Julien Navas from Paris, France visited Arkansas’ Crater of Diamonds State Park for the first time on Thursday, January 11th. While exploring the park’s 37.5-acre search area, he discovered a 7.46-carat diamond on the surface.Navas was on a visit to the United States to witness the launch of the United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan Centaur Rocket in Cape Canaveral, Florida. After the launch, he went to New Orleans, Louisiana with a friend to explore the city. During their journey, they came across Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas, which Navas found intriguing due to his love for panning for gold and searching for ammonite fossils. Therefore, he decided to visit the park while he was in the US.
A few days before Navas’s visit, the park had received over an inch of rain, making it a wet and muddy day. After purchasing his ticket and renting a basic diamond hunting kit from the park, Navas headed into the search area and got to work. “I got to the park around nine o’clock and started to dig,” he said. “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 Park Superintendent Waymon Cox, many of the park’s largest diamonds are found on the surface. “We periodically plow the search area to loosen the diamond-bearing soil and promote natural erosion,” he said. “As rain falls on the field, it washes away the dirt and uncovers heavy rocks, minerals and diamonds near the surface.”
After searching for several hours, Navas carried his finds to the park’s Diamond Discovery Center, where he learned that he had discovered a brown diamond weighing 7.46 carats. When he learned that he had found a diamond, Navas was stunned and said, “I am so happy! All I can think about is telling my fiancée what I found.”
Navas’s diamond has a deep chocolate brown color and is rounded like a marble. It is about 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.
Navas said of his visit to Crater of Diamonds State Park, “It is a magical place, where the dream of finding a diamond can come true! It was a real great adventure.” Navas said he plans to return to the park with his daughter when she is older.
Many visitors who visit Crater of Diamonds State Park often give names to the diamonds that they find there. Navas chose to give his discovery the name “Carine Diamond”, after his fiancée. He plans to have the stone cut into two diamonds, one for his fiancée and the other for his daughter.
The Carine Diamond is the fifth diamond that has been registered at Crater of Diamonds State Park in 2024. It is the largest diamond to have been registered at the park since 2020 when Kevin Kinard found the 9.07-carat Kinard Friendship Diamond over the Labor Day Weekend. It is also the eighth-largest diamond to have been registered at the park since it became an Arkansas State Park in 1972.
As of press time, 11 diamonds have been registered at Crater of Diamonds State Park in 2024. On average, one to two diamonds are found by park visitors each day.In total, over 75,000 diamonds have been unearthed at Crater 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. The largest diamond ever discovered in the United States was unearthed in 1924 during an early mining operation on the land that later became the state park.