Big Chunks of Gold!
By Alex Lemaire
When you think of a gold nugget, you probably imagine a chunk of the yellow metal that you can hold in the palm of your hand, but you would probably strain to even pick up some of the largest nuggets ever unearthed.
Here are the top five largest nuggets still in existence. There are others that were significantly larger, but they have been melted down.
Pepita Canaa is the largest nugget ever found that hasn’t been melted down. It is now displayed at the Banco Central Museum (Brazilian central bank). It was discovered in 1983 in the Brazilian state of Para. In total, it weighs 60.82 kg (just over 134 pounds) and it contains 52.33 kg of pure gold (1,682 troy ounces). This massive nugget could have been even larger. It broke into different pieces while being unearthed from the Serra Pelada Mine.
The Great Triangle nugget weighs 36.2 kg (nearly 80 pounds) and it contains 32.94 kg (1,059 troy ounces) of gold. As its name suggests, it has a triangular shape. It was discovered in the Miass region in the Russian Urals. This nugget was excavated in 1842. It is a property of the Russian Federation and it is currently on display in the “Diamond Fund” collection in the Kremlin.
Hand of Faith
The hand of Faith was discovered in 1980 by Kevin Hillier using a metal detector. Its weight is 27.66kg (just over 72 pounds). Surprisingly, this massive nugget was buried only 12 inches under the ground. The nugget is on display in the Golden Nugget Casino Hotel in Las Vegas. The casino bought it for over $1 million. Kevin decided to keep his identity secret for a few months before sharing his story with the media. During this period, a famous gem dealer in Australia took care of the nugget.
The 25.5 kg (about 56 pounds) nugget is displayed in the museum of the Perth Mint. It was bought by Normandy Mining (hence the name) five years after its discovery in 1995 in Australia. This country is well known for its huge gold nuggets. The largest one ever is the “Welcome Stranger” nugget. It was discovered in Victoria Australia in 1869 by John Deason. Its gross weight is 78 kg (180 pounds) (around 2,520 troy ounces). Unfortunately, it was shipped to London where it was melted. This is why it is not on our list.
The Crown Jewel was excavated in 1992 in California by the Sonora mining company. This nugget is considered the largest piece of crystalline gold. It originally weighed 22.4 kg (720.18 troy ounces). After removing the quartz with acid, they found out that it is composed of 16.4 kg (527.27 troy ounces) of gold.
In 1994, John Kautz bought the Crown Jewel for an undisclosed price. However, experts estimate that it is worth $3.5 million. It is displayed at the heritage museum in Ironstone Vineyards in California.
Alex Lemaire is passionate about unearthing nuggets, coins, and relics using his metal detector. You can follow him on his journey on his blog at MetalDectorPlanet.com.