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A Sparkling Surprise

Seven-year-old Aspen Brown found a diamond at a park in Arkansas.
A light brown diamond against a white background
Courtesy of Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage, and Tourism
The diamond Aspen found is brown, like this one.

Aspen Brown got an amazing surprise for her 7th birthday. She found a diamond! 

Aspen was celebrating her birthday at Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas with her dad and grandmother. Visitors to the park are allowed to search for gems and take home whatever they find. At one point, Aspen went over to an area with some large rocks to take a break. There, she found a treasure.

The diamond Aspen found is golden brown and about the size of a pea. Diamonds are measured in carats. The heavier the diamond, the more carats it is. Park workers say Aspen’s diamond is almost three carats. For comparison, a good-sized diamond ring weighs about one carat (though diamonds can also be much larger). 

Waymon Cox, who works in the park, called the gem “one of the most beautiful diamonds I’ve seen in recent years,” according to Smithsonian magazine.

It’s not unusual to find a diamond in the park, where visitors have also found garnets, jasper, quartz, amethyst, and agate. As of September, 560 diamonds had been discovered there so far in 2023. That’s more than one per day. But it’s rare to spot a diamond like the one Aspen found. Aaron Palke, who is a gem expert, said he and a team of people searched the park for two and a half days in 2022 and did not find a diamond. And most of the diamonds people do find are less than one-quarter of a carat.

Aspen’s family has already given the diamond a name: the Aspen Diamond.

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Fun Fact

Twelve different rough gems are shown in a labeled table.
Adobe Stock: Marcel, ala, aleks-p, Mehmet Gokhan Bayhan; Dreamstime: Bjørn Wylezich, Epitavi, Mrreporter, Penchan Pumil, Jiri Vaclavek, Aleksey Baskakov, Aist1974; Photo composite Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.
Do you want to go hunting for gemstones? These pictures show what some gemstones look like when they are “raw,” or found in nature. They are found in different parts of the United States.

How Diamonds Are Made

© Bjørn Wylezich/Dreamstime.com
Diamonds are sometimes found in a kind of rock called kimberlite.

Have you ever wondered where diamonds come from? Diamonds are made up mostly of an element called carbon. Deep underground, it’s very hot, and the layers of heavy rock above create a lot of pressure on what’s below them. When underground carbon is exposed to all that heat and pressure, crystals form. These are diamonds!

Diamonds come to Earth’s surface in molten (melted) rock, or magma. When magma reaches the surface, it hardens to form many kinds of rock. Diamonds are most commonly found in a kind of rock called kimberlite. They can also break away as this rock gets worn down over a long period of time.

Today, diamonds can also be made in a laboratory!

A World Full of Gems

© Daniel Rönneberg/Dreamstime.com

Did you know that a kind of gem called a pearl can form inside the shell of an oyster? You can learn more about gems at Britannica!

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Word of the Day

luster

Part of speech:
noun
Definition:
: the shiny quality of a surface that reflects light
Definitions provided by
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