All that glitters is not gold — but that glint in the water just might be.
A treasure-hunting hobbyist in Scotland has unearthed a solid-gold nugget worth an estimated £80,000, about $103,400.
The gleaming lump was pulled out of a river in two semicircular pieces, which fit together “like an exact jigsaw” to create a ring shape. Dubbed “The Reunion Nugget,” the adjoining pieces together weighed-in at more than a quarter of a pound (4.2 ounces) — a potentially record-breaking booty.
“This is now the largest nugget in existence in the UK,” Lee Palmer, author of “Gold Occurrences in the UK,” told Picture Exclusive. Palmer was sought out by the anonymous explorer who found the fortune. The owner of the land where The Reunion Nugget was found also remains unidentified.
Added Palmer, “There are no impurities in it, it is just pure gold nugget of about 22 karats. It really is a remarkable find.”
The unnamed finder used a scavenging method called sniping, said Palmer, which involves snorkeling in shallow waters and turning over rocks and dirt in search of buried treasure. The larger half of The Reunion Nugget, which weighs 3.1 ounces, was spotted first — and the other side, weighing 1.1 ounces, was retrieved in the same area about 10 minutes later.
“One mineralogist thought it looked like an entry and exit hole that could’ve been made with a neolithic antler pick, which were used by farmers in the Iron Age,” said Palmer, who hopes the valuable find will be purchased by a museum — that is, if the Crown Estate doesn’t try to stake their claim.
The previous record for the largest gold lump was set in 2016 by The Douglas Nugget, which weighed around 3 ounces and was also discovered in a Scottish waterway.
“Even if you took the largest individual piece, it is still the biggest one in the UK,” said Palmer of The Reunion Nugget. “Add together the second piece and the story behind it, and you’ve got something amazing.”