About 15 years ago an Australian treasure-hunter was using a metal detector to scout for small gold nuggets in one of that countrys old mining areas.
On a whim, he moved his search into the local school yard, where something set his machine off. Digging down, he was thrilled to discover what he thought was a nugget the size of a marble. As he tried to dig it out, however, he found it was at least the size of a mans thumb. As he continued digging, the nugget “grew” larger and larger, until at last the man pulled a 67-pound nugget out of the hole he had made. The treasure-hunter later sold for more than $1 million the famous “Hand of Faith” gold nugget!
Blacksmith John Leavitt hoped to strike it rich. In 1878, he arrived in Lake Valley, New Mexico, and purchased a lease on a small mine shaft in the side of a hill.
Two days later, he broke through into one of the most fabulous silver discoveries the world has ever seen. Nicknamed “The Bridal Chamber,” Leavitts find was a cavern virtually lined with solid silver. Eventually, the chamber yielded 2.5 million ounces of silver, at the time bringing $1.11 an ounce!
A hundred years after it was buried with Manchu emperor Chien Lung in 1799, the fabled “Pearl of Asia” was stolen by grave robbers. The fabulous pearl had been found by Persian divers, and purchased by the emperor Sha Jahan for his wife Mumtaz, for whom he also built the Taj Mahal and the Pear Mosque. About a century later the pearl was listed among the treasure of Chien Lung.
After it was stolen from the emperors tomb, the pearl disappeared from sight for eighteen years before turning up in Hong Kong. There is was used as security for a large loan that later defaulted. The pearl was then sold in Paris to an unidentified buyer for an undisclosed price. Since the 1940s, the location of the “Pearl of Asia” has been unknown; and its value is unassessed in todays dollars.