Michael Dettlaff of North Carolina says the diamond he found atop a patch at Arkansas’ Crater of Diamonds State Park “didn’t look like anything else around it.”
That description is an understatement, considering that the diamond the 12-year-old found is 5.16 carats, the 27th largest diamond a park visitor has found since Arkansas’ diamond site became a state park in 1972, according to The Associated Press.
“What they tell you you’re going to find is these little diamonds [that are] so small,” Michael said. “I kind of expected to maybe get a couple of those.
“We were probably there about 10 minutes and I was looking around on the ground and found it on top,” he said. “It was very glassy. Very smooth.”
Michael was visiting the state park with his family in late July when he made the discovery. It’s the only diamond-producing site in the world open to searches by the public, according to its website.
Michael’s parents initially did not even realize how big of a discovery their son had made until, at the last minute, they let him and his sister take the rock to the park’s free identification center.
“Later on in the day, right when we were ready to quit, my wife showed it to me again and then I thought, you know, that might really be something,” Chris Dettlaff said.
“We let the kids go up to the rock identification people by themselves and all of a sudden it’s like this five-carat diamond,” he said. “It was just crazy after that.”
The diamond is the eighth-largest brown diamond that has been certified by park staff, the AP reported. Michael said it was the diamond’s brown tint that stood out to him.
“It looked like what I envisioned a diamond to look like,” he said. “It was kind of a bit of a honeyish-brown tint.”
While the Dettlaff family did not immediately recognize the jewel they had, the park’s rock identifiers certainly did.
“When I brought this rock out of the bag the guy who’s there, he just went bug-eyed and he said, ‘Hang on a second. I need to take this to the back room,’” Michael recalled. “So then people start coming from everywhere and they’re like, ‘Oh yeah. It’s a big diamond.’”
The park states on its website it has a policy of “finders, keepers,” adding, “Any diamonds, semi-precious stones, rocks, or minerals you unearth are yours to keep, regardless of their value.”
Michael’s rock, according to appraisers, could be worth as much as $15,000 after it is cleaned and shaped.
“If it can get cut and it’s valuable, I think I’d probably want to have it cut and sell it,” Michael said. “If it’s not, well, then it’s a souvenir.”
Park officials said Michael named his diamond “God’s Glory Diamond,” according to ABC Little Rock affiliate KATV.