MURFREESBORO, Ark. — According to Arkansas State Parks, 34-year-old Steven McCool of Fayetteville found the third-largest diamond of 2020 at Crater of Diamonds State Park.
The release states McCool said he was planning on going back to Fayetteville, but extended his stay since it had rained and he felt conditions were optimal in finding a diamond.
McCool was sifting through his 11th bucket of dirt and the park was closing in 30 minutes when he found it.
“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 calls himself a "newbie" at diamond hunting, McCool knew this was a diamond. This was his fifth trip to the Crater and he would usually take his finds to the identification table. But this time, he simply asked, "Where do I register my diamond?"
He was right. “Mr. McCool’s find is a 4.49-carat sparkling, canary yellow diamond that is about the size of a jellybean and seems to have great clarity. It is a stunning diamond,” Crater of Diamonds State Park Assistant Superintendent Meghan Moore said.
Moore also said that finding a diamond that large wet sifting is unusual. “It is extraordinarily rare to catch a diamond in the top screen of a screen set. The mesh size of the top screen is larger and typically used to catch and remove bigger pieces of gravel – not diamonds. The average diamond size found wet sifting a quarter of a carat. Typically, larger diamonds are found by surface searching.”
“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 said he is not sure yet if he will sell or keep the diamond.
“I’m torn," he said. "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.”
“Mr. McCool hit the nail on the head," Arkansas State Parks Director Grady Spann said. "This is part of what makes Crater of Diamonds State Park such a special place. Not only is it the only place in the world where you can search for finders keepers diamonds, no one else has made your discovery before you. Each diamond is unique, as is each discovery.”