What is a Nugget?

Nuggets are lumps of Precious Metals found in the Earth’s crust. The most common nuggets today are Gold nuggets and Silver nuggets. For many years, scientists and miners wondered how the nuggets formed, but after years of speculation, research suggests “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.” (Phys Org) This speaks to the longevity it requires to create the nugget, one of the many reasons the California Gold Rush in the 1800s was such a big deal, drawing people from all parts of the country. The value of Gold nuggets and Silver nuggets is high because of the time it takes to form and how rare they are compared to industrial Gold and Silver.

Two Largest Nuggets Discovered

The two largest nuggets ever discovered are referred to as the “Welcome Stranger” and the “Hand of Faith”. The Welcome Stranger was one of the largest finds for a Gold nugget, discovered in 1869. These are the features of the Welcome Stranger:

  • It weighed in at 3,523.5 troy ounces, approximately 241 pounds.
  • Trimmed weight (weight after rock and sediment are chipped away) was 2,520 troy ounces, approximately 173 pounds.
  • It measured 2 feet by 1.02 feet.
  • The discoverers were paid £19,068. (Bullion Investor Blog)

Though the nugget itself no longer exists in its original form, Gold from the nugget does.

The Hand of Faith holds two distinctions: It was the largest nugget ever found by a metal detector and it is the largest Gold nugget in existence today. These are features of the Hand of Faith:

  • Weighs in at 874.82 troy ounces, approximately 60 pounds.
  • Measures 1.54 feet by 0.66 feet.
  • Sales price was reported to be approximately $1 million. (Bullion Investor Blog)

APMEX carries Gold nugget coins that represent the two largest nuggets in history – both discovered in Australia.

Other Precious Metals Nuggets

Also found in the earth are Silver nuggets and Platinum nuggets. Though Platinum nuggets are rarer than Gold nuggets, they still hold tremendous value. The “largest source of Platinum is South Africa” but Platinum nuggets have also been mined in Russia, California, British Columbia and even Montana. (Rare Gold Nuggets)

Silver nuggets are rare and often found when mining for Gold nuggets. “Silver nuggets are so rare though that it would be a good idea and easier to collect Silver coins.” (Silver Price) Options of high quality Silver coins and Silver bars include:

Helpful Resources

How to Invest in Precious Metals (2:38)

See how Gold, an ancient storehouse of wealth, plays a vital role in modern investment portfolios. Watch Video

The Precious Metals Guide: Insights & Services

Written to acquaint you with Precious Metals investing and all the ways APMEX helps you succeed. Read more

Market Updates

Monitor the performance of Gold and Silver with daily market commentaries. Learn More


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