Diamonds for the People: The Story of American Diamonds
Despite being rich in practically almost every other natural resource, the US has no active commercial diamond mines. Although diamond indicator minerals and potentially diamondiferous rocks have been found across the country, only two locations evolved into active commercial diamond mines.
One was the Kelsey Lake Diamond Mine in Colorado, now defunct. The Kelsey Lake mine was opened for business in 1996 and closed in 2002. According to geology.com, the mine was closed due to legal problems rather than lack of diamonds. In 2003, the United States Geological Survey reported that the most valuable stones produced from the Kelsey Lake Mine were valued at $89,000 and $300,000.
The second location was a mine near Murfreesboro, Arkansas. It operated in the early 1900s but closed because the deposit was sub-economic. Today, the area, known as the “Crater of Diamonds”, is booming with business. It is the only “pay-to-dig” mine in the world, where visitors can pay a fee, look for diamonds and keep any that they find.
The Crater of Diamonds State Park is situated over an eroded lamproite volcanic pipe. Since 1960, diamonds have been discovered in the field, including the world-famous Strawn-Wagner Diamond – the world’s only perfect diamond found so far. The Latest substantial diamond to be found was a 2.01-carat yellow diamond – discovered in February 2015 by an offshore steward from Louisiana.
According to Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, over 31,476 diamonds have been found in the crater since it became a State Park in 1972, with a total carat weight of 6,294.20. More than 3,300,000 visitors looked for diamonds in the park since it opened.