Gold nuggets are created in nature as a result of the surface weathering processes on high-grade gold bearing quartz veins, or rarely other types of geologic gold deposits.
Frequently the sources of these deposits, known as placers, are unknown, probably totally eroded, or deeply buried. Most gold deposits do not form placers when they erode through time because the gold doesn't occur in large enough particles to survive the mechanical wear and tear of the weathering cycle. Therefore, gold nuggets are relatively rare. In addition, most of the gold nuggets that were found during the times of the American West gold rush days have been melted down and their gold exists today as gold bullion, gold coins, or as jewelry. This is especially true of larger nuggets, in the 1/4 ounce and larger sizes. This is the reason these nuggets are priced at more than their metal values.
Another noteworthy fact about gold nuggets is their fineness, or actual pure gold content. Most of the gold found in the American West is alloyed with silver, and rarely copper. This means that nuggets are frequently composed of mixtures of gold and silver with mostly 75% to 85% gold and 15% to 25% silver. This is usually expressed as 750 to 850 fine. The higher content of silver in gold nuggets, the paler the color. To find the true gold content or fineness of any gold specimen requires a special fire assay determination. More than 20% silver content is technically named Electrum. Some countries such as Australia tend to have higher fineness gold nuggets.
Rarely, gold nuggets will be found in their crystal form, which is Isometric. This will frequently be expressed as cubes, octohedrons, or trigonal shapes. These nuggets surely would not have traveled far from their parent source.
All of the gold nuggets available from NorthernNevadaGold.com have been found using a metal detector.
All gold nuggets shown are mounted in a 1" x 1" Thumbnail "Perky-Box" . All have labels on the bottom of box, and inside box, giving Name, Location, and weights.