Get Rich Quick: Man Finds 3.86 Carat Diamond
Photo: 3.86-carat white diamond

Most people are happy to return from a day at the park with a tan, maybe a few pinecones. How much nicer, though, to make the return trip with a giant diamond in your pocket.

A regular visitor to the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Ark., did just that this week: sifting through the park dirt, he unearthed a 3.86-carat jewel.

"It's the largest diamond in just about a year," said park guide and educator Waymon Cox. "'Diamond in the rough' is a bit of a misnomer. We have many beautiful rough diamonds that can be used in jewelry."

The Crater of Diamonds is the only one of its kind in the country, said Cox: a 37.5 acre state park on the site of an ancient volcanic pipe that, 95 million years ago, brought thousands of diamonds and semi-precious stones to the Earth's surface. The park is open to the public -- anyone can go home substantially wealthier than when they arrived.

The local man who found the diamond this week has chosen to remain anonymous, but Cox characterized his find as having the "potential to be substantially more valuable" than a 2-carat diamond found three years ago. That diamond was cut and appraised for $22,000.

The new diamond is about the size of a piece of candy corn and has been dubbed "The Heart of Arkansas" for its heart shape.

The largest diamond ever found in the park -- or, for that matter, in the entire country -- was a whopping 40.23 carats. It was named "The Uncle Sam" after the commercial miner who dug it up in 1924. It was cut down to a 12.5 carat emerald-shaped stone and valued at more than half a million dollars.

Another park find, the "Strawn-Wagner diamond", has been certified as the world's only perfect diamond by the American Gem Society. It was unearthed in 1990.

The "Heart of Arkansas."

Cox told ABC News that after every well publicized find, like the Heart of Arkansas, park attendance -- which hovers between 100,000 and 120,000 annually -- will spike for a while. The park will usually yield five to seven large diamonds in any given year.

"We've found numerous diamonds here," said the park's gift shop manager, Debbie Wright. "You just come on down."

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