Whenever Bob Wehle could get away, he would go to the Crater of Diamonds in Arkansas, plunk down $6, and dig for diamonds.
His friends razzed him. His wife rolled her eyes. Until, that is, he found a 5.47-carat canary yellow gem of unusual clarity he named the Sunshine Diamond.
"My wife, she's OK with this now," Wehle, 36, said with a chuckle. "My friends, they're not laughing at me anymore."
The discovery of Sunshine was another glittering chapter in the legend of Arkansas' Crater of Diamonds State Park, one of the more unusual public attractions in America.
For a $6 fee, visitors can scour the mouth of an ancient volcano in search of a priceless stone. Most days one or two get lucky, as a 9-year-old from Illinois did this spring when she scooped up a clear white diamond with her toy shovel and named it Sparkles. The 50,000 people who visit each year find ground rules that are tantalizingly simple: finders keepers.
It's a fantastic story of a public garden that has yielded 75,000 diamonds, and all you have to do is pay the fee and start digging!
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/southflorida/sfl-117diamonds,0,7067987.story?coll=sfla-home-headlines | Official Crater of Diamonds State Park website