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Found: A Diamond, Where Gold Was Supposed to Be

Since the 1850s, gold miners have found about 600 diamonds in California.

Jillian Kelly is a California gold miner. (Yes, they still exist, remarkably!) But her most recent discovery was a shiny, valuable rock of a different sort—a 1.5 carat diamond.

Kelly had a dig site in Foresthill, California, where she searches for gold, by excavating and breaking down pieces of ancient riverbed, which are then sluiced for gold. Earlier in August she turned up a raw diamond: There, in her pan, it was “shining back at me,” she told the Sacramento Bee.

It’s rare but not unheard of for diamonds to show up in California. The SacBee reports that hundreds of diamonds have been found by gold miners since the days of the California gold rush. Most of those rocks, though, are small and not suitable to be made into jewelry. In other words, they’re not particularly valuable.

This one is big enough that it may have some worth, although it’s impossible to know until it’s cut. Still, it’s not every day that you find a diamond—even when you’re looking for gold.

“I was like, I just found a diamond! In a 70 million year old section of river,” Kelly told the Bee. “It was like a miracle. It was awesome.”