plowed the search area on August 20, just a few days before Tropical Storm Laura dropped more than two inches of rain in the park," he said. "The sun was out when Mr. Kinard visited, and he walked just the right path to notice the sunlight reflecting off his diamond.”
Kinard’s diamond is the second-largest found at the park since it was established in 1972. A 16.37-carat white Amarillo Starlight was discovered in August 1975.
“This latest diamond find is a testament to maintaining the diamond search area with a focus on sustaining the resource at Crater of Diamonds State Park, as well as creating the opportunity to find a diamond and make lifetime memories for all of our guests,” Arkansas State Parks Director Grady Spann said. “Not only for the 48 years we’ve managed the diamond mine but also for the next generations and beyond.”
Department of Parks Secretary Stacy Hurst congratulated Kinard.
“A find like this is always thrilling for the park guest, as well as the park staff, who get to help identify the gem and share in the excitement," Hurst said.
Park employees said that finders often name their gems. Kinard named his the 'Kinard Friendship Diamond.'
“We love to travel together and had such a great time out here," he said. "It was a very humbling experience.”
Kinard encouraged other visitors to have their finds checked by park staff because, "you never know."
As of Wednesday afternoon, 246 diamonds have been registered at Crater of Diamonds State Park in 2020, weighing a total of 59.25 carats. On average, one or two diamonds are found there each day.