Sunday, December 8, 2013

Miner's Find Has the Makings of a Great Lost Treasure Tale

 Unusual things can happen when you're gold prospecting and mining. I know I've had my share of unusual finds over the years, sometimes in the most unlikely places. Here's a story of one miner's unusual find.

Stan M. is an experienced California placer and hard rock gold miner who does his thing in the Golden State. He's a no-nonsense, stand-up dude with years of experience and knowledge, but a recent find left him scratching his head a bit. Here's what Stan has to say:

"Something Was Hidden Inside"

"J.R., We were hard rock mining last year and I took some large rocks home that looked interesting. They were over 100 pounds each. I used a jackhammer to break them up and then used a metal detector to scan them for any gold they might contain."

"When I broke the second one up, I found an extremely large iron pyrite crystal. The crystal was about eight inches tall, three inches deep, and about five inches wide. It was really a great specimen. I wish now I had taken pictures of it. I took great pains to break it out of the rock and it came out in really good shape. I knew this crystal was very rare for California but I didn't know if it had any worth, so I set it aside and ran my metal detector over the broken pieces of rock with no results."

"Never Experienced This Before"

"When I happened to run the detector over the iron pyrite, it sounded off. I knew that iron pyrite was not detectable with my detectors so something was hidden inside. I was now in a dilemma because I did not know if I should break up this huge crystal just to find a piece of iron ore inside. I took it to a friend of mine and he cut it in half with his slab saw."

"The following photo shows what was hidden inside the crystal."

"I have never experienced this before and I do not know of anyone else has. I knew flour gold could be found inside iron pyrite but I had no idea that nuggets, a little over half a troy ounce, could be found in iron pyrite crystals. This was a first for me. Have you ever heard of this before?"

"I Think They're Still There"

"I couldn't believe it when it came out. You can see the top of the nugget where we cut the crystal open to see what was in it, that's why its in two pieces. Go ahead and post it if you want to. I think everyone should be aware of it...I know I wasn't."

"Another old miner told me he had found an old tub in the crook of a tree that he believed had been set to come back to. It was above (location deleted by J.R.). The old timer, Hank, told us he started looking around and found a ledge of solid pyrite crystals like ours that were up to two feet across. We looked for the ledge and found the tub in the crook of a tree but not the pyrite crystals. Hank said he would show us where they were but he died before he was able to do so. He had no reason to lie about them so I think they're still there...even more so since I found this one."

"I read your posts all the time and enjoy them very much."

I appreciate Stan's kind words and as I mentioned to him via-e-mail, I too have never seen anything like this in my 35 plus years at mining.

Unusual and Intriguing

We all know (or at least you should) that iron sulfides such as pyrite are frequently linked to gold ores and that matrix rock of various sorts can contain both pyrite crystals as well as gold. Yet I have never seen or heard of gold being matrixed INSIDE pyrite crystals! Stan's find is highly unusual and imminently intriguing as well.

Not only is Stan's find mysterious from a prospecting and mining standpoint, but it also has the makings of a great lost treasure tale. If it were me, I'd be out there beating the bushes looking for that ledge of large pyrite crystals that old Hank mentioned. Knowing Stan as I do, he is probably already on the prowl and doesn't need any prompting from me.

Thanks for hitting me up with this one Stan. Best of luck out there!

(c) Stan M. and Jim Rocha (J.R.) 2013

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  1. Hello Jim, what do you think a crystal that big would be worth? Seems like they should be worth quite a bit,gold or no gold. Gary

  2. Nice gold and/or mineral specimens can command very high prices from collectors. But the piece must be unique and considered desirable or one of a kind. Some recent mineral specimens I know of have gone for over a quarter million dollars! Best, J.R.