MURFREESBORO, Ark. - The good times have never seemed so good for one Michigan man who found a diamond Saturday in an Arkansas state park. Richard Burke, a retired high school counselor and golf coach from Flint, found a 4.68-carat white diamond at the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro.
He named the diamond "Sweet Caroline," after his wife Carol and their favorite song by Neil Diamond.
The couple had been in Colorado panning for gold and hunting for fossils and then drove 950 miles to Murfreesboro to dig at Crater of Diamonds.
Burke, a retired high school counselor and golf coach, found the stone in a shallow ravine near West Drain area of the park's search area. The Burkes had been looking for about three hours.
The Burkes say they plan to keep the diamond and mount it in a piece of jewelry.
Assistant Superintendent Bill Henderson said Saturday's find was the 612th diamond found this year by park visitors.
"Surface hunting is very good at the Crater of Diamonds State Park right now because of the heavy rains the park received from recent Tropical Depression Gustav and Tropical Depression Ike," Henderson said.
The park is the only diamond mine in North America where the public can search for diamonds and other gems and keep them. While the site has been a park, the largest diamond found was 16 carats. Before that, a 40-carat diamond was unearthed. In all, the site has produced more than 75,000 diamonds since the first discovery in 1906. The site became a state park in 1972.