While the occurence of gold in one form or another is relatively common in many countries across the world, the fact remains, that the finding of an actual gold nugget, is virtually unheard of in most of these countries. Most reported gold nugget finds have been confined to the following countries, - Australia, Africa, Bolivia, Canada, Hungary, New Guinea, Russia, United States of America, and Wales. It has been claimed that today, the unearthing of a 1 ounce gold nugget is a rarer find than a 5 carat diamond, with the fact being, that genuine gold nuggets are now becoming even rarer and harder to find.
Photograph of Replica Hand of Faith Gold Nugget - 876 Troy ounces (27.2Kg)
Australian Gold Nuggets
During the early Australian goldrushes which began in the mid 1850’s up until about 1910, more than 1200 nuggets weighing over 620 grams 20 troy ounces (643 grams) had been officially documented, (it was then a legal requirement to report all finds over 20 ounces) but this record is by no means complete. Many large nuggets of reportable size were not reported, particularly those found by Chinese miners who had been sent to Australia by wealthy masters to work in the Victorian goldfields. The amount of gold (which was considerable) sent back to their masters in China by these miners was never accurately recorded, and it certainly would have included many, many nuggets in access of 20 ounces. Today although nuggets are still being found, many serious collectors consider that the supply of gold nuggets is diminishing rapidly, and it is now extremely rare to find a nugget weighing 20 ounces or more, even in countries like Australia.
Photo:- Replica of The Welcome Stranger Nugget - weight 2322 Troy ounces
The most famous of all gold nuggets was the Welcome Stranger; the largest single gold nugget ever to be found. It was found in Australia on the Central Victorian Goldfields at Moliagul in 1869. Unfortunately soon after it was found, it was cut into smaller pieces on a local blacksmiths anvil, allowing the bank to weigh it on their scales for purchase, and to smelt it into ingots for shipment back to England. This gold nugget (The Welcome Stranger) was officially weighed in at 2,322 troy ounces (74.6 kilos) at the time of purchase by the bank, and this was even after the finders, Deason and Oats, had chopped small portions off of it before the weighing by the bank, which they gave away to digger mates who were down on their luck. Another well known gold nugget the “Welcome” weighing 2218 troy ounces (71.3 kilos) was found at a depth of 55 metres in 1858 at the Bakery Hill on the Ballarat Goldfields – also in Central Victoria.
Collectable Gold Nuggets
Gold nuggets have a magic all of their own and each gold nugget usually has it's own story to tell. How the nugget was formed, when and where it was found, and who originally discovered it, can all form part of the history of each gold nugget.
Collecting gold nuggets is a rewarding hobby even though it can be a somewhat expensive one, however with attractive gold nuggets becoming harder and harder to obtain, coupled with the ongoing rising price of gold on world markets, the ever increasing value of any collection makes it a well worthwhile investment. An attractive gold nugget is worth considerably more than the actual gold value, with prices double the price of gold and even more being paid for good collectable gold nuggets. Collecting gold nuggets is really like collecting parts of history, and it allows you to feel part of that history should you just take the time to sit down and quietly ponder, while holding a genuine gold nugget in your hand.
Attracive shaped Gold Nugget
Gold Nugget with Embedded Stone
Gold Nugget with Traces of White Quartz
Crystaline Shaped Gold Nugget - Side 1
Crystaline Shaped Gold Nugget - Side 2
Interesting flat Gold Nugget
Picture Gold Nuggets
Wombat Shaped Picture Nugget - Side 1
Wombat Shaped Picture Nugget - Side 2
Poodle shaped Picture Nugget - Side 1
Poodle shaped Picture Nugget - Side 1
The Formation of Gold Nuggets
The Long Held Concepts
It has long been claimed by some that gold nuggets formed in place near where they were found and were precipitated from heated fluids millions of years ago, and that gold nuggets only formed very near to the surface.
Even today it seems that the opinion of experts varies widely as to the true reason why and how gold nuggets are/were formed; some of the more creditable information is listed below. The information currently at hand certainly does seem to indicate that there may well be several methods by which nuggets have been, and still are being formed.
The following quotes 1-6 below are from more recent research, and will give the reader some appreciation of the fact that there is still a lot to be learned before we can arrive at the true picture as to how gold nuggets actually formed.
“Colloidal gold and silica in mesothermal vein systems
R. J. Herrington, and J. J. Wilkinson Natural History Museum, Department of Mineralogy, London United KingdomSee source below for further information;http://geology.geoscienceworld.org/cgi/content/abstract/21/6/539
Imperial College United KingdomSome of the textural features of mesothermal gold-quartz veins may be best explained by the initial precipitation of amorphous silica gel (colloid), which subsequently crystallizes to quartz. This can occur in brittle-ductile shear zones where a significant fluid-pressure drop occurs during stick-slip failure. Such a process rapidly supersaturates the hydrothermal fluid with respect to amorphous silica, which precipitates instead of quartz, owing to favorable kinetics. Depressurization also commonly leads to fluid unmixing and destabilization of soluble gold complexes. However, the presence of colloidal silica can stabilize gold colloid, allowing further transport of particulate gold in suspension in the hydrothermal fluid. Silica gel would be highly unstable under mesothermal conditions and would undergo rapid syneresis and crystallization to form quartz; solid impurities would tend to be expelled toward grain boundaries. This model can account for the primary anhedral aggregate textures typical of mesothermal quartz veins, the concentration of gold along grain boundaries and the formation of discrete gold nuggets, and the rare occurrence of low-order silica polymorphs and relict spheroidal structures. The transport of gold in colloidal form may be one reason for the frequently consistent bulk grade distribution in gold-quartz vein systems over many hundreds of metres (in some cases kilometres) of depth. In addition, the formation of charged colloidal particles may help to explain the attraction of gold grains to specific mineral surfaces.”
Nuggets were once thought of as being shed from gold-containing reefs as these eroded. This view tended to support the idea that nuggets could form at depth. Although it is possible for some nuggets to be released from particularly rich eroding reefs, most nuggets are believed to have formed otherwise. Now, the generally held belief is that nuggets formed very near to the surface as gold precipitated from solutions arising from chemical weathering of deep and diffused gold deposits. Even nuggets found at depth are now thought to have originated from their place of formation near the surface. As such, it must be assumed that almost all nuggets of a noticeable size, resting on the surface, would have already been found and that many just under the surface would have been detected. Nuggets that still remain to be found represent a strictly limited and diminishing resource.”
See source below for further information;
“Highly pure placer gold formation in the Nilambur Valley, Wynad Gold Field, southern India
Placer gold grains in the Nilambur Valley of Wynad Gold Field in southern India are characterized by very high purity levels (985–1000). Their Ag-depleted core compositions, enhanced grain size and microscale growth patterns correlate with gold grains associated with laterite profiles in the weathering fronts. From the morphological and chemical evolution of gold grains associated with primary, supergene and secondary deposits in this region, we identified a two-stage process for the evolution of the highly pure placers, which shows that gold in the primary veins was mobilized, chemically purified, and reconcentrated in the laterite profiles, effecting enhanced purity and grain growth before transfer to the fluvial system. Further refinement was achieved during fluvial transport, generating natural concentrations of pure gold in the placers.”
See source below for further information;
“The first theory broached to account for the presence of these nuggets in drifts was that they had been broken off some rich reef and transported by water bodily to the positions in which they are now found by us. At first sight this appears very plausible, but there are several considerations which, when allowed to have their due weight, rather tend to shake our belief in its competency to explain the case. These considerations have been discussed pretty freely in the works alluded to so I need not detail them here, but will only state that, briefly put, the chief of them are as follows:—The large size of many of these nuggets as compared with any of the masses of gold yet found in our reefs; their position in the drifts, lying sometimes as they do in the upper layers; and their superior fineness of quality as compared with that of any of the reef gold found in their vicinity.
Impressed by these facts Mr. A. C. Selwyn proposed another theory for explaining the origin of these nuggets, and one which certainly appears to meet the question upon the particular points just cited. This theory is “that nuggets may be formed and that particles of gold may increase in size through the deposition of gold from the meteoric waters percolating the drifts, which water, during the time of our extensive basaltic eruptions, must have been of a thermal, and probably of a highly saline character, favourable to their carrying gold in solution.”
See source below for further information;
Quotes from Dr. Reith CSIRO:
“The Midas Bug - the bacterial alchemy of gold
Bacteria play a significant role in the formation of secondary gold grains ‘There may be new opportunities for the bio-processing of gold ores now that we have discovered bacteria that precipitants gold out of solution,’ Dr Reith said”
14th. July 2006
Quotes from CSIRO Research – Dr Rob Hough
“Gold nuggets reveal their inner secrets A study of the characteristics of gold nuggets from around Australia has overturned many years of accepted scientific wisdom on how nuggets form The research reveals the gold nuggets formed deep underground at high temperatures Previously it was assumed that gold nuggets formed in place, where they were found, either precipitated from fluids or grown from microbial action. - CSIRO’s Dr Rob Hough said. But all of the gold nuggets we studied have a crystalline structure and silver content that shows they formed at high temperatures. Since these temperatures do not occur at the surface, the nuggets must have originated deep underground. Their presence near the surface is the result of geological process and weathering over vast periods of time.15th. October 2007
See source below for further information;http://www.csiro.au/news/GoldNuggets.html
See source below for further information; http://www.scienceimage.csiro.au/mediarelease/mr07-203.html
Naturally occurring gold nuggets are never 100% pure gold, and their purity can vary considerably, ranging from less than 50% all the way up to 99%, which is usually determined by the area that they originated from and the method by which they were formed.
Jewellery Gold Nuggets
Gold nuggets suitable for making into items of jewellery are keenly sought after by many of the creators of custom jewellery. Usually this demand is for the somewhat smaller nuggets which, while tending to be more plentiful than the larger nuggets, are still in short supply, due to the need for such nuggets to be well formed, and also possessing a degree of visual character.
Gold Nugget Tie Pin
Tie Bars & Ear Studs - Gold Nugget Jewelry
Gold Nugget pendant
The link below is to replicas of gold nuggets which were significant gold finds in the Central Victorian Goldfields from the 1850's to more recent times.Link to Finders Gallery of Gold Archives - Significant Australian Gold finds:-
The news archive below is from the original Finders Website.Link to Finders News Archives:-
The photographs below are a collection from Finders Archives including the link above.Link to Gold Nugget Photographs:-
Also see - Specimen Gold Nuggets