A visitor of the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas, found a sizable rough stone. Adam Hardin has been avidly searching for the precious gems for more than ten years before discovering this specimen, which is the largest one found in Arkansas since 2021.
Hardin has encountered hundreds of jewels over the years, and this “Frankenstone,” as he named it, was not his first significant find—although it is his largest. Brown in color, the rock weighs in at 2.38 carats, only to be outdone by a 4.38-carat jewel discovered by a Californian a year prior.
For many years, visitors from around the world converge on this 37-acre field situated inside an ancient volcanic crater. Since 1972 visitors have discovered more than 33,100 diamonds. Adults pay $10 each, kids, only $6, and families bring with them all sorts of non-motorized hand tools. They can dig to their hearts’ galore, and the parklets them keep their discoveries.
While the field is host to a multitude of other mineral rocks, diamonds in the park are prized finds that beckon the crowds, coming in white, brown, and yellow colors.
While 2.38 carats is a remarkable find, a 14-year-old boy found a 7.44-carat piece in 2017. But the largest recorded in the United States was obtained at the same spot in 1924 before the park was established. The “Uncle Sam” stone weighed in at a whopping 40.23 carats. It was honed down to an emerald cut of 12.42 carats, with an outstanding grading of VVS1.
The finished Uncle Sam sold for $150,000 in 1971. While it might sound like an unbelievable value, when adjusted for inflation, that would come out to nearly $1.1 million in today’s dollars.
In 2022, it is evaluated at about $800,000, so if the buyer had held onto his money, he’d actually be richer by $150,000. This, of course, begs the question of how these jewels are evaluated and graded.
While fancy colored jewels sell for more money than even brilliant white diamonds, it’s just not so with the brown variety found in Arkansas. Yet a lucky digger purportedly landed a white gem appraised at a million dollars
But according to one expert, “resorbed” specimens like those at the site are actually worth more than locals or miners say. This variety is the best quality for industrial applications, and is stronger than African. According to naturallycolored.com, “A 1-carat brown diamond starts from approximately $2,500 and an F VS2 costs approximately $4,000.”
Charles Ekron is the managing director of Addler Holdings, a diamond trading company out of South Africa. “Grading a colored gemstone is more complex than a white one. Fancy colors involve considerations beyond the GIA 4Cs.”
When grading, labs rate attributes according to the “4Cs,” which stands for color, cut, clarity, and carat weight. This standard was created by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), but disappointingly, GIA’s methods of grading aren’t a precise science.
Sidney Travers is the owner of a jewelry chain in Southern Florida. At a recent convention, he discussed problems with 4Cs labs. “Many, many times we’ve had discrepancies. Sellers would come to us with certified loose stones. We would ask for second opinions from another lab just to verify, and the results would come back differently. These little changes translate into thousands of dollars in this business.”
An Israeli company called Sarine Technologies operates the only certification lab of its kind in the world, where high-tech machines perform certified grading. Scan station sensors take a complete reading of a stone at much higher magnification and resolution than the GIA labs, which only use a 10x loupe and microscope.
Computers using artificial intelligence are far more accurate and objective than a lab technician’s eye, and the technology measures attribute on a much wider spectrum than 4Cs guidelines. This comprehensive set of metrics including light performance, ensure that a diamond is evaluated properly, and the certification comes in the form of an always accessible digital report.
Mr. Hardin wrote that he decided to keep his stone, but experts say it might be a good idea to have it appraised by Sarine. Getting an eGrading certificate is the smart way for sellers to get a true valuation, and for shoppers to know what it is that they’re buying.
Hamza Fazal is a reporter for The Hear UP. After graduating from the University of Abbottabad, Hamza got an internship at the NPR and worked as a reporter and producer. Hamza has also worked as a reporter for the Medium. Hamza covers health and science for The Hear UP.
Great Resignation: How to beat Great Resignation with Employee Experience
The world was forever changed in late 2019 when the Coronavirus made its appearance. Countries shut down. Streets were empty. Companies held as best they could or were forced to close their doors. Many would believe that such an event would lead to employees wanting to hold on to their jobs. Typically, large numbers of resignations signify a good economy and abundant availability of jobs allowing people to follow passions instead of necessity.
Post-COVID employee experience is much different.
For two years, and some a bit more, people were forced to spend time alone, realigning the importance of human interaction, well-being, and happiness. This drive for more personal fulfilment, satisfaction, and growth stemmed The Great Resignation.
No longer were employees basing staying with jobs out of need or comfortability. Now they look for work-homelife balance, greater satisfaction and better employee experiences, or they will leave. So how do companies face this? How do they increase employee retention and improve employee engagement?
The secret is in employee experience.
Holistic Employee Experience
There are, of course, no quick fixes for the Great Resignation, small wins can motivate and drive longer-term goals for your organization. The Great Resignation—and COVID by extension—taught many employees that life meant so much more. That the daily grind working in offices with long commutes, stress, lack of rest or relaxation, and the hustle of strenuous work weeks while normal was not conducive to happiness and mental well-being.
But this shift can be used as a blueprint for better employee experience!
Companies who work on being human-centric in ideals, strategies, and decision-making can improve greatly their chances of stemming mass exodus. Post-covid employee experience is now the new golden standard, and it looks at taking a more comprehensive and holistic view of experiences.
How can you be more holistic and how does it help?
- Think beyond probationary periods – Your employees are more important than the first 30, 60, or 90 days of employment, and yet many companies stop professional development and training after these dates. Normalize career growth, evaluations, employee 360 reports, and feedback loops to keep learning and advancement in the scope of your employees. While doing this, you’re also keeping your strategies and Key Performance Indicators—KPIs—fresh as you go.
- Communication is key – Talk to your employees about what they need, want, desire, and what their ambitions may be. Learn your people like you want them to learn your company. With transparent and open communication, you are engaging with your employees and creating an environment of consistency, openness, and inclusion—aspects employees’ desire.
- Employee-centric Corporate Culture – It may seem like the best idea is to center your company culture around the company’s values, vision, and strategies, but this is only half the battle. Integrating employee experience into the fabric of company culture ensures the company is as focused on their employees’ happiness as their own. It creates a bond to grow engagement, which has an effect on employee satisfaction and experience. As these rates increase, so to can employee retention numbers and customer experiences.
- Life and work-balance Erasure – Should your employees have to ask for more work-life balance? No, they shouldn’t. When built directly into work environments or expectations, it becomes something standard instead of something to be sought after. Examples of this could be:
- Flex hours
- Unlimited PTO
- Work-from-home or hybrid offerings
- Expanded benefits to include mental health and free resources
- Altered work hour schedules
Rise of Human Experience
Human Experience is a viewpoint that blends aspects of customer experience with employee experience, important in a post-COVID world. Instead of viewing them as separate entities entirely, companies can connect metrics and measurements of both to view a more comprehensive experience. Employees are customers—or potential ones—and as such, so too can customers become employees. With this view, it refocuses employee experiences in direct answer to the needs stemming The Great Resignation.
Ways you can use CX strategies within EX:
- Employee Journey Mapping – Like in customer experience, companies can work on mapping journeys for positions within the company overall, building in professional development and growth from the outset. They can then alter these journeys through personalization when an employee fills that role.
- Monitoring metrics – connect goals, milestones, and trajectories with metric directly linked to KPIs. Think employee net promoter score (eNPS), employee experience (EX), employee satisfaction (ESAT), and employee engagement (EE), for example, as they can correlate with operational success as well as customer success with your organization.
- View of employees – view your employees with the importance you view your customers. You cannot survive without either, and just as you court customer loyalty for more profitable relationships, so to can employee relations boost revenue, growth, and expansion.
Remote and Hybrid Work
One of the lasting effects of COVID was the desire to work from home or have the flexibility to. According to Gallup, nearly half of full-time working Americans—45%—are still working remotely. White collar workers have even higher percentage, coming in at 70%. After the shutdown, many leaders were surprised to find employees still wanted to work remotely. The Pandemic exposed an internal need for conducive work environments and flexibility.
The office and all it entailed wasn’t as attractive as some leadership believed.
It was agile leadership who switched to maintaining remote or hybrid options who won out against competitors. Record job openings only further highlight how living is more important, and work can no longer be focused on only paying bills. Organizations who shift better with their employees retain talent better.
Remote work is not the only fix, but it does show how views of work’s place have vastly changed.
Act on Meaningful Feedback
Closing the loop between you and your employees is more important than ever before. Simply hearing them is not enough. Active, empathetic listening pair with actions on a consistent basis is the wining combination. Employees not only want to know they are heard but that their input is valued.
Regularly checking in with your employees, and not only attaching it to their performance, creates a culture of partnership.
Ways to gain meaningful feedback to inspire data-driven action:
- Employee 360 Review [LN1] [SP2] – not to be confused with an employee evaluation, the 360-degree review is a way for all employees to gain feedback from peers, subordinates, and managers to assist employee self-evaluation.
- Pulse checks – a powerful anonymous survey tool. Pulse checks are in between annual reviews and keep the feedback coming for HR initiatives, but it can also inform business strategies that are employee-focused as well.
- Surveys – From satisfaction to engagement, the best thing you can do is ask your employees. Working from assumptions can lead you down costly mistakes. By asking directly you can get their true opinions—think of using anonymity to influence candid responses.
The biggest takeaway from this is: employee experiences is an important part of operational success. The evolution of its importance and what it means cannot be discounted. Doing so can led to higher employee turnover rates and you won’t retain your best talent. As employee experience continues to change, the forward-thinking companies with innovative leadership will make it to the top.
[LN1]Would it be okay to tag our template here?
Yes, we can [SP2]
Khalil ur Rehman is a proud born and raised in Abbottabad. Khalil has worked as a journalist for nearly a decade having contributed to several large publications including the Yahoo News and The Verge. As a journalist for The Hear Up, Khalil covers climate and science news. [email protected]