A Nebraska man found a diamond in the rough that weighed just over 2 carats on a recent family vacation to a famous gem-filled state park in Arkansas.
Josh Lanik spent nearly two hours searching Crater of Diamonds State Park on July 24 and walked away with the largest diamond of 2019, according to a press release.
Lanik, 36, discovered the brandy-colored gem near the West Drain, a trench that runs along the southwest border of the park's 37.5-acre diamond search area.
"We took the kids to look for amethyst on Canary Hill, and I was walking through an area where it looked like a lot of water had washed when I saw it," Lanik told the state park.
Lanik showed the unique stone to his wife and held onto it in a brown paper bag along with other rocks and minerals.
"It was blatantly obvious there was something different about it," Lanik said. "I saw the shine, and when I picked it up and rolled it in my hand, I noticed there weren't any sharp edges."
The family had their collection identified at the Diamond Discovery Center, where Lanik found out from a park employee that his brown gem was in fact a diamond and that it was the largest to be found this year.
Lanik said the employee who took the gem in a pill bottle to a back office for a closer look "wouldn't tell us whether it was a diamond, but we were pretty sure from her reaction that it was."
The park staff informed him that he had discovered a 2.12-carat diamond. Park interpreter Waymon Cox said the jellybean-sized diamond had a "dark brown color, similar to brandy."
"It has a beautiful natural pear shape and smooth, curved facets that give the gem a metallic shine," Cox said in the press release.
Cox also explained that recent record-breaking rainfall could have been a key factor in the find.
"About 14 inches of rain fell at the park on July 16. In the days after the rainfall, park staff registered numerous diamonds found right on the surface of the search area, including two weighing over one carat," Cox said.
According to Cox, "About one of every 10 diamonds registered by park visitors is found on top of the ground."
The ancient, diamond-bearing volcanic crater is periodically plowed by park personnel to loosen soil and help with natural erosion.
"Diamonds are a bit heavy for their size and lack static electricity, so dirt doesn't stick to them. When rainfall uncovers larger diamonds and the sun comes out, they sparkle and are often easy to see," according to the Arkansas State Parks.
As of the date of Lanik's discovery, 296 diamonds had been registered at Crater of Diamonds State Park so far in 2019, weighing a combined total of 53.94 carats.
Lanik first learned about the state park from a co-worker and this was his first visit.