The biggest gold nugget found in Scotland in more than 400 years can now be admired at the Hunterian Museum at the University of Glasgow, the institution said on Tuesday.
The stone found in Perthshire in 2017 has been named “Douglas” as a tribute to the person who located the rare item, but only his first name was revealed. Due to its geological and cultural importance, it was considered important to preserve it.
Scotland’s gold laws indicate that the 85-gram item dates from the late Middle Ages and assigns ownership to the country’s Crown. However, Crown Estate Scotland granted a formal transfer of the nugget to the Hunterian Museum.
Most of the Scottish gold was found as dust or flakes in river sands and gravels, eroded from much older stone.
“Big chunks of gold are really scarce anywhere so this is an 85 gram nugget and even in Alaska and Australia in gold rush places 85 gram nuggets are quite rare so it’s a really rare thing. interesting to find,” says John Faithfull, rock and minerals curator at the Hunterian.
In the 16th century, large amounts of gold dust and nuggets were found on the Scottish borders, especially at Glengaber Burn and Crawford Moor and many of these finds were turned into coins and Scottish royal regalia.
Most of the large “surviving” stones were found in the 19th century, but none are as large as Douglas.
Faithfull said it was interesting to see such a large nugget, as gold tends to be melted down and turned into objects.
“Gold generally does not survive, we have historical rumors of large nuggets that were found in the 16th century in Scotland, possibly up to a kilo, but they were all made into coins for Scottish regalia, Scottish honours, the royal insignia, or coins. to issue on behalf of the State to show how rich the country was,” he said.
“Therefore, none of these nuggets have survived and this is by far the largest confirmed and known surviving Scottish nugget.”
The discoverer received some payment from the Hunterian in agreement with the Crown Estate and with support from the National Fund for Acquisitions.