Kevin Kinard, 33, found a 9.07-carat diamond at Arkansas' Crater of Diamonds State Park that officials said is the second-largest diamond discovery in the park's history. Photo courtesy of Arkansas State Parks
Sept. 24 (UPI) -- A visitor to Arkansas' Crater of Diamonds State Park unearthed a 9.07-carat gem -- the second-largest diamond discovery in the park's history.
Arkansas State Parks said Kevin Kinard, 33, of Maumelle, Ark., was visiting the park with friends on Labor Day when he came across a marble-sized crystal with a rounded, dimpled shape.
"It kind of looked interesting and shiny, so I put it in my bag and kept searching. I just thought it might've been glass," Kinard said.
Kinard said he didn't think any of his discoveries would turn out to be valuable, but he decided to have them checked by staff at the Diamond Discovery Center because his friends wanted to have their finds examined.
"I almost didn't have them check my finds, because I didn't think I had found anything. My friend had hers checked, though, so I went ahead and had them check mine, too," he recalled.
The employee going through Kinard's discoveries took the marble-sized crystal into the office for further examination, and a few minutes later Kinard was brought into the office and told he had found a 9.07-carat diamond.
"I honestly teared up when they told me. I was in complete shock," Kinard said.
Officials said Kinard's discovery is the second-largest to be found since Crater of Diamonds became a state park in 1972. It is second only to a 16.37-carat white Amarillo Starlight diamond found at the park in August 1975.
"Congratulations to Mr. Kinard on finding this impressive diamond -- the second largest found at the park since 1972," said Stacy Hurst, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism.
"A find like this is always thrilling for the park guest, as well as the park staff, who get to help identify the gem and share in the excitement."
Kinard said he decided to give his discovery a name that would honor the good time he had with his friends at the park: the Kinard Friendship Diamond.
"We love to travel together and had such a great time out here. It was a very humbling experience," he said.