Even when you're excavating for precious jewels, there are some things that you don't expect to find. Miners in Kachin State, Myanmar, were on just such a mission, and found just such a thing: a massive slab of jade, worth more than $172 million.
That sum places the jade on top of the list of the world's most valuable, but even more immediately impressive than that is the piece's massive size. It's reportedly nine feet tall, and 18 feet wide, weighing in at about 175 metric tons. That estimated value certainly reflects its unbelievable size, but it's not quite the biggest piece of jade in the world, coming in second place behind a 260-metric-ton statue at China's Jade Buddha Palace.
Local politician U Tint Soe was not one of the miners who helped dig this record-breaking jade out of the ground, but he was nevertheless on hand for photos and quotes:
"We thought we had won the lottery. But this belongs to the country. It is in honour of our leaders. The jade is as big as two small houses that are 9ft square. I assume that it is a present for the fate for our citizens, the government and our party as it was discovered in the time of our government. It's a very good sign for us."
That $172 million figure, by the way, is based on the stone's raw value per pound. Once it's sent to China, cleaned, polished, shaped, and carved into much smaller jewels, statues, and other pieces, its total market value will be all but completely incalculable, but has been estimated as somewhere in the billions.