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World’s largest single crystal of gold discovered

New York, Apr 13 (): A big gold piece, found in Venezuela years ago, has now been recognised as the world’s largest single crystal of gold. Found in a river in Venezuela, the rare heavy lump of gold weighs 217.78 grams. Its worth is estimated to be $1.5 million and its size is like that of a golf ball.

Government experts have now confirmed that this heavy mass of gold is the world’s largest single crystal of gold. Los Alamos National Laboratory researchers used a neutron scanner to efficiently look inside the 217.78-gram piece of gold.

John Rakovan, Miami University geologist, said that the atomic arrangement or structure of gold crystals of this size has never been studied before. It became a unique opportunity for the researchers to do such studying.

In the bid to determine the gold lump’s internal structure, the research team of Rakovan used two highly improved machines: a neutron single-crystal diffraction (SCD) instrument that determines single crystals’ atomic arrangement; and a high-pressure/preferred orientation (or HIPPO) instrument that measures the orientation of crystals and the crystal structure in a polycrystalline material.

After studying the huge gold crystal, the researchers found that the gold piece was in fact a very rare single crystal of gold.

Its owner, who lives in the US, gave a sample piece of gold to Rakovan to measure the crystallinity of the sample. He has four pieces of gold, out of them he gave only one for the examination. All the pieces of gold were found in a river in Venezuela decades ago.

The owner of the crystal wanted to go through the scans to verify its estimated $1.5m worth – while researchers were intense to study the arrangement of the crystal. By proving, the huge gold piece to be a single, it would mean it was made entirely naturally and which increases its value, reports said.