MURFREESBORO, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A man from Washington State found a two-carat diamond during his third day hunting for the precious stones at Crater of Diamonds State Park.
Christian Liden, 26, of Poulsbo, Wash., said he wanted to find the raw materials to make his own engagement ring. He started by panning for gold around his home state. After five years, he had accumulated enough for the ring. Then, it was time for the diamond — which led him to Arkansas.
Liden and a longtime friend left Washington on May 1. They built their own mining equipment for the search and tested it at a Montana sapphire mine along the way. The friends arrived at Arkansas’s diamond site late on Friday, May 7.
“We spent about an hour in the field that afternoon and returned early the next morning to mine all day,” Liden said.
On his third day at the Crater of Diamonds, Liden was wet sifting when he finally spotted what he had traveled more than 2,000 miles for.
“I saw it shining as soon as I turned the screen over and immediately knew it was a diamond. I was shaking so bad, I asked my buddy to grab it out of the gravel for me,” Liden said.
Christian Liden’s yellow diamond. (Courtesy Arkansas State Parks)
He placed the gem in a plastic bag and carried it to the park’s Diamond Discovery Center, where staff confirmed he had found a large yellow diamond.
Weighing 2.20 carats, Liden’s diamond is the largest found at the park since last October, when a visitor from Fayetteville discovered a 4.49-carat yellow diamond.
Though he’s found other gemstones, Liden was surprised by his success at the Crater of Diamonds.
“I was just hoping to find a couple smaller stones and had planned to buy a center stone later, but that won’t be needed now,” he said.
After leaving the Crater of Diamonds, Liden plans to mine for opals in Nevada before returning home.
Once he proposes, Liden said, he wants to design an engagement ring with his bride-to-be using his diamond and other gemstones collected along his cross-country mining quest.