Thirteen-year-old Nicole Ruhter and her family didn't have much luck during a day spent digging for diamonds at a state park, but she kept looking even as they walked along a path that evening.
Bingo. She found a tea-colored, 2.93-carat diamond.
"I was kind of praying to God. I was saying, 'I don't care if it's worth whatever it's worth, I don't care if it's a tiny little sliver of something, I just want something,'" said Nicole of Butler, Mo., who just finished seventh grade. "Ten minutes later, I just found it."
So far this year, Crater of Diamonds State Park visitors have found 332 diamonds — roughly two a day, assistant park superintendent Bill Henderson said. But the average stone is about the size of a match head, according to the park's Web site.
Nicole and her parents, grandparents, brother and two sisters had dug in two fields Tuesday before they headed down a service road followed by thousands of other visitors.
"I just walked and saw this little shine," Nicole said. "We wrapped it up in a little dollar bill and took it back" to show park rangers.
Nicole described the stone as a broken pyramid and said she's going to name it the "Pathfinder Diamond."
She and her family said they'll keep it for a time and find out how much it is worth before trying to sell it.
While the park does not do appraisals, Henderson said experts once valued a 4-carat diamond found in the park at $15,000 to $60,000. Nicole's diamond does have chips and imperfections, he said.
Crater of Diamonds State Park, which opened in 1972, is the world's only diamond-producing site open to the public, and visitors keep the gems they unearth. The largest was the 16.37-carat Amarillo Starlight, a white diamond found by a Texas visitor in 1975.