Esperanza Diamond to go on display in Kirkwood

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KIRKWOOD, MO (KTVI) - The Esperanza Diamond, the most valuable diamond ever discovered in the United States, will spend the next few days on display in Kirkwood.

The owner of Summa’s Jewelry also owns part of the diamond. Store owner Jim Summa, a certified gemologist who’s been in the jewelry business for more than four decades, said he had trouble finding the right words to describe what the diamond means to him.

“Enormous. Biggest deal in my career,” he said.

Esperanza is Spanish for “hope.” Diamond diggers have been hoping beyond hope they’d find a big one at the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas. You pay $8 and you can spend the day searching. Some expensive stones have been found, but nothing like the Esperanza.

“I was like hitting the slot machine,” Summa said. “Incredible.”

Summa’s referring to Bobbie Oskarson of Colorado. She and her boyfriend decided to take a chance and visited the park, where she discovered the 8.5 carat Esperanza Diamond.

“Pure, 100 percent luck,” Summa said.

It’s the fifth biggest diamond ever found there, but this is better than even the larger ones. It’s practically perfect.

“It’s flawless and there’s no color,” Summa said.

The diamond was sent to Summa’s store in Kirkwood, where he and two certified gemologists examined it and gave their advice on how it should be cut. A special diamond cutter from Canada was flown into Arkansas. It took him about a whole week to create it. The cutter spent three hours on just one of the diamond’s 147 facets. After all the cutting, the diamond is now 4.62 carats. The part of the diamond that was cut away simply floated away, strange as it may sound.

“It’s in the air. They grind it away. It’s just microscopic particles; it’s gone. Still it’s valued at a half million dollars,” Summa said.

The finished Esperanza Diamond will be on display this week at Summa’s Jewelry.

Oskarson sold shares of the diamond to jewelers. Summa owns eight percent, while Oskarson still maintains a 25 percent ownership stake. The Esperanza Diamond will go to auction in April unless someone buys it before then. They’re hearing lots of talk of big money folks wanting to own it. They aren’t naming names nor disclosing details on the increased security at the store.

“High security. James Bond security. We have security,” Summa said.