Lanik family

From left, Nebraskans Josh Lanik, Stephanie Lanik, Max Lanik and Miles Lanik pose with the 2.12-carat diamond Josh discovered at the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas.

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.