by Heather Grabin
Greetings from Crater of Diamonds State Park! There are many reasons why people visit the Crater of Diamonds, but a love story has to be one of the best—especially close to Valentine’s Day.
Max Hester and Amanda Louise Hardwicke, of Paris, AR, visited the Crater of Diamonds on January 31 with one specific goal in mind: to find an Arkansas diamond for Amanda’s engagement ring.
The couple were close to finalizing their wedding plans when they realized that they had not chosen their rings. Amanda had always wanted an Arkansas diamond from the man who wanted to marry her, and she wanted him to try and find it. “I’m worth it,” said Amanda with a grin. Max never hesitated, and the couple planned a trip to Murfreesboro to hunt for stones at Crater of Diamonds State Park.
The love story that goes with Max and Amanda’s relationship is unique and has qualities of an epic fairy tale. The beginning chapter started when they were friends in high school. Amanda had an older boyfriend who refused to attend her Junior Prom with her. What would have been a huge disaster was averted when Max saved the evening by stepping in as her prom date.
“We’ve always been in love. I believe he fell in love with me that night,” said Amanda as she looked at Max and smiled. Max quickly agreed that she had captured his heart.
However, time and circumstance distanced the couple. Though they still shared many of the same friends, Max and Amanda lived in different towns and didn’t reconnect with one another for 18 years.
Once reunited the two picked up their friendship right where it left off, and it naturally grew to be so much more. Knowing that they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together, the couple began planning a small wedding on the Mulberry River, in Northwest Arkansas, with a ceremony that not only reflects their love for each other, but also their love for the natural beauty of Arkansas.
They set the wedding date for May 5. Max laughed as he explained the choice: “It’s Cinco de Mayo; that way I’ll never forget the date.”
The small wedding swiftly turned into a major event when the couple reserved Mulberry Mountain Lodge as the venue. They rented a cabin for a morning ceremony along the banks of the Mulberry River. After exchanging nuptials the couple plans to serve fried chicken, biscuits, and gravy as refreshments before taking a float trip. Later that evening they will host a bonfire with hot dogs and marshmallows, and Mike Hosty, the “One Man Band” from Oklahoma, will provide musical entertainment.
Despite their great efforts, the couple was unable to find a diamond during their recent visit to the Crater of Diamonds. They spoke about purchasing a ring already set with an Arkansas diamond, but both agreed that they enjoyed diamond hunting and finding other beautiful rocks and minerals so much, that they will return to the Crater of Diamonds very soon!
Date last plowed: November 27, 2017
Most recent significant rain: February 10, 2018
Diamond finds for the week of February 4, 2018 (100 points=1 carat):
February 5 – Curtis Baisden, Fate, TX, 7 pt. yellow
February 10 – Renee Wirick, San Antonio, TX, 12 pt. white