On Thursday, January 11, Julien Navas, of Paris, France, visited Arkansas’ Crater of Diamonds State Park for the first time. While there, he found a 7.46-carat diamond on the surface of the park’s 37.5-acre search area.
Navas was visiting the U.S. to see the United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan Centaur Rocket launch in Cape Canaveral, Fla. After the launch, Navas traveled with a friend to see the sights in New Orleans, La. Along the way, he learned about Arkansas’ world-famous Crater of Diamonds State Park. The park piqued his interest because he had previously panned for gold and searched for ammonite fossils. So he knew he had to visit the park while he was in the U.S.
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 choose to name the diamonds they find at Crater of Diamonds State Park. Navas decided to name his find the Carine Diamond, after his fiancée. He said he hopes to have the stone cut into two diamonds, one for his fiancée and one for his daughter.
The Carine Diamond is the fifth diamond registered at Crater of Diamonds State Park in 2024. It is the largest diamond registered at the park since 2020, when Kevin Kinard found the 9.07-carat Kinard Friendship Diamond over Labor Day Weekend. It is the eighth-largest diamond registered since the Crater of Diamonds became an Arkansas State Park in 1972.
As of press time, 11 diamonds have been registered at Crater of Diamonds State Park in 2024. An average of 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.
Crater of Diamonds State Park
Located on Arkansas Highway 301 in Murfreesboro, Arkansas, Crater of Diamonds State Park is one of the only places in the world where the public can search for real diamonds in their original volcanic source. The park is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (except New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve afternoon and Christmas Day).
Arkansas State Parks
Arkansas State Parks is a division of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism. Arkansas state parks and museums cover 55,006 acres of forest, wetlands, fish and wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation facilities, and unique historic and cultural resources. Established in 1923, Arkansas State Parks preserve special places for future generations, provide quality recreation and education opportunities, enhance the state’s economy through tourism and provide leadership in resource conservation. Connect with ASP on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and visit ArkansasStateParks.com and ArkansasStateParks.com/media to learn more.
Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism
The Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism protects and promotes our state’s natural, cultural and historic assets, contributing to a thriving economy and high quality of life. It is made up of three divisions: Arkansas State Parks, Arkansas Heritage and Arkansas Tourism.
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