Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Lapland’s gold digger legend bought a snowmobile with a gold nugget – a large nugget is worth more than its weight


When Ami Telila celebrates the biggest nugget of his career, brother Micah decides to come knocking.


A visit to the Sami Museum in Sida is interrupted by an interesting rumour: a gold digger has bought a snowmobile with gold nuggets in the museum’s cafe.

You need to find out about it. Surely this kind of gold-digging romance could no longer exist in Lapland?

Two men sit opposite each other at a window table in a cafe, with a folded napkin between them. The nuggets glitter on it.

It is reliable.

The snowmobile’s buyer is Ami Telila, one of Finland’s most famous gold diggers. The seller is Aki Karvonen, who begins his four-month excavation every summer.

The medium of exchange is a gold nugget weighing two grams. It originated from Karejoki in Lemmenjoki. It is about 50 kms from here to church village Inari.

The gold nugget, which served as a trading instrument, weighed two grams.

The gold nugget, which served as a trading instrument, weighed two grams. Photo: Pete Aarey-Ahtio / IS

Of course, you won’t find any hot ski-doo at Hippo. The target of the trade is already in the south and it will not start.

– Karvonen estimates that you can get 250 or 300 euros for such a piece.

However, this is not necessary. Now we trade on sentiment. The snowmobile is secondhand from Telilä, it will be returned to its original owner in store.

Even a piece costs more than its weight. For Telila, this is not extraordinary – his record piece weighs 167 grams – but shovel digger Karvonen rarely finds the same.

– Not many people will get a Tommo in their lifetime. Isomas is bigger than that. A large portion anyway, says Telilä.

Isomus is slang for gold diggers and means an exceptionally large nugget. From smallest to largest, the classes of nits are Spiritless, Psywere, Pinkkattai, Louse, Bed Bug, Rasakka, and Big Mus.

The Telila family is the royal family of the Isoms. The family has found five of the ten largest pieces ever found in Finland.

– I went to Lemmenjoki in 1972 as a little boy. with your parents. Telila says that gold is a familiar metal.

A book has been written about the family story, Mother’s Gold.


biggest gold nugget in finland

The largest gold nugget ever found in Finland is owned by Antti Aarnio-Vihuri.

The largest gold nugget ever found in Finland is owned by Antti Aarnio-Vihuri. Photo: Seppo Solmela / IS

Kiviniemi, 392 grams (Evert Kiviniemi 1935)

Alexey, 385 grams (Alex Kiviniemi 1910)

Star Tip, 282 g (Lauri Ollila, Risto Telila, Juhani Kangas 2004)

Little Mammoth, 251 grams (Marjut Telila 1998)

Ukoijih, 228 grams (Mika Telila, Pekka Postila 2017)

Father Risto’s thesis on the work of the bottom, 225g (Mika Telila 2018)

Unna, 192 grams (Maija and Risto Vehvilainen, 2008)

Mixed bunch, 186 grams (Jouko and Tauno Sadanen 1950)

Suomi100, 167 grams (Ami Telila 2017)

Ruska, 166 g (Risto Malasca 2004)

Source: Seppo J. Partanen, Kultahippu.fi

Ami Telilä found her record chip in Karreoja in the summer of 2017. He named it Suomi 100 to commemorate the anniversary of independence. The 167 gram nugget is the ninth largest nugget ever found in Finland.

At the time, Telila did not yet know that her brother Micah had found an even larger mullet in Missijoki a while back, no less than a 251-gram mullet.

– When I organized a party, he brought it there, recalls Telila.

– That’s what I thought when I got so big.

Telilä hasn’t sold its huge slice. With it, you can, for example, get a valuable car in exchange for a snowmobile.

– Oh sure, but I have a nice Skoda. Price is what is paid for it. You can’t know it in advance, says Telilä.

In any case, it is clear that the value of large nuggets is much higher than the price per gram of gold. Great collector’s item.

Finland’s top spot at the top of the list is unlikely to change much in the foreseeable future. The new mining law has prohibited mechanized gold mining in Lemmenjoki National Park from July 1, 2020.

For the Telila family, this meant the end of their livelihood. He supported himself by mechanized gold mining.

It was four months of work and eight months of leave. It was only fair, grumbles Telila.

Lemmenjoki is the legendary land of Lapland's gold.

Lemmenjoki is the legendary land of Lapland’s gold. Photo: Pete Aarey-Ahtio / IS

No new mechanized quarrying permit has been issued after 1991. That’s why newcomers like Karvonen only dig for gold with a shovel. This is not economically viable.

– For me, it has been a hobby and a way of life. If there was a summer, I could reasonably return, says Karvonen, who works as a chef, and was in no rush to work in the fall.

However, the men do not believe that Lapland’s gold mining will end completely.

At least now it will seem that its shape has changed. There are more diggers who spend a week or two on the digs during their summer holidays, says Karvonen.

You can become a member of the Association of Gold Diggers for 30 euros, and members have the right to dig in the association’s claims with their own equipment without paying extra. The union has over 4,000 members.

This is the cheapest way to start gold mining. For many, the next step is acquiring their own, Telila says.

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