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Originally published Sunday, October 22, 2006 at 12:00 AM

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Wisconsin man makes gem-dandy discovery at diamond state park

A Wisconsin man visiting a state park took home the ultimate souvenir: a 5. 47-carat canary diamond. Bob Wehle of Ripon, Wis., found the diamond at...

MURFREESBORO, Ark. — A Wisconsin man visiting a state park took home the ultimate souvenir: a 5.47-carat canary diamond.

Bob Wehle of Ripon, Wis., found the diamond at the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro on Oct. 14. The park is the world's only publicly operated diamond site where visitors are allowed to keep any gems they can find.

Wehle's diamond is bright-yellow and has no visible flaws, said Tom Stolarz, park superintendent.

"At first glance, it makes you think of lemon-drop candy," Stolarz said.

Bill Henderson, assistant park superintendent, said park officials don't estimate values of the stones found by visitors. But he said Wehle's gem was identical in quality to — but larger than — a 4.21-carat flawless canary diamond found in the park in March that was valued by a New York diamond expert at $15,000 to $60,000.

The largest diamond ever discovered in the United States was unearthed in Arkansas in 1924. It weighed 40.23 carats.

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