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.