By Michelle Graff
Brandon Kalenda found this 2.89-carat white diamond at the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas last week. He has named it the “Jax Diamond” after his son, Jackson.
Murfreesboro, Ark.--A family trip that included a quick stop at Arkansas’ Crater of Diamonds State Park proved fruitful for one man last week.

After Brandon Kalenda’s mother-in-law saw the park on an episode of TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting, she decided that the family should take a visit there and talked them all into it.

While traveling through Arkansas last week on a journey from Louisiana to Minnesota, they stopped to enjoy the park and look through the 37 1/2-acre search area when Kalenda unearthed a 2.89-carat white diamond.

He named his find the “Jax Diamond,” after his infant son, Jackson, and told the park staff that he plans to keep the stone.

Park Interpreter Margi Jenks said, “No two diamonds in the rough are alike. This is a triangular-shaped diamond with a metallic appearance, and it’s about the size of an English pea.”

She added that Kalenda, who lives in Maurepas, La., had watched the Discovery Channel’s Gold Rush television show before and figured diamond hunting was similar to looking for gold and that diamonds could be found in little pockets of rocks.

“Sure enough, Brandon found his diamond after searching for about 20 minutes in the Fugitt’s Bank area of the park’s search area,” Jenks said. “We encourage park visitors to look for pockets or layers on the surface of gravel, and search there. That’s exactly what Brandon was doing.”

Jenks also noted that conditions are perfect right now for diamond hunting, as park staff plowed the diamond search field at the end of January and a quarter of an inch of rain fell on Sunday, which helps dirt slide off the diamonds and expose them.

Crater of Diamonds is the only diamond-producing site open to the public in the world. So far in 2014, 51 diamonds have been found.

RELATED CONTENT: Diamond park compiles 2013 stats

Last year, visitors to the park uncovered a total of 453 diamonds, 19 of which weighed more than one carat and six of which were more than two carats. 

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