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French tourist makes 7.46-carat discovery at Crater of Diamonds

French tourist Julien Navas discovered a 4.76-carat brown diamond at Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas. Photo courtesy of Arkansas State Parks
French tourist Julien Navas discovered a 4.76-carat brown diamond at Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas. Photo courtesy of Arkansas State Parks

Jan. 23 (UPI) -- A French tourist making his first visit to Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas ended up finding a 7.46-carat diamond.

Arkansas State Parks said Julien Navas of Paris was visiting the country to see the United Launch Alliance's Vulcan Centaur Rocket launch in Cape Canaveral, Fla., and ended up taking a trip to New Orleans with a friend.

While in Louisiana, Navas learned about the Crater of Diamonds and decided to visit the park before leaving the country.

"I got to the park around nine o'clock and started to dig," Navas told state park officials. "That is back-breaking work so by the afternoon I was mainly looking on top of the ground for anything that stood out."

Navas ended up picking up a shiny stone that turned out to be a 7.46-carat brown diamond.

French tourist Julien Navas discovered a 4.76-carat brown diamond at Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas. Photo courtesy of Arkansas State Parks
French tourist Julien Navas discovered a 4.76-carat brown diamond at Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas. Photo courtesy of Arkansas State Parks

"I am so happy! All I can think about is telling my fiancee what I found," he said.

Navas dubbed his discovery the Carine Diamond, after his fiancee.

Assistant Park Superintendent Waymon Cox said Navas' luck was likely helped by recent rains.

"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."