8.66 ct. Illusion Diamond

MURFREESBORO, Ark. (KTHV) – A Colorado woman unearthed an 8.66 carat diamond at the Crater of Diamonds State Park on Tuesday.

Park Officials say Beth Gilbertson of Salida, Colorado became a regular visitor to the park after seeing the Travel Channel’s “The Best Places to Find Cash and Treasures” which includes a segment on the Crater of Diamonds.

On Tuesday, she was scraping gravel out of a drainage ditch on the Beatty’s Hill portion of the park’s 37 ½-acre search area and discovered the diamond while wet sifting buckets of dirt at the north washing pavilion while also helping two other visitors learn how to search, Gilbertson said, “I’d collected four buckets of dirt for me to search and two for the other visitors. The diamond ended up being in one of my buckets.”

She said, “I’ve found other diamonds at the park, but when I first noticed this one, I couldn’t quite believe that something that large could be a real diamond. I thought it was a piece of glass. So, I asked another visitor, this is a diamond, right?” Gilbertson continued, “I felt sure it was a diamond, but yet couldn’t quite believe it.” Because of this, she named her gem the Illusion Diamond. “I’ve worked very hard searching for diamonds. But on Monday while helping other visitors learn how to search, and searching in an area where I don’t normally work, the diamond showed up. The illusion materialized,” she said.

Park officials say this diamond is the third largest diamond of the 27,000 diamonds found by park visitors since the Crater of Diamonds became an Arkansas state park in 1972. Gilbertson’s diamond is only topped in size by the 16.37-carat Amarillo Starlight found in 1975 by park visitor W. W. Johnson of Amarillo, Texas, and the 8.82-carat Star of Shreveport found by Carroll Blankenship of Shreveport, Louisiana, in June 1981

According to Park Superintendent Justin Dorsey, “It has been almost 30 years since we’ve seen a diamond of this size found at the park.”