Gold nuggets are not like crystals, which form when molten minerals cool or when they precipitate from fluids moving through cracks and fissures in the Earth's crust. Instead, gold nuggets, whose impure composition typically contains 10 to 20 percent silver or copper, are shaped by what are known as hypogene processes, meaning they form deep beneath the Earth's surface at high pressure. Thus, what we see when we admire a gold nugget is a weathered shape, its fractured surface usually smooth and rounded, with pits and even holes showing where softer materials that were once nestled against the precious metal have eroded away.

While most gold nuggets in circulation today are no bigger than your thumb and no wider than a quarter, some notable gold nuggets are on the scale of fair-sized boulders, weighing as much as 150 pounds. Australia seems to be especially fertile ground for some of the world's largest gold nuggets, the biggest of which is known as The Welcome Stranger, which was discovered in 1869 in the southeastern state of Victoria. Measuring almost two feet across at its widest point and weighing more than 158 pounds, the prize was found only an inch or so below the surface, the roots of a tree holding it in place. A nugget named The Welcome, which weighed almost as much and tested out as 99 percent pure, had been found in the same state just 11 years earlier, only it was secreted 180 feet under ground.

Though most gold used in jewelry is melted and then formed into rings, bracelets, pendants, and earrings, sometimes small gold nuggets are left in their natural state, their irregular forms producing unique shapes that even an experienced jeweler would be hard-pressed to imitate. Often these pieces were made and marketed during some of the many gold rushes around the world. In the United States, strikes in California in 1849 and in Alaska in 1898 prompted jewelers to create souvenir pieces, often pairing a gold-miner's pick or shovel with a small nugget. Most expensive were gold nuggets encased in polished quartz, since hard-rock mining was the most expensive way of mining gold. By the time the Alaska gold rush had passed its peak, native Eskimos were routinely carving walrus ivory into good-luck figurines, which were often adorned with a small gold nugget.


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31.1 Grams (1 Troy Oz+) Gold Nuggets Alaskan 1 T Oz Natural Placer #14-20 90%Gorgeous 75.9 Gram (2.44 Troy Oz) California Gold NuggetAustralian Natural Nugget Victorian 235.9 Grams15.552 Grams (1/2 Troy Oz+) Gold Nuggets Alaskan .5 Oz T Natural Placer #14-20(1) One Alaskan Placer Gold Nugget Alaska 9.53 Grams .3063 T Oz.ganes Creek Ak(1) One Alaskan Placer Gold Nugget Alaska 2.216 Grams .0713 T Oz. Ophir District2x Natural Gold Nuggets 5.34 Grams!!! (no Reserve!!) **look**(1) One Alaskan Placer Gold Nugget Alaska 2.744 Grams .0882 T Oz. Ophir District(1) One Alaskan Placer Gold Nugget Alaska 2.375 Grams .0764 T Oz. Ophir Dist.Collectible Encased Alaskan Gold Nugget 14k Yellow Gold Pendant 2.5g20.356 Grams Gold Nuggets Alaskan .6544 Oz T Natural Placer Ganes Creek #87.833 Grams (1/4 Troy Ounce+) Gold Nuggets Alaskan .2518 Oz T Natural Placer #14(9) Nine Gold Nuggets Natural Alaska Placer Specimen 3.845 Grams .1236 Oz TAwesome Interesting Chunky Natural Arizona Gold Specimen .97 GramLarge Awesome Natural Arizona Gold Nugget 6.10 Grams2x Natural Gold Nuggets 4.68 Grams!!! (no Reserve!!) **look**(5) Five Gold Nuggets Natural Placer Alaska Specimen 2.133 Grams Ak .0686 Oz TTen (10) Gold Nuggets Natural Alaska 5.688 Grams Collector .1829 Oz T Ganes Cr.21.9 Gram Solid, Natural Gold Nugget From Alaska6.755 Grams 22k-24k Lot Of Large Hard To Find Gold Nuggets Crystalline & PlacerNatural West Australian Gold Nuggets/fine Gold 10.07 Grams4.5100 Grams Gold Nugget, Crystallized Mineral Specimen / ColoradoBig 'n Thick ! Coarse 1.52 Gram Alaska Placer Gold Nugget W Quartz ~ NuggetsCrazy Angular Wicked Natural Arizona Gold Specimen .43 GramNatural West Australian Gold Nuggets/fine Gold 10.04 GramsNatural West Australian Gold Nuggets/fine Gold 5.05 Grams(2) Two Gold Nuggets Pure Natural Alaskan Placer Ak 3 Grams .0965 Ozt Ganes Cr.(1) One Alaskan Placer Gold Nugget Alaska 2.436 Grams .0783 T Oz. Ophir District(1) One Alaskan Placer Gold Nugget Alaska 2.16 Grams .0694 T Oz. Ophir District24k Pure Gold Nugget Pendant W/ 14k Gold Bale 2.7g No Reserve NrNatural Australian Victorian Gold Nugget Jewellery Investment Total 1.84 Grams 1.91 Grams Natural Yukon Gold Nuggets (1) One Alaskan Placer Gold Nugget Alaska 1.46 Grams .047 T Oz. Ophir DistrictVintage Solid Gold Placer Nugget Pendant 14k Gf Rope Bezel Necklace No Scrap NrCrystalline Gold Nuggets Australia Nice Parcel No Reserve 1 Oz Wholesale!1/4 Ozt Shiny Gold Nugget Assortment ! 7.8 Gram Natural Alaska Placer Nuggets3.91 Gram California Gold Nuggets/flakes1.52 Grams Natural Yukon Gold Nuggets 11.1 Grams Sierra Placer Gold Nuggets-$299nr4 Grams Alaska Gold Dust Nuggets Natural Placer Gold1/8 Ozt Gold Nugget Assortment ! 3.9 Gram Natural Alaska Placer Nuggets Flakes2.11 Grams Natural Yukon Gold Nuggets Natural Australian Victorian Gold Nugget Jewellery Investment Total 1.55 Grams1.25 Gram Natural Klondike Gold Nugget Yukon Gold Nuggets 2.00 Grams +12 (113)(8) Eight Ak Gold Nuggets Natural Alaska Placer 4.362 Grams .1402 Oz TGold Nugget Bullion Flakes Pickers Nuggets Au Au 1/4 Ounce+ 8.03 Grams4.47 Gram Alaskan Gold Nugget SpecimenPlp Gold Nugget Earrings 1.56 Grams From Alaska Gold Fields Jewelry With Box(6) Six Gold Nuggets Natural Placer Alaska Specimen 2.048 Grams Ak .0658 Oz T~3 Chunky Alaska Gold Nuggets ~ Natural Solid 1.62 Gram Placer Nugget SelectionAlaskan (ak) Gold Placer Nuggets Lot Of (2) Nuggets Total * 8.401* Grams...1.01 Gram Natural Klondike Gold Nugget Chunky 1/8 Ozt Gold Nugget Assortment ! 3.9 Gram Natural Alaska Placer Nuggets1.37 Gram Natural Klondike Gold Nugget Yukon Gold Nuggets 4.00 Grams +12 (131)1.24 Gram Natural Klondike Gold Nugget 1.09 Gram Natural Klondike Gold Nugget 2 Thick Alaska Gold Nuggets ~ Natural 1.86 Gram Placer Nugget Set W. Quartz ~1.33 Grams Natural Yukon Gold Nuggets