A French Tourist Found a 7.5-Carat Diamond at an Arkansas State Park

Travelers just got another reason to visit America’s state and national parks.

Earlier this month, Parisian tourist Julien Navas discovered a 7.5-carat chocolate-colored diamond at Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas, as reported by The Washington Post. It’s the eighth-largest diamond found at the park since 1972, and one of the largest ever unearthed in the United States.

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“It was one of the most amazing surprises, after the birth of my daughter,” Navas told the Post in an email.

Crater of Diamonds has been prolific in terms of precious rocks: Some 35,250 diamonds have been discovered since it became a state park in 1972, weighing just over 7,000 carats in total. The largest found since then was a 16.4-carat rock in 1975; before that, it was an impressive 40-carat diamond in 1924.

Navas was familiar with the park’s reputation, and he’s been searching for gems and gold since he was little. But his trip to the U.S. was initially meant as a visit to see the Peregrine lunar lander take off from Cape Canaveral. (The rocket’s trip ultimately failed, with a fuel incident causing the lander to burn up in the sky.)

“In France, there are a lot of articles about the Crater of Diamonds,” Navas said. “I always had the idea [of visiting] in the back of my mind. I often come to the United States, but this time, being engaged, I needed to find a wedding ring with a beautiful diamond for my partner.”

Suffice it to say, Navas found a pretty spectacular topper for that ring. In fact, he may even break up the diamond, using it for both his fiancée’s ring and an eventual piece of jewelry for his daughter, who’s only 3. While his partner is hopefully pleased with the rock, she received a secondary gift as well: Since the diamond was so large, the park asked Navas to name it. Using his soon-to-be-wife as the namesake, he went with “the Carine Diamond.”

Perhaps it’s time to plan a visit to a park.

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