January Speaker: Diamond Prospecting in Murfreesboro, AR by Kathy Hrechka

by Cindy Schmidtlein, MSDC Vice President

Kathy Hrechka at the Entrance to Crater of Diamonds State Park, Murfreesboro, Arkansas

Kathy Hrechka will share her adventure of prospecting for naturally occurring diamonds at the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas. Her talk will explain how the locality was discovered to be an eroded surface of a volcanic crater consisting of lamproite that formed more than 100 million years old.

Kathy is a micromineral collector, specializing in diamonds. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Fashion Merchandising but landed a career in the airline industry as a flight attendant. Her career enabled her to travel to interesting geology localities around the world.

Kathy is also a volunteer webmaster and editor for the Micromineralogists of the National Capital Area. In addition, she volunteers in the Geology, Gems, & Mineral Hall at the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History.

Her talk will include the history of diamond prospecting in Murfreesboro, which began in 1906. Since then, various international mining companies have successfully mined diamonds there. In 1972, Crater of Diamonds became an Arkansas State Park, welcoming prospectors. Kathy considered the locality to be her “micromineral field of dreams.” She spent all day on Mother's Day last year trekking across the field while sifting the lamproite.

While prospecting, she noticed the site of the famous Uncle Sam Diamond, which was marked with a shovel and a sign. It was the largest diamond ever found, 40.23-carats in 1924. It has since been faceted to a 12.42-carat emerald cut gem. The diamond traveled from jeweler to museum to private owner before coming to the Smithsonian in 2019. The Uncle Sam Diamond recently went on display in the Gem gallery of the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History.

Kathy gives credit to the local author of “Genuine Diamonds found in Arkansas” by Glenn W. Worthington for providing her with photos of local diamonds and assisting her with documentation for her program. She will also reveal her new diamond from the Murfreesboro locality. It becomes her newest locality in her diamond collection from around the world. She declared, “this was the best Mother’s Day ever”.