On The Square

The Lure of Esperanza

By Brett Morris

Mar 10,2017 | 13:00 EST

Bobbie Oskarson wasn’t expecting much the day she paid a visit to the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas back in June, 2015. For an eight dollar fee, she gained access to the “Pig Pen,” a 37.5 acre ploughed field where she and others were free to forage for diamonds. She figured she’d put in an hour or so working up a sweat and then head off to grab some lunch. Twenty minutes later she hit the jackpot, unearthing the fifth largest rough diamond ever found in the park. Her life was changed for ever.

Within a year, that stone was cut, on site in Arkansas, into the "Esperanza" Diamond, a 147-facet teardrop-shaped "triolette" diamond weighing 4.62 carets. Jeweler Ian Douglas then set the stone in a mount emphasizing its unique shape and size. The Diamond was given the name “Esperanza,” meaning hope in Spanish, by Bobbie Oskarson soon after.

The Crater of Diamonds - the worlds only diamond-bearing site open to the public

On Tuesday, March 21 Skinner are offering bidders the rare opportunity to snare a piece of diamond history when they offer the Esperanza for sale. In a real coup, the New England-based auction house will sell this prized gem as Lot 507 in their Fine Jewelry sale, accompanied by a copy of GIA report that verifies that it is D color - internally flawless. It’s estimated D color diamonds represent a minuscule .001% of world diamond production, meaning prices paid for perfect color and clarity is always substantial.

Bobbie Oskarson proudly shows off the Esperanza

So what exactly is the Crater of Diamonds State Park? Well, situated in Pike County, Arkansas, it is a 911-acre spread that gains its unique legacy from sitting atop an eroded lamproite volcanic pipe. The park is open to the public and, for a small fee, rock hounds and casual visitors can dig for diamonds and other gemstones. Park visitors find more than 600 diamonds each year at the Crater of Diamonds, with over 29,000 diamonds being found since it became a state park in 1972. Visitors get to keep any gemstone they find, regardless of its size or value, making it the ideal place to send the kids on their next summer vacation! 

21st Century prospectors looking to get lucky in Arkansas

Skinners Fine Jewelry sale is set down for Tuesday, March 21 and contains over 500 expertly curated lots of antique, period, and contemporary jewelry, highlighted by the collections of Leah Gordon and Carol Ferranti. Look now at the full catalog.