Plans for the Crater of Diamonds State Park’s anniversary have been announced for April 22-23.
The events will mark the Murfreesboro institution’s 50th anniversary as an Arkansas State Park. Crater of Diamonds State Park has managed North America’s only public diamond mine since the State of Arkansas purchased the 37.5-acre deposit of diamond-bearing ore and 800 surrounding acres in March of 1972.
On Friday, April 22 the Park will hold two events, beginning at 4 p.m. when Richard Davies, former director of Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, and Jim Cannon, former superintendent of Crater of Diamonds, will speak about the diamond mine’s early history as a state park and how the mine came to be owned by the state (about 20-30 minutes each).
At 5 p.m., the park will unveil a new “famous diamond” marker (the shovel-shaped markers located on the diamond search field) to honor the Esperanza diamond.
The 8.52-carat Esperanza Diamond is the sixth-largest gem discovered at the Crater of Diamonds in the past 50 years.
In September 2015, the diamond was cut into a triolette shape weighing 4.6 carats. It was graded as colorless (D) and internally flawless (IF) by the American Gem Society and appraised at $1 million. A diamond marker and informational plaque will be unveiled in the approximate location of the original find on the south end of the diamond search area.
On Saturday, April 23, a diamond exhibition will be held from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. with a break for lunch. Several collections of diamonds, including the famous Houran collection, will be on display for public viewing at the park.
At 3 p.m. a drawing for Esperanza replicas will be held. The park will have for sale 30 replicas of the Esperanza diamond in a setting. In addition, the park, as well as Diamond Lakes Tourism Association will be giving away replicas of the diamonds in promotional contests. The local chamber of commerce and the advertising and tourism commission in Murfreesboro will also be working in conjunction with one another to host a drawing for an additional Esperanza replica.
Shea Lewis, director of Arkansas State Parks, said he is looking forward to celebrating the past 50 years of the state park and looking ahead to the future.
“All of our 52 state parks are unique,” Lewis said, “but Crater of Diamonds offers an experience that you literally can’t find anywhere else in North America. I am extremely proud of the staff we have and their commitment to making that experience special for each of our park guests.”
For more information, contact Crater of Diamonds State Park at 870-285-3113, or email CraterofDiamonds@arkansas.com.