New York, April 12:
A heavy piece of gold, found years ago in Venezuela, has now been identified as the world’s largest single crystal of gold.
Worth an estimated $1.5 million (about Rs.9 crore), the rare lump of gold weighs 217.78 grams and is the size of a golf ball.
“The structure or atomic arrangement of gold crystals of this size has never been studied before, and we have a unique opportunity to do so,” Miami University geologist John Rakovan was quoted as saying.
To determine the internal structure of the gold lump, Rakovan’s researchers used two sophisticated machines: a neutron single-crystal diffraction (SCD) instrument, which determines the atomic arrangement of single crystals; and a high-pressure/preferred orientation (or HIPPO) instrument, which measures the crystal structure and the orientation of crystals in a polycrystalline material.
They found that the gold piece was indeed a very rare single crystal of gold.
Its owner, who lives in the US, provided the samples to Rakovan to assess the crystallinity of the specimen, one of four that he has. All of them were found decades ago in a river in Venezuela.
Proving it was a crystal would mean it was created entirely naturally — and increase its value, reports said.