Since the 8th grade, Christian Liden of Poulsbo, WA, has dreamed of creating a special ring for his future wife with gemstones and gold he mined himself. With his recent discovery of a 2.2-carat yellow diamond at Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, AR, Liden is about to turn that dream into a reality.
The young man began his labor of love by panning for gold in his home state. After five years, he finally accumulated enough precious metal to make the band. Next, he and a close friend built their own mining equipment and set off on an adventure to find the precious stones that would adorn the ring. They tested their equipment at a Montana sapphire mine and then headed south to Arkansas, the home of the only diamond-bearing site in the world where visitors get to keep what they find.
“I was just hoping to find a couple smaller stones and had planned to buy a center stone later,” said the 26-year-old, “but that won’t be needed now.”
The friends arrived at the park late on Friday, May 7. They had enough time to quickly survey the park’s 37.5-acre diamond search area, which is actually the surface of an ancient, diamond-bearing volcanic pipe, and then returned to mine all day on Saturday. Despite coming up short on Day 2, they returned on Day 3 and that's when the magic happened.
Linden was wet sifting when he finally spotted what he had traveled more than 2,000 miles to find.
“I saw it shining as soon as I turned the screen over and immediately knew it was a diamond,” he said. “I was shaking so bad, I asked my buddy to grab it out of the gravel for me!”
Liden placed the gem in a plastic bag and carried it to the park’s Diamond Discovery Center, where staff confirmed he had found a large, yellow diamond.
The Washingtonian's discovery is the largest diamond found at the park since last October, when a visitor from Fayetteville, AR, discovered a 4.49-carat yellow sparkler.
The park's Assistant Superintendent, Dru Edmonds, said, “Mr. Liden’s diamond is light yellow, with a triangular shape and a sparkling, metallic luster. Like most diamonds from the park, it contains a few inclusions, making it one-of-a-kind.”
Linden named his diamond “The Washington Sunshine” because it's got a nice, light yellow color, just like sunlight in Washington, according to the young man.
Liden told park officials that once he proposes, he wants to design an engagement ring with input of his bride-to-be using gems collected on his long-distance trek. The next stop on Linden's gemstone tour will be an opal mine in Nevada.
So far in 2021, 121 diamonds have been registered at Crater of Diamonds State Park. The collective weight of all of those diamonds is 20 carats.
Admission to the park’s diamond search area is currently limited to 1,500 tickets per day. Visitors are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance at CraterofDiamondsStatePark.com.
Credits: Images courtesy of Arkansas State Parks.