Customers who are looking for beautiful and attractive diamonds are often surprised to hear that commercial diamond mines were located in two major locations in the US. The first commercial diamond mine that was located in Murfreesboro, Arkansas, was closed in the early 1900’s because the miners discovered that the diamond deposits in these areas were just sub-economic.
The diamond mine in Arkansas is currently known as the ‘Crater of Diamonds’ and it operated as a tourist “pay-to-dig mine” by the state authorities. This means that both natives and tourists can look for diamonds in the mine and keep them if found. Reports from several reliable sources indicate that approximately a few hundred carats of diamonds are still found in this mine every year.
The second commercial diamond mine in the United States was the Kelsey Lake Diamond Mine and it was established near Fort Collins, Colorado. This diamond mine produced small percents of diamond between the years 1996 to 2002. However, this diamond mine was closed in the year 2002 due to legal issues.
It is said that diamond indicator mineral assemblages, potentially diamondiferous rocks, and even diamonds were found in more than a hundred locations within the United States over the last 50 to 100 years. The authorities are highly hopeful that a few of these locations would become commercial in the future, which will in turn make the US one of the major producers of gem-quality diamonds.
Even though millions of carats of gem-quality diamonds are being traded in the country every year, only a few diamonds are actually produced domestically. In fact, , technically speaking, the one and only active diamond mine in the country is the Crater of Diamonds in Arkansas.
Interestingly, recreational prospectors were able to discover hundred carats of diamonds a year since the 1970’s. Most of the diamonds found in this mine are brown, yellow, or white in color. However, diamonds with different color tones have also been discovered from the Arkansas diamond mine over the years. What makes this US mine different from other diamond mines is that the Crater of Diamonds is the only mine where you can be a miner.
A number of world famous and highly valuable gemstones have been found in the diamond mine. Some of the diamonds found in this mine still have gemological significance and they attract interest from both customers and diamond collectors. Three of the most notable diamonds to be discovered in the American mine are the following.
The Uncle Sam Diamond
The Uncle Sam Diamond is a stunning white diamond that comes with a carat size of 40.23 cts. This white diamond is the largest diamond that was mined from the North American region. This fascinating stone was found in the Crater of Diamonds in the year 1924, a few years before the mine was transformed into a state park.
The Strawn-Wagner Diamond
The Strawn-Wagner Diamond was found in the year 1990 as a rough stone with a carat weight of 3.03 cts. The stone was later cut and polished, which reduced its carat weight to approximately 1.09 carats. The round brilliant Strawn-Wagner Diamond received a perfect grading from the American Gem Society. In fact, this gemstone, which was discovered by Shirley Strawn, is considered as the most perfect diamond that the American Gem Society has ever certified.
The Kahn Canary Diamond
The Kahn Canary Diamond is a stunning canary color diamond that featured a unique dodecahedral pillow shape. The carat size of this beautiful stone that was found by George Stepp in 1977 is estimated to be around 4.25 cts. The diamond was purchased from Stepp by Stan Kahn but he decided not to cut it, as he believed that the stone looked magnificent in its raw state. However, he loaned the diamond to several museums all over the world for temporary displays.
What about the Kelsey Lake Mine
As mentioned earlier, there are no commercial diamond mines in the US, which are currently operational. However, the Kelsey Lake Diamond Mine, which is situated near Fort Collins, Colorado, was operation until a few years ago. The Kelsey Lake Diamond Mine was initially opened in 1996 by the Redaurum Limited as a commercial diamond mine. However, the Great Western Diamond Company purchased the commercial diamond mine in the year 2000 and they operated it until the end of 2002. Most of the diamonds discovered in this diamond mine were crystal clean gem-quality stones. Moreover, more than one-third of the diamonds found in this mine were one or more than one carat in size.
Reports indicate that the mine contained resources of 17 million tons of ore with 4-carat average grade per hundred metric tons. According to a United States Geological Survey reported, the most precious and valuable diamonds from the Kelsey Lake Mine were priced in between USD 89,000 to 300,000.