(CNN) – A Washington man has dreamed all his life of finding a rough diamond to create a one-of-a-kind engagement ring for his future bride, but he didn’t know it would become a reality.
Christian Liden told CNN that the idea of mining his own gemstones for an engagement ring came to his mind in college, but he was unsure how to accomplish the task. As he got older, he said he discovered how difficult it was to find rough gems in the United States.
However, when Liden’s co-worker told him about Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas three years ago, he knew his dream could come true. He had been dating his girlfriend, Desirae, for two years, and knew the ring would be for her.
“That’s when I really started planning the trip and planning to go out and do it – find out it was possible to do it – so I started researching the diamonds, ”Liden said.
He watched videos of those who managed to find diamonds in the park and tried to get as much information as possible before deciding to plan his trip. His friend Josh, who has known Liden’s dream from the start, has decided to join him in the adventure.
The 2.20-carat gem is the largest one has been found in the park since last October, when a visitor from Fayetteville, Arkansas, discovered a 4.49-carat yellow diamond.
Arkansas State Parks
As they planned, Liden built his own mining equipment while his girlfriend was at work, so he didn’t have to explain the real purpose of the road trip.
“She knew I was going on a road trip, but she didn’t know what we were doing. I told her we were going to visit state parks and national parks, but other than that, she didn’t know we were going to find gems, ”he says.
Liden was planning to propose to Desirae upon her return and didn’t want to warn her.
On May 1, Liden and Josh began their adventure and made their first stop in Montana to mine for sapphires, in case they found themselves empty-handed when arriving at the park.
After a successful first dig and a day in Yellowstone, the two arrived in Arkansas on May 7, hoping to find a needle in a haystack.
The next two days were unsuccessful, even after trying to get some material intact. The next day they decided to try a different approach and just mine the gravel surface.
“It was towards the end of the day, it was the last two carts … and we just started throwing materials at the screens,” he said.
Then something amazing happened: when he turned his tool upside down on it, there was a yellow diamond weighing more than two carats.
“I started shaking right away – I was shaking so much. I waved my boyfriend over… and I moved my hand and he saw it,” Liden said.
He was in such a state of shock, he let Josh grab the gem and put it in a ziplock bag because she was afraid to drop it.
“I wasn’t expecting anything like this. I was just hoping to find one – just a small one – just so I could put it on the ring and say ‘hey, I mined this diamond,’ ‘Liden said.
Christian and his new fiancee ‘Desirae after his proposal.
Courtesy of Christian Liden
They immediately went to the Discovery Center to report what they had found, and staff confirmed the size of the yellow diamond.
The 2.20-carat gem is the largest found in the park since last October, when a visitor to Fayetteville, Arkansas, discovered a 4.49-carat yellow diamond, according to a statement Diamond Crater State Park Press Release.
“Mr. Liden’s diamond is light yellow, with a triangular shape and a sparkling metallic luster. Like most diamonds in the park, it contains some inclusions, which makes it unique,” said Deputy Superintendent Dru Edmonds.
The day after Liden returned home, he and his girlfriend went on a mushroom hunt, and on their walk in the woods, Liden pulled out the diamond and proposed. She said yes.
The two are currently looking for someone to design and build the ring made up of the gems Liden mined on the trip. He said they were in no rush.
“Everything went well,” Liden said.