Miners in Russia’s Irkutsk region found an oddly shaped nugget of gold on Friday the 13th, this month. The discovery scared them quite badly – especially because it happened on what superstition says is the unluckiest day of the year. It was also a full moon night, and to make matters worse, they say that the rock bore an uncanny resemblance to the devil’s ear.
According to the Bodaybo town municipal administration, the gold miners (who work for the metal mining company Ugakhan) didn’t immediately realise that the rock was made of gold. The sifting machine mistook it for a regular rock and discarded it. But one worker had the good sense to take a closer look, and he realized that it was in fact a large gold nugget.
This particular nugget is one of the largest to have been discovered in the region, and the largest in the history of the company, weighing a whopping 6,664 grams! But the miners weren’t too concerned about the size of the nugget; they were more obsessed with its shape. They were quick to notice that it had three sixes in the weight, and that its shape was similar to a pointy ear. So they’ve been calling the rock ‘The Devil’s Ear’, a name that caught on pretty quickly.
It is actually quite common for miners to give pet names to gold nuggets – one of the largest rocks ever found in Russia (62 kg) was called the ‘Big Triangle’, because it was shaped that way. And there’s also this belief among miners that gold nuggets never reside alone. “If there is one, then, there will be a second,” a miner is reported to have said. “It is possible that quite soon the Devil’s Ear will have a brother.”
Sergey Kozlov, the director of Ugakhan, said: “For us, it is a pleasant surprise. The nugget was found in a new mine that according to preliminary estimate doesn’t have that much gold. First we will have to check the dropouts more carefully – to see what else the ‘clever’ equipment threw away!”