Nebraska Teacher Finds 2.12-Carat Diamond in Arkansas State Park While on Family Vacation

Josh Lanik's discovery was the largest diamond found in the park in 2019 so far

Josh Lanik
Photo: Crater of Diamonds State Park

Josh Lanik is one lucky guy.

While vacationing with his family, Lanik, a 36-year-old teacher from Hebron, Nebraska, came upon a shiny discovery at Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas.

According to the park’s press release, Lanik was searching the 37.5-acre territory for about two hours on July 24 when he discovered a 2.12-carat diamond near the southwest edge of the park.

“It was blatantly obvious there was something different about it,” Lanik recalled of his discovery. “I saw the shine, and when I picked it up and rolled it in my hand, I noticed there weren’t any sharp edges.”

After showing the gem to his wife, the Nebraska teacher carefully placed it in a brown paper sack, along with other rocks and minerals he retrieved. The family stopped by the Diamond Discovery Center to have their findings identified, and the park employee immediately took a closer look at the diamond.

“She wouldn’t tell us whether it was a diamond, but we were pretty sure from her reaction that it was,” Lanik said of the employee, who put the gem into a pill bottle and took it into the office.

After the gem was correctly identified as a 2.12-carat diamond, and the largest diamond found in the park thus far in 2019, the park staff brought Lanik into the office to break the news to him.

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According to the press release, Park Interpreter Waymon Cox surmised that the record-breaking rain that recently hit the park was the likely cause of Lanik’s incredible discovery.

“About 14 inches of rain fell at the park on July 16,” said Cox. “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.”

“Mr. Lanik’s gem is about the size of a jellybean and has a dark brown color, similar to brandy,” he added. “It has a beautiful natural pear shape and smooth, curved facets that give the gem a metallic shine.”

The park notes that personnel frequently plow the diamond search area, which previously was the site of an ancient, diamond-bearing volcanic crater. Due to their size and lack of static electricity, the gems do not stick to the dirt, but are more easily identified following a heavy rain storm and sunshine.

Like many lucky visitors of Crater of Diamonds State Park, Lanik decided to give a name to his gem — the Lanik Family Diamond — and as he told the park, he’s more than happy to keep it.

With Lanik’s discovery, 296 diamonds have been registered at the park thus far in 2019. Their weight totals to 53.94 carats, and 11 of the diamonds have weighed at least one carat each.

The heaviest diamond ever registered at the park was found in 1924 during an early mining operation. Named the Uncle Sam, the white diamond with a pink cast weighed a massive 40.23 carats.

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