Bertrice Watkins

Arkansas State Parks

A 56-year-old woman found a 2.23-carat diamond on Saturday at Arkansas’ Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro.

Beatrice Watkins of Mena picked up the largest diamond to be found this year within 30 minutes of visiting the park with her family, according to a news release.

Watkins told park staff she was sifting soil near the center of the park’s diamond search area when she found a shiny, dark brown gem the size of a pea.

“I thought it was shiny but had no idea it was a diamond!” Watkins said. “My daughter googled similar-looking stones and thought it might have been iron pyrite, so I stuck it in my sack and kept sifting.”

Park staff later told Watkins’s her “iron pyrite” was actually a brown diamond weighing more than two carats.

“I was so excited, I just couldn’t believe it,” Watkins said. “I still can’t believe it!”

Watkins’s is the largest gem found at the park since October 2019 when a Jacksonville woman found a 3.29-carat crater diamond. Park Interpreter Waymon Cox said that Watkins found her diamond by dry sifting.

“If the soil gets too damp, dry sifting doesn't work very well because it clumps together in the screens," Cox said. "We've had a lot of rain this year, but the field was dry enough during Ms. Watkins’s visit that dry sifting was possible. The fact that she found her diamond this way is really special.”

Watkins named the diamond Lady Beatrice. She told park staff she will probably keep the stone as an inheritance for her kids and grandkids.

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