MURFREESBORO, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Fayetteville native finds 4.49-carat diamond at Crater of Diamonds State Park.
Steven McCool, 34, found the third-largest diamond of the year.
“Arkansas is the only state in the country that has a diamond mine open to the public,” said Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism Secretary Stacy Hurst. “While many diamonds are found every year, it never ceases to be exciting! I hope Mr. McCool’s story inspires even more people to visit Crater of Diamonds State Park.”
McCool said he was planning on going back to Fayetteville, but extended his stay since there had been a good rain and conditions were optimal to find a diamond. That turned out to be a good decision.
He was wet sifting, or sifting dirt using screens and water, his 11th bucket of the day. His hands were soaked through his gloves and the water was ice cold. Time was ticking down, and the park was closing in about 30 minutes.
“As my eyes were panning to it, I was thinking it could be an amber piece of glass like an old Coke bottle,” McCool said. “Once I focused on it though, I knew it was a diamond. I was like ‘No way! No way!’”
Even though he is a self-proclaimed “newbie” at diamond hunting, McCool knew this was a diamond. He put his treasure in a safe place and continued wet sifting the rest of the dirt he collected in the Canary Hill area of the park so he could go through it at home since the park was about to close.
“I put the diamond on the ground just to see if I would have noticed it,” McCool said. “It was very large, proud, and shiny. There were others looking in that area, so if it would have been just a little closer to the surface, someone could have easily found it.”
On Labor Day of this year, Kevin Kinard of Maumelle, Ark., found a 9-carat diamond, the second-largest diamond found in the park’s history by surface searching.
McCool named his diamond the BamMam Diamond, his 7-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter’s initials.
“What’s more precious than a precious gem? My children. So, I named it after my children and the name will stay with the diamond forever,” he explained. “I called my son afterward and asked him if he remembered what Thanos’s Mind Stone looked like and told him I found one!”
He says he is not sure yet if he will sell or keep the diamond.
“I’m torn. I’m somewhat sentimental. It’s my first diamond I found. I am the first person to unearth this, the first person to touch it. It’s hard to wrap my head around it. I am blown away by the clarity, the beauty, how rare it is. I’m definitely blessed, not lucky. It was the Lord’s work,” he said.
McCool said he can’t wait to come back to the state park for another diamond hunting adventure.