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New Research Sheds Light on Mysterious 'Ram’s Horn', World’s Rarest Gold

The Ram's Horn, a form of wire gold, has long fascinated scientists and there are only a few ways to study this dense metal, according to a National Geographic report.

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Updated:May 24, 2019, 5:05 PM IST
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New Research Sheds Light on Mysterious 'Ram’s Horn', World’s Rarest Gold
The Ram's Horn is one ofthe most valuable kinds of gold in the world | Image credit: Twitter
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The mystery surrounding the world’s most rare and precious piece of gold is finally beginning to unravel, thanks to new groundbreaking research.

The Ram's Horn, a form of wire gold, has long fascinated scientists and there are only a few ways to study this dense metal, according to a National Geographic report.

The Ram’s Horn’s rarity meant that no one wanted to conduct tests that would destroy the shimmery structures.

But after scientists from the Los Alamos National Laboratory recently used a half-mile-long particle accelerator to study the Ram’s Horn, researchers have “gotten their first high-tech look at wire gold's crystal structure, which could help them figure out how these curious curlicues form.”

“The results revealed that the bundle, which seems to be dozens of glimmering golden wires, is actually either one massive crystal or only a few crystals growing together,” the report said.

The Ram’s Horn found in 1887 at a Colorado goldmine is over 4.7 inches tall and weighs roughly half a pound. It has naturally split into three curling tendrils and represents the rarest form of gold ever found.

“It’s truly a unique object—there’s nothing even comparable to it,” John Rakovan, a mineralogist at Miami University in Ohio, was quoted as saying.

The Ram's Horn is housed in Harvard University's Mineralogical and Geological Museum, where it arrived in the mid-1900s as part of a mineral collection donated by Harvard alumnus Albert C. Burrage.

At the time of its discovery, the gold horn was valued at $160(over Rs 11,000) by weight—or about $4,500 (over Rs 3 lakh) in today's currency.

Rakovan, who declined to state the Ram Horn’s current value due to “security concerns,” said it’s worth “a very pretty penny.”

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