A man from Paris has likely had a trip to America that he’ll never forget after making a big discovery at a state park in Arkansas — a 7.46-carat diamond.
“I am so happy!” Julien Navas told officials at Crater of Diamonds State Park. “All I can think about is telling my fiance what I found.”
Navas is apparently a science buff. After arriving in the U.S. to see the launch of the United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan Centaur Rocket at Cape Canaveral, Florida, he continued on to New Orleans to visit friends. While there, someone told him about Crater of Diamonds, an Arkansas state park where visitors can search an ancient volcanic field for diamonds and gems and keep anything they find. Navas had panned for gold before and the idea of searching for diamonds in the park intrigued him.
Crater of Diamonds has a well-established reputation among geology enthusiasts as a place where anyone might come away with an amazing find. Last fall, a 7-year-old found a 2.95-carat golden-brown diamond, and several years ago, a woman found a 4-carat yellow diamond. (Many of the park’s diamonds come in yellow and brown hues.)
Navas’ dig resulted in a much larger gem. After weighing it, park officials determined that it was the eighth-largest diamond registered at the park since tracking began in 1972.
He certainly earned it. He arrived at the park at 9 a.m. and kept searching into the afternoon. Park officials said it had rained an inch in the days before his arrival, and his dig in the volcanic diamond field was a muddy one. However, they also said that sometimes a good rain can uncover diamonds and gems, too.
Visitors who find a good-sized gem and register it at the park are given the option to name it, and Navas chose to name his after his fiance. The park reports that his Carine Diamond, which is chocolate brown and “the size of a candy gumdrop,” is the largest recorded at the park since 2020, when a visitor found a 9.07-carat diamond.
Ready to visit Crater of Diamonds seek out your own gems? Stop in the park’s Diamond Discovery Center to rent gear to make your dig a little easier, and pack a lunch and water — you might be out there all day like Navas!