Unexpected find will soon be jewelryArea News
-- Dan Fagnan thought it was a piece of glass.
By: Jeff Holmquist, Pierce County Herald
Dan Fagnan thought it was a piece of glass.
But after the St. Croix County, Wis. resident thought about it for a while, that first impression didn’t make sense. It turned out to be a pretty significant find in the end.
In recent years, Fagnan has enjoyed panning for gold in the region. He said “Wisconsin gold” is often discovered as tiny flakes and typically those flakes aren’t worth much.
But that fact doesn’t stop him from the panning hobby.
“Everyone thinks I’m a fruit loop for panning for gold,” he said with a laugh.
Recently, Fagnan’s friend drilled a well and offered to give the amateur gold prospector a chance to pan through the wet pile of rocks and sand. Fagnan said he jumped at the chance, hoping to find some gold flakes from the minerals dug up from 120 feet below the surface of the soil.
As he scanned one scoop of material, a small stone caught his eye. The tiny rock was irregularly shaped and transparent.
He decided to take the stone to Greaton’s Designing Jewelers to see if they could tell him what mineral he had found.
Owner Karen Greaton tested the stone to see if it was a diamond. Sure enough, her test equipment indicated it was, but Greaton was skeptical.
She thought the stone could be moissanite, or silicon carbide. But even that test indicated it was a diamond.
“My dad told me it’s unlikely to find a diamond here, but diamonds can actually be found anywhere in the world,” Greaton said. Most often, diamonds are formed near volcanoes, where minerals and heat combine to create the hard substance.
Greaton was still not convinced, so she consulted with a mineralogist who also identified the stone as a diamond.
“It’s pretty interesting,” Greaton said. A likely scenario for how the small stone ended up in Wisconsin is that it was pushed southward from Canadian volcanic activity and left here after the Ice Age.
Fagnan said he was thrilled he’d found the 1.22 carat diamond and intends to have Greaton’s Designing Jewelers place the stone in a necklace for his soon-to-be-born child.
“I know these gals down here do pretty good work,” he said of Greatons.
Greaton said the jewelers decided not to cut the diamond, because Fagnan would end up losing about 60 percent of the stone.
“It’s better to just keep it raw,” she said.
The jewelry designer at the shop intends to place the stone in a three-dimensional “cage” that will help to display the diamond.