Josh Lanik, 36, turned up a 2.12-carat brown diamond on a recent visit to Crater of Diamonds State Park, the park announced today. He found the gem 15 feet away from the West Drain trench, on the southwest edge of the park, in an area he said looked scoured by water. It was the largest diamond found this year at the park.
Lanik, a schoolteacher from Hebron, Neb., was vacationing with his wife and children when he found the stone. From the press release:
Before leaving the park, the family stopped by the Diamond Discovery Center to have their finds identified. Lanik said that when he poured the contents of the paper sack onto the counter, a park employee put his brown gem into a pill bottle and took it into the office for a closer look. He noted, “She wouldn’t tell us whether it was a diamond, but we were pretty sure from her reaction that it was.” After identifying and weighing the gem, park staff brought Lanik into the office and informed him that he had discovered the largest diamond found so far in 2019.
Park Interpreter Waymon Cox noted that recent record-breaking rainfall likely contributed to Lanik’s find. “About 14 inches of rain fell at the park on July 16. In the days after the rainfall, park staff registered numerous diamonds found right on the surface of the search area, including two weighing over one carat.”
Cox continued, “About one out of every 10 diamonds registered by park visitors is found on top of the ground, including many of the largest ever found at the Crater of Diamonds.” Park personnel plow the diamond search area, the eroded surface of an ancient, diamond-bearing volcanic crater, periodically to loosen soil and assist with natural erosion. Diamonds are a bit heavy for their size and lack static electricity, so dirt doesn’t stick to them. When rainfall uncovers larger diamonds and the sun comes out, they sparkle and are often easy to see.
According to Cox, “Mr. Lanik’s gem is about the size of a jellybean and has a dark brown color, similar to brandy. It has a beautiful natural pear shape and smooth, curved facets that give the gem a metallic shine.”
The park said 296 diamonds have been found at the park this year; 11 of them weighed at least one carat.