When Josh Lanik discovered a diamond at the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas, on July 24, he showed his wife, then kept on digging.
“Honestly, we weren’t that worked up about it,” Lanik said.
Lanik is a 36-year-old physical education teacher from Hebron, Nebraska. He, his wife, Stephanie, and their boys, 8-year-old Max and 6-year-old Miles, had been digging alongside people who had brought their own professional-grade equipment to the 37-acre field.
“I was just digging around with my bare hands when I found it,” Lanik said.
Lanik realized that the diamond he discovered might be something special when people in the Diamond Discovery Center reacted to the find with huge smiles and excitement.
Weighing in at 2.12 carats, the dark brown diamond, about the size of a jelly bean, was the largest diamond found this year at the Crater of Diamonds State Park, where vacationers can pay $10 to search for gems.
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“It’s really unbelievable,” Lanik said Tuesday in a phone interview. “A student asked if I’d build a gym for the school and put my name on it.”
Visitors have unearthed and registered almost 300 diamonds at the Crater this year, according to the park, which says its fields hide brown, yellow and white gems. The total 2019 haul amounts to about 54 carats, and 11 of this year’s diamonds weighed at least 1 carat.
But Lanik’s find stood out for its size. The average diamond found at the Crater is about one-fifth to one-fourth of a carat, the park says.
Heavy rainfall probably helped Lanik’s search by uncovering gems, which glint and catch the eye of diggers, park interpreter Waymon Cox told Arkansas State Parks. Park staff found lots of diamonds at the ground’s surface after 14 inches of rain on July 16, but nothing like Lanik’s.
Lanik has discovered that there’s not a large market for the gem.
“It’s not a sparkly diamond you’d flash in an engagement ring,” Lanik said. “It also has a fissure that lowers the value.”
Lanik declined to share the exact appraisal estimate, but he said similar gems can be found online for about $1,000.
The market value doesn’t matter much to the Laniks, who don’t plan on selling the diamond.
Lanik is looking for a specialized jeweler who could put it in a ring for Stephanie. “Something we can pass on to the boys,” he said.
One of the most surprising things about the discovery to Lanik is how quickly the story took off. CNN, the Washington Post and multiple Arkansas news outlets have covered his discovery.
“It is a really fun story to tell,” Lanik said. “But I wasn’t expecting it to take on the legs it has.”
How do Lanik’s boys feel about the attention?
“Honestly, when we asked them what their favorite part of the trip was, they said, ‘The cool Airbnb we stayed in,’ ” Lanik said.
Lanik said the family’s trip to Arkansas got them one state closer to his and his wife’s goal of visiting all 50 states before their boys go to college.
This report includes material from the Washington Post.
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Michigan players mingled prior to their College World Series game against Vanderbilt.
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The sunset is reflected in some open water at Flanagan Lake in Omaha, Nebraska.
Ian Murphy, canvases the nearly 90 snow people which are on display at the Leavenworth Park in Omaha, Nebraska. Neighbors such as Murphy say the snow people didn't exist yesterday and claim it happened over night or possibly early this morning.
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A person goes for a run along the snow covered trails at Lake Zorinsky in Omaha, Nebraska.
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Sarpy County Sheriff's Deputy Darin Morrissey rides an ATV through floodwaters in Hawaiian Village.
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Lincoln Pius X's Austin Jablonski holds up the net after his team defeated Omaha Roncalli in the championship game in the Class B Nebraska state basketball tournament at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Amelia Fritz, right, holds on to her daughter-in-law Tesha Fritz in Glenwood, Iowa. They were evacuated from Pacific Junction, Iowa, after floodwaters hit the town last night. They were part of 15-relatives all staying in the same house or in a camper in the front driveway.
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Lincoln Pius X's Charlie Easley, left, and and Omaha Roncalli's Alexander Rodgers stretch for a loose ball during the championship game in the Class B Nebraska state basketball tournament at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family's Trent Reardon, left and Jason Sjuts celebrate their victory over Fremont Bergan during the championship game in the Class D1 Nebraska state basketball tournament at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Aurora's Kaleb Moural wipes the sweat from his face during the second half against Omaha Roncalli during a semifinal game in the Class B Nebraska state basketball tournament at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Bob the cat looks on from a basket in a boat after being rescued from floodwaters in Hamburg, Iowa.
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Lincoln East's Charlotte Bovaird practices her shot and she and her teammates warm up in the hallways before the start of the game. Lincoln East played Millard South in a Class A first-round basketball game during the girls state basketball tournament at the Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska.