Arkansas’ Esperanza diamond to begin national tour, auction value set at $500,000

by Kerri Jackson Case (kerri@mudrain.com) 212 views 

Bobbie Oskarson of Longmont, Colo., holds up the diamond she found during a June trip to Arkansas’ Crater of Diamonds State Park.

Most diamonds don’t have their own Facebook Page and YouTube with 3,000 admirers tracking it, but most diamonds are not the Esperanza.

“You can work your whole life in the jewelry business and never come across anything as amazing as this diamond,” said Laura Stanley of Stanley Jewelers. (See the video about the diamond at the end of this story.)

Touted as the most valuable diamond ever discovered in America, the 4.62-carat stone (after cutting) was discovered this summer at Arkansas’ Crater of Diamonds Sate Park at Murfreesboro. In its raw form, it was 8.52 carats. While there have been four larger stones discovered at Crater of Diamonds, the quality of the Esperanza diamond far exceeds them. It’s D-color and considered internally flawless.

Esperanza was found in June by Bobbie Oskarson of Longmont, Colo., while on vacation in Arkansas. Oskarson and boyfriend Travis Dillon saw the Crater of Diamonds State Park on an Arkansas highway map while in Hot Springs and decided to visit the park. She found stone about 20 minutes into her search. She named her gem the Esperanza, after her niece’s name and the Spanish word for “hope.”

Because of its uniqueness, the stone has attracted a following. In fact, it’s going on tour. First stop will the location where it was cut by world renowned Master Diamond Cutter Mike Botha of Embee Diamonds earlier this year, Stanley Jewelers. Since the cutting, it’s been set in a pendant by jewelry designer Ian Douglas.

“This has been more fun than we could have possibly imagined,” said Stanley, regarding the in store cutting and subsequent diamond tour.

More than 500 people came to the store during the week Botha was cutting the Esperanza.

Beginning this week (Dec. 9), the Esperanza will be on display at the North Little Rock store until Jan. 5. After that, it will make stops in California, Arizona, Texas and Florida. After concluding its tour, Esperanza will be put up for auction in April at Heritage Auction House in Dallas – unless a credible offer is made between now and then. It’s estimated it will go for around $500,000 at auction. Up until now, the highest quality diamond found at Crater State Park is valued between $25,000-30,000.

During a Nov. 19 meeting of the State Parks, Recreation and Travel Commission, Joan Ellison said she hopes someone from Arkansas will step up and buy the diamond and keep it in the state.

“It could easily be sold and sent off to Saudi Arabia,” Ellison, a public information officer for the Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism, said during a brief interview after the Nov. 19 meeting. “We have some people in Arkansas who have the means to step up and buy it so that it doesn’t leave our state.”

Esperanza Diamond Tour Schedule
Dec. 9 – Jan. 5th: Stanley Jewelers Gemologist, North Little Rock
Jan. 13 -17: Black, Starr & Frost, Newport Beach, Calif. (Meet the Cutter Event)
Jan. 20 – 24: Black, Starr & Frost, Phoenix, Ariz. (Meet the Cutter Event)
Jan. 27 – 31: Molina Fine Jewelers, Phoenix Ariz.
Feb. 3 – 7: Whiteflash, Houston
Feb. 10 – 14: Underwood’s San Marco, Jacksonville Fla.

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