On his first visit to Arkansas’ Crater of Diamonds State Park, a French tourist who had previously panned for gold and searched for fossils, found a 7.46-carat diamond.
A couple of weeks ago, Julien Navas from Paris, France, spent some time in Arkansas’ Crater of Diamonds State park following his visit to see the United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan Centaur Rocket launch at Cape Canaveral in Florida.
A few days prior to his visit, the park had received over an inch of rain, meaning Navas was met with a fair amount of wet mud when he arrived. Nevertheless, he purchased his ticket, rented a basic diamond hunting kit from the park, and headed into the search area.
Speaking to Arkansas State Parks media team, Navas said: “I got to the park around nine o’clock and started to dig. That is back-breaking work so by the afternoon I was mainly looking on top of the ground for anything that stood out.”
According to Assistant Part Superintendent Waymon Cox, many of the park’s largest diamonds are found on the surface. He said: “We periodically plow the search area to loosen the diamond-bearing soil and promote natural erosion. As rain falls on the field, it washes away the dirt and uncovers heavy rocks, minerals and diamonds near the surface.”
Following several hours of searching, Navas took his find to the park’s Diamond Discovery Center, where he was told that he had discovered a brown diamond weighing 7.46 carats. When he learned he had found a diamond, Navas was shocked and told the park’s media team: “I am so happy. All I can think about is telling my fiancée what I found.”
The precious stone found has a deep brown color and is round like a marble. It is around the size of a candy gumdrop.
“It is always so exciting to see first time visitors find diamonds, especially large diamonds like this one,” said Park Interpreter Sarah Reap.
About his visit to Crater of Diamonds State Park, Navas said,”It is a magical place, where the dream of finding a diamond can come true. It was a real great adventure.” The park’s media team reported that Navas wishes to return to the park with his daughter when she is older.
Previous Diamonds Found at State Park in Arkansas
Many guests at the park choose to name the diamonds they find, and Navas refers to his as the “Carine Diamond” after his fiancée. He said he hopes to have the stone cut into two pieces so his fiancée and daughter can each have a piece.
According to the park, the Carine diamond is the fifth diamond registered at the site this year and is the largest one found at the park since 2020, when Kevin Kinard found the 9.07-carat Kinard Friendship Diamond over Labor Day weekend.
In total, over 75,000 diamonds have been unearthed at Crate of Diamonds State Park since the first diamonds were discovered by John Huddleston, a farmer who owned the land long before it became an Arkansas State Park in 1972.