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Prospector strikes gold with 9-pound nugget

VICTORIA, Australia – Wednesday saw what could be the world’s largest-ever pearl; Thursday, a massive gold nugget weighing in at around 9 pounds. Found in central Victoria’s Golden Triangle in Australia by an explorer who wishes to stay anonymous, per ABC.net.au, the gleaming chunk of precious metal, estimated to be worth up to $190,000, was found 12 inches below the surface using what Gizmodo Australia calls a $7,600 Minelab metal detector known as the “next level of gold detection.”

“I thought it was rubbish at first, maybe an old horseshoe,” says the prospector, who’s been scouting for buried treasure in his spare time for 10 years with a group of friends, per 9News.

But as he dug deeper, the finder of the nugget now being called “Friday’s Joy” realized he hadn’t just stumbled across some junkyard-worthy detritus. The prospector, who had found a 9-ounce gold nugget the previous day, initially wasn’t sure what to do with this substantially larger find—discovered, incidentally, in a location that had already been “worked over,” a Minelab rep tells AustraliaMining.com—so he rinsed it off with water, wrapped it tinfoil, and stuck it in his oven for the night.

For now, the gold piece remains secure in a bank vault until it can be sold at auction, and the prospector, who has promised to split the proceeds with his metal-detecting group, is planning to use his share to buy a van so he can travel around his home continent.

His lucrative new lucky charm is still far from being the world’s biggest: Per the Discovery Channel, that honor goes to the 158-pound “Welcome Stranger” nugget found in Dunolly, Victoria, in 1869.

(Once found in a plane toilet: 32 gold nuggets.)

This article originally appeared on Newser: Prospector Strikes Gold: a $190K Chunk of It

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