A French tourist found a massive diamond at the Crater of Diamonds State Park (Credit: Crater of Diamonds State Park)

It is not unusual for visitors to find diamonds at the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas. Park officials at the 37.5-acre (15.2 hectare) park register one to two gem discoveries almost weekly. But most stones weigh about a quarter carat. On January 11, 2024, French tourist Julien Navas defied the odds when he unearthed a massive 7.46-carat diamond.

The Paris resident had come to the US to witness a rocket launch in Cape Canaveral, Florida. But he was intrigued after hearing about the diamond discoveries at the Arkansas park. Having previously panned for gold and searched for ammonite fossils, he decided to try his luck at finding a gem or two.

Navas arrived at the park early on January 11. After renting a basic diamond hunting kit, he made his way to the search area. The park had received over an inch of rain the day before, and the ground was extremely muddy. This was fortuitous. Park officials say the water "washes away the dirt and uncovers heavy rocks, minerals, and diamonds near the surface."

Julien Navas poses with his diamond (Credit: Crater of Diamonds State Park)

After searching for a few hours, Navas found what he believed was a smoky quartz — a commonly found semi-precious stone. He took it to the park's Diamond Discovery Center for evaluation. To his delight, he was told that the deep chocolate brown stone was a 7.46-carat diamond! The gumdrop-sized stone is the eighth-largest diamond found since the park was established in 1972 and the biggest one unearthed since 2020.

"It is always so exciting to see first-time visitors find diamonds, especially large diamonds like this one!" said park official Sarah Reap.

Navas named the precious stone the "Carine Diamond" after his fiancée. He plans to cut it in two, using one half for a wedding ring and giving the other half to his daughter.

"It is a magical place where the dream of finding a diamond can come true," he said.

The Stawn-Wagner Diamond is the most perfect diamond certified by the AGS (Credit: Crater of Diamonds State Park)

Crater of Diamonds State Park is the only place in the world where visitors can look for diamonds in their original volcanic source and take any finds home! The precious stones were first discovered in the area in the early 1900s. After multiple owners and failed commercial mining attempts, the land was sold to the State of Arkansas in 1972.

Over the years, park visitors have unearthed over 35,000 diamonds of varying sizes and quality. The biggest, thus far, is the 16.37-carat Amarillo Starlight Diamond. It was found by a Texas resident in 1975. The Stawn-Wagner Diamond, unearthed in 1990, weighs just 3.03 carats. But it is the most perfect diamond the American Gem Society (AGS) has ever certified in its laboratory.

Resources: arkansasstateparks.com