French visitor finds 7.46-carat diamond at Arkansas park, largest since 2020

Julien Navas, of Paris, France, holds a 7.46-carat diamond he found at Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro on Jan. 11, 2024. (Courtesy/Arkansas State Parks)

A visitor from France has found a 7.46-carat diamond at Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, which is the largest find at the park since 2020 and the eighth largest diamond registered in the park’s history.

Julien Navas, of Paris, was in the U.S. to witness the United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan Centaur Rocket launch in Florida when he learned about the park and decided to visit on Jan. 11.

After renting a basic diamond hunting kit, Navas spent several hours searching the park’s 37.5-acre diamond search area.

“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.”

Navas later took his finds to the park’s center where he learned that he had discovered a brown diamond that had been rounded like a marble. It is about the size of a candy gumdrop.

Waymon Cox, the park’s assistant superintendent, said many large diamonds at the park are found on the surface, thanks to the park’s practice of periodically plowing the search area to loosen soil and promote natural erosion. Cox said that process, combined with rainfall, helps uncover heavier minerals and diamonds.

Navas named the diamond 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 a 7.46-carat diamond found by Julien Navas at Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro on Jan. 11, 2024. (Courtesy/Arkansas State Parks)

It’s the second significant announcement of a find at the park in the past two months. Officials in December announced that a Lepanto man recently discovered that a stone he found there last spring is actually a 4.87-carat diamond, which at the time was the largest since 2020.

Cox said 11 diamonds have so far been registered at the park in 2024. An average of one to two diamonds are found by park visitors each day, he said.