Liden said he and a friend had been searching the park for three days when he made a big discovery May 9.
"I saw it shining as soon as I turned the screen over and immediately knew it was a diamond. I was shaking so bad, I asked my buddy to grab it out of the gravel for me," Liden told park officials.
He took the gem to the park's Diamond Discovery Center, where it was identified as a 2.2-carat yellow diamond, the largest discovery at the park since a 4.49-carat yellow diamond was found in October 2020.
"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," said Dru Edmonds, the park's assistant superintendent.
"As beautiful as this diamond is, I think the best part is the story behind it," Edmonds said. "Since the eighth grade, Mr. Liden has dreamed of creating a special ring for his future wife, with stones and gold he mined, himself. And now he can make that dream come true!"
Liden said he hadn't expected to make such a significant find at the park.
"I was just hoping to find a couple smaller stones and had planned to buy a center stone later, but that won't be needed now," he said.