First-time visitor at diamond park finds 7.46-carat gem. It was the size of a gumdrop

After several hours of digging at an Arkansas diamond park, first-time visitor Julien Navas decided to call it a day.

Navas, of Paris, France, trekked over to the Crater of Diamonds State Park’s Diamond Discovery Center to see if any of his finds on Jan. 11 were of value, Arkansas State Parks officials said in a release.

He was “stunned”— the brown gem he had found on the muddy surface was a 7.46-carat diamond, according to park officials.

“I am so happy,” Navas told park officials. “All I can think about is telling my fiancée what I found.”

Navas was visiting the country to watch the United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan Centaur rocket launch in Cape Canaveral, Florida, park officials said.

He headed to New Orleans with a friend after the launch, officials said. Along the way, however, he learned about Crater of Diamonds State Park.

“The park piqued his interest because he had previously panned for gold and searched for ammonite fossils,” park officials said, and Navas added the park to his travel itinerary.

After getting his ticket, he rented a “basic diamond hunting kit” from the park and “got to work,” park officials said.

“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.”

The surface, according to Assistant Park Superintendent Waymon Cox, is where “many of the park’s largest diamonds are found.”

“As rain falls on the field, it washes away the dirt and uncovers heavy rocks, minerals and diamonds near the surface,” Cox said in the release.

Luckily for Navas, the park got “over an inch of rain” just days before his visit, park officials said.

A man visiting from Paris found the diamond in the mud.
A man visiting from Paris found the diamond in the mud.

Navas’s diamond is “about the size of a candy gumdrop,” according to park officials.

“It is always so exciting to see first time visitors find diamonds, especially large diamonds like this one,” Park Interpreter Sarah Reap said.

Navas named his rock Carine Diamond, after his fiancée, and plans to have “the stone cut into two diamonds — one for his fiancée and one for his daughter,” officials said.

The Carine Diamond, the fifth diamond found at the park this year, is the largest find at the park since 2020 and eighth largest since the park became an official state park 52 years ago, officials said.

Navas has plans to go back to the park with his daughter someday when she is older, park officials said.

“It is a magical place, where the dream of finding a diamond can come true,” Navas said of the park.

Crater of Diamonds State Park is in Murfreesboro, about 100 miles southwest of Little Rock.

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