Valuable Treasures People Found In Nature

There are lots of valuable treasures you can find just lying around in nature. Let's find out about the most valuable treasures you can easily spot in nature!

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From pearls to gold nuggets and even billion-year-old meteorites, nature is full of intriguing items that can instantly make you a fortune. Countless people have devoted their lives to trying to find these sorts of items, while others have simply stumbled upon them by accident. Let’s explore some of the most valuable treasures people found in nature, and see how you could do the same!

Queensland Sapphire

In 2018, a man from Queensland, Australia found a 141-carat sapphire, while walking along, kicking pebbles. Queensland has the largest sapphire fields in the southern hemisphere, including the one the man was wandering through at the time, so his chances were naturally slightly improved.

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Regardless, experts estimate that the little stone could fetch at least $23,000, should its finder choose to sell it. If sapphires pique your interest, they’re typically found along the bedrock of areas that were rivers millions of years ago, which once carried the gems from their volcanic birthplaces.

The Australian sapphire fields contain unusually high concentrations of gems, but Montana, USA is also known for its reserves. Choosing a spot, digging down to the bedrock and outward in tunnels is the way to go if you’re seeking the biggest gems. It isn’t easy; you’ll need some expensive equipment and to stake an official claim, but it could make you a fortune.

For a more casual experience, small sapphires can also be found in riverbeds of sapphire-rich regions by pan-filtering the gravel. Like many gems, a sapphire’s price varies from 20 bucks to thousands of dollars depending on size, shape and color, but it’s certainly worth a try!

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Golden Nuggets

A family from Victoria, Australia literally struck gold in 2019 when their daughter accidentally kicked a nugget while walking on the outskirts of town. Her father’s heart skipped a beat seconds later when he heard, “dad, is this gold?” The unbelievable chance discovery, weighing 21 ounces, could fetch them upwards of $25,000 if they sell it.

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As amazing as that is, it’s nothing compared to the most valuable golden nugget ever found. This was yet another Australian find, in 1869, when John Deason and Richard Oates discovered a massive 240-lb nugget.

The lucky men were paid £9,400 for the nugget, but adjusted for inflation, and considering the higher value of gold nowadays, the nugget would’ve fetched $3.4 million if discovered today.

Golden_Nuggets

But where can you find gold? Well, there are two kinds. Primary gold is found embedded deep within bedrock. Reaching it usually involves hugely expensive locating and mining techniques, so you’re probably better off searching for secondary gold, which is carried along waterways that run through gold-rich rock formations.

This is often deposited as nuggets or particles along riverbeds, particularly along fault lines, and can be panned and collected. Often, the naturally-heavy gold particles gather around protruding rocks in rivers, as well as in sandy banks at river bends alongside the foothills of mountains.

As for locations, South Africa, the US and Australia have the highest concentrations, scattered widely throughout the land. Although, if you’re somehow able to trawl the ocean floor, that’s where most of the gold on Earth is found. High-purity gold flake typically fetches around $50 per gram while whole nuggets fetch considerably more, so keep your eyes peeled.

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Lizzie the Lizard

For centuries, fossils have provided humans with incredible insight into Earth’s history. And for a lucky few, fossils have provided a handsome fortune, too. In 1988, fossil hunter Stan Wood unearthed the fossilized remains of one of the earliest relatives of amphibians and reptiles in a Limestone quarry in West Lothian, Scotland.

Lizzie_the_Lizard

Dating back 338 million years, the fossil became known as ‘Lizzie the Lizard’, and eventually found a new home at the National Museum of Scotland. The sale made Mr. Wood a cool $250,000. While not every fossil will fetch you quite this much, it’s certainly worth keeping your eyes open for anything that looks a little "scaly" the next time you’re in rocky surroundings.

Small, common fossils may fetch from $5-10, while larger, rarer and more complete specimens can range from the hundreds to the millions of dollars. Almost all fossils are found in sedimentary rocks like sandstone, limestone and shale, most commonly in places that were once (or still are) rivers or sea beds. To identify a fossil, look for grained surfaces and lots of small holes, which indicate bone and blood vessels.

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Be careful when removing a fossil, as there may be other parts that were once connected to it in the area nearby. The more of the creature you can find, the more valuable it is! Use geological maps to seek out rocks from the Triassic, Jurassic or Cretaceous periods if dinosaurs are what you seek, then grab a hammer and chisel, and get digging!

Fukang Meteorite

This 1-ton meteorite was discovered in 2000 by a hiker traveling near the mountains of Fukang in China. Since then, it’s been divided up into chunks, some of which can actually be found on eBay!

Fukang_Metorite

Amazingly, the Fukang Meteorite is estimated to be 4.5 billion years old–around the same age as the Earth itself. When cut into chunks, the translucent crystals which give the meteorite its ethereal glow can be seen clearly, thanks to the mineral ‘olivine’, found within the meteorite.

Being composed of equal parts iron and silicates, the Fukang meteorite belongs to an incredibly rare subgroup called ‘pallasites’, making it incredibly valuable. At an estimated value of $2,000,000, the main 900-lb mass of the Fukang meteorite is the most expensive space rock in the world.

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To find your own meteorites, large, barren expanses with minimal amounts of rocks are your best bet. The emptiness of dry lake beds, deserts and icy regions makes it considerably easier to spot a meteorite, and if its impact was big enough, there would be a crater surrounding it.

Meteorites can be extremely profitable, with high-quality samples fetching from $300 to $1,000 per gram, so if you have the patience, why not begin your hunt for that space-dollar?

Planggenstock Treasure

In 1993, mountain explorer Paul von Kanel discovered a collection of fluorite crystals in a small crevasse in the Planggenstock mountains of the Swiss Alps. Convinced there were more crystals to be found, he excavated for another decade with a companion, until they discovered two tons of fluorite crystals beaming back against their torchlight.

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In 2010, The National History Museum of Bern acquired the stash from the lucky pair for an undisclosed price. But considering 5 grams of fluorite can fetch $50, and the price of crystals increases almost exponentially with large, complete specimens, the 2-ton hoard could’ve been worth over $20 million.

If you’d like to uncover a hoard of your own, fluorite is a reasonably common mineral and occurs in all colors in a wide range of environments. The largest deposits are found in South Africa, Mexico and China, often within fault lines in bedrock, as well as abandoned quarries, mines and caves. Be extremely careful if you go seeking them, although if you do, you could stumble across something extremely valuable.

Truffles

In 2007, Rocco the dog led his owner, Luciano Savini, to a 3lb Italian white truffle in Pisa, Italy. It was the largest white truffle found in over 50 years and fetched $330,000 at auction.

Truffles

While this was certainly a rare find, Italian white truffles regularly fetch thousands per pound, so hit the woods, preferably with a trained truffle-seeking pooch! Truffles are most commonly found throughout the forests of western Europe, particularly in Italy and France, but the Pacific Northwest is another hotspot if you’re stateside.

Stick to regions where the soil is moist, 10-14 days after heavy rainfall, during the relevant season for the type of truffles you’re seeking. As truffles attach themselves to tree roots, search for darkened patches of soil around the roots of beech, fir, and oak trees.

White truffles regularly fetch as much as $168 per ounce, while more common black truffles go for around $95 per ounce. While it’s possible to find them alone, a dog will sniff out truffles much faster than you can. Just remember to buy that good boy a nice kennel with your newly-earned fortune.

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Diamonds

When people think of valuable treasures found in nature, diamonds are often the first thing that comes to mind. It’s a fair association, because if you were to find just one of these gems of notable size or color, you’d probably be set for life. The Pink Star, for example, is a 59-carat (or 11.8-gram) vivid pink diamond and is among the most expensive ever sold at auction.

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De Beers Mining Company from South Africa discovered the diamond in 1999, and in 2017, the diamond was sold for over $70 million. But the monarchy of England currently owns what’s thought to be the most valuable diamond in the world: the Koh-I-Noor. While the crown jewels don’t tend to go up for sale, if they did, experts estimate Koh-I-Noor would fetch over $1 billion.

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If you want an ultra-valuable diamond of your own, you could set up a South African mining company and stock up on high-tech X-ray scanning equipment. But if that’s not a realistic option, searching and panning along existing and ancient shorelines is probably your best bet.

The ideal locations are places that are known to be home to kimberlites, the ancient rocks that contain diamonds, forced up from the depths of Earth’s crust. Meteorite craters are pretty good places to check too, as impacts of this kind deliver enough energy and heat to form diamonds.

But because diamonds are so incredibly rare, you’re best off looking in areas where they’ve previously been discovered, like known sites in South Africa, Canada or Australia. Like most gems, diamond values vary depending on quality, all the way from $2,000 to $16,000 per carat once cut.

Ambergris: Whale Vomit Used In Perfume

Most people wouldn’t be too pleased if they came across 180 lbs of animal puke. But when three fishermen pulled up 176lbs of whale vomit in Oman in 2011, they were overjoyed. Turns out, sperm whale vomit, or ambergris, is a highly sought-after substance!

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Sperm whales produce the substance to help digest tough food like squid beaks and it’s usually ejected through the mouth or rear. Ambergris is only produced by sperm whales, and only 1% of sperm whales produce it, making it very difficult (and hence costly) to source.

It’s used in expensive fragrances, as it makes the scents last longer, though ambergris’ rarity limits this to the most luxurious perfumes of all. Even with that considered, it’s pretty jaw-dropping that the 180lb lump those fishermen found sold for $2.5 million!

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Ambergris can appear randomly on most beaches that skirt the Atlantic Ocean, but training a dog to sniff the stuff out can increase your chances of finding it. On the off-chance you find something that resembles the substance, you can test it by poking it with a red-hot safety pin. If the substance melts like wax into a black residue, and gives off a musky aroma, it’s likely ambergris.

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And if there’s a squid beak wedged in it, you’re probably on to a winner. Usually, the paler the ambergris, the higher its value, and high-quality chunks often fetch between $30,000-$44,000 per kilogram. That's certainly not bad for a bit of puke.

Expensive Pearls

Although lots of ‘imitation’ pearls exist today, the most valuable pearls are found inside mollusks in the wild. Natural pearls occur when an irritant, often a parasite, enters the flesh of a mollusk. As a defense, the irritant is slowly encapsulated in layers of calcium carbonate, forming a striking, iridescent pearl.

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People make handsome livings searching for pearls, like YouTuber Qi Liying, who after many a successful pearl hunt happened upon a striking, rare blue pearl. With the right buyer, that single pearl could fetch as much as $30,000. Still, that’s nowhere near the most valuable pearl ever found.

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The legendary Pearl of Puerto was discovered by a man from Palawan in the Philippines, when his boat’s anchor snagged upon a giant clam. After swimming down to displace it, he retrieved the enormous pearl inside the clam and continued with his life as normal.

For a decade, he slept with the 74lb pearl under his bed, and only when he moved house did he decide it might be time to get it valued. When he did, he was dumbfounded: not only had he been sleeping on the largest pearl in the known world, it was also worth over $130 million.

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If you’d like to find the world’s next biggest pearl, get a scuba suit and scour the coral reefs along the South Pacific and Indian Ocean floor for giant clams. For regular-sized (but still valuable) pearls, head to the beach at low tide and look for oysters and similar mollusks under rocks, in rock pools and underwater.

The older and larger the mollusk, the more likely it is to contain pearls. A pearl’s value is determined by its size, color, shape and surface quality, but on average, prices for attractive wild pearls range from $300 to an impressive $1,500.

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However, opening a mollusk and harvesting pearls often kills the creature, so make sure you’re well-informed and not wasteful if you take this up. You could, alternatively, farm pearls using cultured oysters, though cultured pearls fetch less money, and the process takes years.

Like most of the valuable finds covered in the article, finding a great pearl can be a matter of luck. But a good amount of knowledge and preparation can certainly turn the odds in your favor!

I hope you were amazed at these valuable things you can find in nature to get rich. Thanks for reading!

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