When you head to a baseball tournament with your parents, you don’t usually expect to come home with a diamond. But that’s exactly what happened to 14-year-old Kalel Langford after a post-game visit to Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas. According to local news outlet KTLA, the family wanted to have the experience of hunting for a diamond at the Arkansas park, even though they didn’t believe they’d actually find a real diamond.
As the outlet points out, “with a name like Crater of Diamonds, visitors to the Arkansas state park have high expectations,” but the search is almost as much fun as the find. WPTV writes that when the teenager saw a “glimmering brown stone” just sitting there surrounded by unremarkable stones and pebbles “near a stream,” he liked it and wanted to hang on to it.
According to the Crater of Diamonds State Park website statement, Kalel described finding the diamond jumbled with other rocks of a similar size, but without the telltale golden sheen of the brown diamond.
“It was just a few inches from a stream of water, with a bunch of other rocks that were about the same size.”
The stone was “about the size of a pinto bean,” and had a rich coffee color that shimmered enough to catch his attention. He knew right away it was “special,” but had no idea that he’d stumbled across the seventh-largest diamond found at Crater of Diamonds park since 1972.
The teenager showed his crater find to his dad, Craig Langford, who immediately knew the “coffee colored and frosty” pebble wasn’t just an ordinary rock. Brown diamonds are especially rare, and very few of the bright brown-gold gems have been found at the Arkansas park.
“[We] knew we needed to have it looked at.”
When the family showed up at the Diamond Discovery Center in the park, where diamond finds are verified and registered, they found out that Kalel’s special stone was actually “one of the biggest diamonds in the park’s history.”
At 7.44 carats, the brown diamond is dwarfed by the huge 40.23 carat Uncle Sam diamond that is the largest ever discovered at Crater of Diamonds. The Uncle Sam diamond made someone’s day back in 1924. Wesley Oley Basham was foraging in Arkansas’ Prairie Creek pipe mine when he happened on the Uncle Sam diamond, which was named for Basham because he was often called Uncle Sam by the locals. It was Uncle Sam’s incredible find that eventually led to the renaming and designation of the area as Crater of Diamonds State Park.
As for Langford and his brown diamond, the teenager has already named it. The gem is now officially known as Superman’s Diamond because Kalel is a big fan of the Man of Steel.
It was a lucky chance, as diamond discoveries often are, that sent the Langford family to the Arkansas park shortly after a heavy rainfall. The search area is kept plowed so that visitors, who pay $10 each to search Crater of Diamonds, can more easily spot the precious gems. Because of the sheen that’s part of even a rough diamond, they’re easier to see when they’re wet.
Park interpreter Waymon Cox said that the brown stone was an “extraordinary find” that may have stayed hidden for years more if the weather had been sunny all week.
“About an inch of rain fell on the plowed search area during the week. A heavy rain can uncover larger diamonds near the surface. Diamonds have a metallic-looking shine and are often easier to spot on top of the ground.”
And if the weather had continued rainy, the baseball tournament might have been cancelled, and Kalel Langford’s Superman gem would belong to someone else.
[Featured Image by Waymon Cox/Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism/AP Images]