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7-year-old girl finds large 2.95-carat diamond at Arkansas park

If diamonds are a girl’s best friend, 7-year-old Aspen Brown has a pal for life after finding an immense 2.95-carat brown diamond last week ­— while celebrating her birthday — at a state park in Arkansas.

The child from Paragould, Arkansas, was visiting Crater of Diamonds State Park on Sept. 1 with her father and grandmother, when she found the precious stone about the size of a green pea. The discovery marked the second-largest find by a guest at the state park this year, only behind a 3.29-carat brown diamond discovered in March, according to a statement from Arkansas State Parks.

Brown was with her family celebrating her big day when they went to the park’s 37.5-acre diamond search area, which is a plowed field on top of the surface of an ancient, diamond-bearing volcano, park officials said.

Aspen’s father, Luther Brown, recalled the moment his daughter made the rare find.

“She got hot and wanted to sit down for a minute, so she walked over to some big rocks by the fence line,” he said, according to the park statement. “Next thing I know, she was running to me, saying, ‘Dad! Dad! I found one!’”

On their way out the park, the Browns stopped at the Diamond Discovery Center. There, park staff confirmed the child’s finding was a diamond, park officials said.

Shealyn Sowers, a spokesperson for Arkansas State Parks, told NBC News on Friday that park visitors who find diamonds get to keep them. Sowers did not know an estimated value for the diamond found by Aspen Brown.

Waymon Cox, assistant park superintendent, called Aspen’s discovery, “One of the most beautiful diamonds I’ve seen in recent years.”

He added: “Aspen’s diamond has a golden-brown color and a sparkling luster. It is a complete crystal, with no broken facets and a small crevice on one side, created when the diamond was formed.”

Brown’s diamond, park officials said, is the first large diamond registered since the completion of an excavation project last month at the park, which is about 110 miles southwest of Little Rock.

“A contracted company dug a 150-yard trench in August to help manage erosion on the north side of the search area,” said Caleb Howell, park superintendent. “Several tons of unsearched diamond-bearing material were exposed and it’s very possible that this diamond and others were uncovered as a result.”

Visitors who find diamonds at the sate park often name them. Aspen’s father said the diamond his daughter found will be named the “Aspen Diamond.”

“There was no skill required for her to find it,” Brown said in the statement. “She was just in the right place, at the right time.”

Park officials said 563 diamonds have been registered at the Crater Diamonds State Park this year, totaling more than 89 carats.

On average, one to two diamonds are found by visitors at the park each day, park officials said. Aspen Brown’s diamond was found near where another large gem, a 3.72-carat diamond, was found in 2019, according to park officials.

More than 75,000 diamonds have been found at the state park since diamonds were first found by John Huddleston, the farmer who owned the land before it became a state park in 1972, park officials said.

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