The United States of America is made up of 50 states. Most of these states are rich in certain natural resources. These natural resources, most of which are minerals, rocks or gemstones, have been adopted by the states in which they are found as either an official symbol or an official emblem. These official symbols are often designated as ‘official state mineral’, if it is a mineral, ‘official state rock’, if it is a rock, and ‘official state gemstone’, or ‘official state gem’, if it is a gemstone, etc. Since 1943, gemstones have been adopted for use as part of states’ official symbols or emblem. Of the 50 states in the US, the only states without a rock, gemstone or mineral associated with them are Pennsylvania, North Dakota, New Jersey and Kansas.
States with official gemstones include: Texas, Alabama, New York, Alaska, Arizona, Wyoming, California, South Carolina, North Carolina, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Idaho, Kentucky, South Dakota, Louisiana, Washington, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia and Arkansas.
STATE WITH DIAMOND AS AN OFFICIAL GEMSTONE
Diamond is the most popular gemstone known to man. This gemstone is the official state gemstone of Arkansas. This was made official on February 22, 1967 through legislation, Act 128, passed by the state’s General Assembly and signed by Governor Winthrop Rockefeller, the then governor of the state. The state also has an official state rock and an official state mineral which are Bauxite and Quartz crystal. These too were made official the same day as the Diamond. This was proposed in the senate owing to the fact that Arkansas was one the only states in America that could boast of fairly plenty deposits of diamond and thus attract tourists ‘diamond hunters’.
Map of Arkansas having a white diamond embossed by 4 blue stars and the inscription ARKANSAS
Diamonds were first discovered in Arkansas in the year 1906 by a farmer. The farmer, John Huddleston, picked up two stones (diamonds) close to the mouth of Prairie Creek which is located South East of Murfreesboro in Pike County. Geologists claim to have known of this site since 1842. After the discovery of diamonds by farmer Huddleston, diamonds were reportedly found northeast of the Prairie creek pipe. To date, the Prairie creek pike is estimated to have been the home of over 25,000 carat gemstones recovered both from tourists and the management of Creek Pipe.
Before 1972, this diamond mining field located in Murfreesboro, Arkansas has been privately mined. It was purchased by the state for $750,000 in 1972 and named Crater of Diamonds State Park. It is the only operating diamond mine in the US and perhaps the only diamond mine in the world where visitors are allowed to mine the diamond themselves. Most of the diamonds found on this site are white, yellow and brown diamonds.
DIAMONDS IN ARKANSAS
In 1924, a large diamond stone was discovered in Arkansas. It is currently the largest diamond discovered in the United States. This very large diamond, popularly known as ‘Uncle Sam’, is white in color and weighed 40.23 carats when it was discovered. The Uncle Sam was named after its finder W.O Basham whose nickname was Uncle Sam. Asides the Uncle Sam, many other historic diamonds in the United States were discovered in Arkansas. Some popular diamond crystals found in Arkansas include:
- The star of Murfreesboro
It is a 34.25-carat diamond. This blue crystal was found by John Pollock in the year 1964. This stone is the largest diamond ever found by a tourist in the Arkansas diamond mine. The stone still belongs to the Pollock family. As at 1964, when it was found, the stone was valued at $15,000.
- The Strawn-Wagner Diamond
The 3.03 carat diamond was found in the Crater of Diamonds State Park by a local, Shirley Strawn in the year 1990. This diamond is the most perfect gemstone ever lab-certified by the American Gem Society, AGS. It was certified the highest grade a diamond can achieve- the Triple Zero. Its quality is designated Triple Zero, O/O/O, because it has the ideal cut of any gem material, its color is the D-color which is the highest color grade of gem materials and lastly because the stone is flawless. The stone was cut to a 1.09 carat round brilliant shaped diamond. In 1998, this cut diamond was certified by the AGS as a perfect diamond, occurring one time in a billion.
- The Kahn Canary Diamond
The Kahn diamond is a dodecahedral, pillow shaped canary colored diamond. It has a flawless natural beauty. It was discovered by George Stepp, from Carthage, Arkansas at the Crater of Diamonds State Park in the year 1977 and was later purchased by Stan Kahn of Pine Bluff in Arkansas who the stone was named after. The diamond was worn by Lady Hillary Clinton at her husband’s presidential inaugural galas. It was loaned to her by the owner, Stan Khan.
- The Esperanza Diamond
This diamond is the fifth largest diamond found in the Crater of Diamonds State Park since its establishment in June 1972. It was found by Bobbie Oskarson, who gave the diamond the name Esperanza which means hope in Spanish. The stone sits at a carat weight of 8.52.
- Amarillo Starlight Diamond
This was the biggest diamond found in the Crater of Diamonds State Park after its establishment. The stone was found by W.W Johnson of Amarillo, Texas in the year 1975. The stone was later cut to a 7.54 carat marquise shaped piece.
The state of Arkansas’ flag was first designed in the year 1913 by Willie K. Hocker. The design used for this flag was greatly influenced by the discovery of diamonds in the state few years earlier. As at when the flag was designed, Arkansas was the only diamond-bearing state in the US.
OTHER GEMS FOUND IN ARKANSAS
Another very common gem found in Arkansas is the quartz. High quality quartz deposit is found in many areas in the state. It is the most important material gemstone in the state. Arkansas quartz over the years have been sold as diamonds under the name “Arkansas Diamond” and “Hot Spring Diamond”, which according to the federal trade commission is very ‘unfair or deceptive’. Other gemstones found in Arkansas include; Amethyst, Petrified wood, smoky quartz, agate, novaculite, jasper, opal and chert. Want to know more about diamonds? Read “do diamonds float in water?”