Come see when and where the largest gold nuggets were unearthed. Learn how much they weighed and how much they are currently worth in gold melt value today.
Only a couple of years ago, the world’s second-largest recorded gold nugget was uncovered in Australia (2018).
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Weighing in, containing approximately 2,300 troy ounces of fine gold bullion weight when melted and refined. This latest near all-time record-sized gold deposit chunk is currently worth about $3.6 million in fiat US dollars (i.e. fiat Federal Reserve notes).
Below we dig into (pun intended) the five largest gold nuggets to ever found in recorded history. As well you can learn fun facts about typical chunk purity levels and even how gold is formed in the Earth’s crust originally.
How physical gold and other physical precious metals get formed and created is scientifically the most violent event we human beings know of. See below how gold nuggets begin their journey into their eventual formations here on Earth.
A gold nugget is simply a naturally occurring piece of native high-density gold found in its natural environment (in the ground, in a riverbed, on the side of a mound, etc).
They are most often recovered by placer mining deep in the ground. Gold nuggets can and often get found in deposits where gold-bearing veins or lodes get weathered by the natural elements (wind, rain, running water). Gold nuggets have also been discovered within previous mining operations which went somehow overlooked (perhaps due to old technology and gold ore finding methodologies).
A gold nugget’s fineness or purity can be roughly assessed by a gold nugget’s color. The darker and more vibrant an orange-yellow coloring a nugget has the higher percentage the gold content yield it has typically. Those found with additional silver content form alloy called electrum. The first gold-silver coins ever struck and used were electrum mixes found in Ancient Lydia around 600 B.C.
Gold nuggets typically have a 22K to a 21K gold purity (from 92% to 88% gold by gross weight purity) yet the finds often found in Australia tend to yield higher 23K gold purities for geological reasons while Alaskan finds are typically found on the lower end of the gold nugget purity scale.
Most chunks found get melted down for their gold content. But the biggest ones do often end up in museums.
5th Largest Gold Nugget - Pepita Canaa
The Pepita Canaã gold nugget was found in the Serra Pelada gold mining region in the nation of Brazil’s state of Pará in 1983. This nugget along with two other slightly smaller gold nuggets according to their excavation reports suggest that this fifth largest gold nugget was originally part of a massive gold nugget weighing a total over 5,000 troy ounces that broke into smaller gold nuggets during the excavation process.
This fifth largest gold nugget ever unearthed has itself a gross weight of 60.82 kgs and contains 52.33 kgs of gold or 1,682 troy ounces of gold.
The nugget along with others which if originally together would be the largest one ever, was purchased by the Banco Central do Brazil in 1984.
This Pepita Canaa find and many other large Serra Pelada nuggets are now on display in the Museu de Valores do Banco Central in Brazil.
A famous Brazilian photographer visited this Serra Pelada gold mine site in the early 1980s.
Below are some images and details of this historic gold mining event.
This violent and dangerous wildcat Amazonian gold mine was alleged to have yielded some 360 tons of gold (how much is a ton of gold worth) in its near six-year official lifespan (1980-1986).
4th Largest Nugget - Welcome Nugget
This massive chunk was found in Ballarat, Victoria, Australia in the year 1858.
While the ‘rights’ owners were away for lunch, a hired hand digging in the dry southeastern Australian soil with a pickaxe struck something. Once the workman dug around and saw what it was, he was reported to have fainted.
Eventually, the owners return, and a cartoonish story continues as the next man to lay eyes on this gold nugget too fainted. Eventually, some men were able to amass this gold nugget without fainting, one with a mass was so great that the men at first thought they had struck a reef of pure gold.
The Royal Mint eventually bought it (after going through a few party’s hands along the way) in November 1859 and proceed to mint this fourth-largest gold nugget into gold coins.
This chunk should have yielded the Royal Mint in Britain some 2,196 troy ounces of .999 fine gold bullion.
3rd Largest Nugget - Welcome Stranger
On February 5, 1869, at Moliagul, Victoria, in southeastern Australia (not far from the major city of Melbourne) gold prospectors John Deason and Richard Oates found this 2,284 troy ounce gold nugget.
Found just over one inch below the soil, near the base of a tree on a slope, this massive gold nugget had a gross weight of over 109 kilograms.
At the time of the discovery, there were no scales nearby capable of weighing this nugget so large, thus it was broken into three pieces for shipment and assay.
Below you can see that popular bullion mints are still making bullion coins based on this major Australian find.
2nd Largest Nugget - RNC Minerals
A couple of years ago in 2018, while mining a shaft in Kambalda East, Australia (located in the western part of the island, just inland from the far western city of Perth), RNC Minerals made a newsworthy gold strike.
This record-breaking gold haul reportedly yielded over 9,000 troy ounces total with gold extraction estimates of over $15 million fiat USD in gold value at the then fluctuating gold price.
The largest of the chunks hauled out from the Beta Hunt mine weighed in with over 2,300 troy ounces of gold contained.
Largest Gold Nugget Ever Found - Holtermann Nugget
In 1872 in New South Wales, Australia a gold nugget or gold specimen of over 630 pounds in weight was pulled from the Star of Hope Mine.
This largest gold chunk ever pulled from the Earth yielded some 3,000 troy ounces of gold.
In the short clip below, you can see the iconic image of this almost immediately crushed largest chunk ever unearthed.
Such an iconic image,
— James Henry Anderson (@jameshenryand) February 11, 2020
We hope Value Walk readers enjoyed this largest gold nugget content.