A man has found a 2.20-carat diamond that could be worth up to £40,000 while out panning for materials to make an engagement ring for his fiancée.
Christian Liden, 26, spent years panning, mining and searching for raw materials to make his own engagement ring for his partner, Desirae.
Then last month he travelled to a new site and hoped to find a few small diamonds, but instead wound up with the massive diamond worth the same as a small house.
Christian, from Poulsbo, Washington, found the diamond in the Crater of Diamonds State Park in the US state of Arkansas, and will now be using it to make a ring for his future wife.
Christian, who works in land development and excavating, said: “I saw it shining as soon as I turned the screen over and immediately knew it was a diamond.
“Seeing the diamond took my breathe away. It made me instantly start shaking, almost like a state of shock.”
Christian took the diamond to the park’s Diamond Discovery Center, where staff confirmed it was a large yellow diamond.
A spokesperson for the park said: “Weighing 2.20 carats, Liden’s diamond is the largest found at the park since last October, when a visitor from Fayetteville, Arkansas discovered a 4.49-carat yellow diamond.
“Mr Liden’s diamond is light yellow, with a triangular shape and a sparkling, metallic lustre.
“Like most diamonds from the park, it contains a few inclusions, making it one-of-a-kind.”
Diamond finders at the park often choose to name their gems with Christian dubbing his ‘Washington Sunshine’.
He added: “It’s got a nice, light yellow colour, just like sunlight in Washington.”
Christian stopped in Nevada on his way home to mine for opals for the ring.
He proposed to his girlfriend of five-and-a-half years, Desirae, on May 18, the day after he returned home, getting a yes in return.
They plan to design an engagement ring together with the diamond and all of the other materials he’s collected across the country.
Christian currently doesn’t know the true value of the diamond as he hasn’t yet found a jeweller to build the ring, but diamonds of that size are typically worth between £5,000 and £40,000.
A park spokesperson added: “As beautiful as this diamond is, I think the best part is the story behind it.
“Since the eighth grade, Mr Liden has dreamed of creating a special ring for his future wife, with stones and gold he mined, himself. And now he can make that dream come true!”
Christian added: “I had never heard of anybody doing it before. I really just wanted to be different, and to have a one-of-a-kind ring.
“I was just hoping to find a couple smaller stones and had planned to buy a center stone later, but that won’t be needed now!”