The discovery of a large gold nugget always sends excitement through mining and prospecting groups around the world. It is a dream of many to make a big find, and it gives people hope that there are still big finds out there, and that such gold nuggets still exist.
Gold nuggets are usually 83-92% purity, which make them highly sought after. While some of the largest nuggets ever found have been melted down, many are still in existence, being preserved and on display for people to enjoy.
The Biggest Gold Nugget Ever Found
The Welcome Stranger, found near Moliagul, on the Victoria Goldfields in Australia, is considered to be the largest gold nugget on record. It was discovered in 1869, just 3 cm below the surface, at the base of a tree. Weighing 2,2284 troy ounces (71 kg; 156.6 lb), it was immediately broken into pieces, as it was too large to be weighed in one piece. The Welcome Stranger was shipped to London, where it was melted down.
The Largest Gold Nuggets Still in Existence
Throughout history it is likely there have been larger gold nuggets found. These are the nuggets that are still in existence and on display around the world.
#1 Pepita Canaa
Weight: 1,682 troy ounces; 60.82 kg
Founder: Julio de Deus Filho
On Display: Central Bank Headquarters, Brasil
The Pepita Canaa is the world’s largest gold nugget in existence. It was found by miner, Julio de Deus Filho, in the Serra Pelada gold mining area in 1983. Weighing 60.82 kg, it contains 52.33 kg of gold (1,682 troy ounces). It has been suggested that it was larger when it was first discovered but was broken into several pieces as it was unearthed. It is currently on display in the money museum at the Banco Central Museum in Brazil.
#2 The Great Triangle
Weight: 1,059 troy ounces; 36.2 kg
Founder: Nikofor Syutkin
On Display: The Kremlin, Russia
The Great Triangle is the second largest gold nugget in existence. It was found in the Miass area of the Russian Urals Mountains in 1842. Weighing 36.2 kg it has a gold content of 32.94 kg (1,059 troy ounces). The nugget was dug up from a depth of approximately 3.5 metres and was named The Great Triangle due to its unusual shape. It is currently on display in the ‘Diamon fund’ collection at the Kremlin in Moscow, along with the states’s crown jewels and other precious stones.
#3 Hand of Faith
Weight: 875 troy ounces; 27.66 kg
Location: Kingower, Australia
Founder: Kevin Hillier
On Display: Golden Nugget Casino, Las Vegas
The Hand of Faith is the 3rd largest gold nugget in existence and the largest gold nugget to be found with a metal detector. It was discovered in Kingower, an area on the Victoria Goldfields, that was popular during the1850s Gold Rush. The nugget was found in 1980, by Kevin Hillier. Weighing 27.66 kg (875 troy ounces), it was found just 6 inches beneath the ground, and named the Hand of Faith due to its shape and the circumstances leading to its discovery. It was purchased by the Golden Nugget Casino and is currently on display in Las Vegas.
#4 Normandy Nugget
Weight: 25.5 kg (819 troy ounces)
Location: Kalgoorlie, Australia
On Display: Perth Mint, Australia
The Normandy Nugget is the 4th largest gold nugget in existence. It was found in a dry creek bed in the mining area of Kalgoorlie, Western Australia. Weighing 25.5 kg (819 troy ounces), the Normandy Nugget has a purity of between 80-90%. It was purchased from the anonymous founder by Normandy Mining, and is on long-term loan to the Perth Mint.
#5 Ironstone ‘Crown Jewel’
Weight: 16.4 kg (44 troy ounces)
Location: California, USA
Founder: Sonora Mining Corporation
On Display: Ironstone Vineyards, California
The Ironstone ‘Crown Jewel’ is the 5th largest gold nugget in existence. It was found embedded in quartz rock by the Sonora Mining Company in 1992. Weighing 16.4 kg (44 troy ounces), the nugget is crystalline leaf gold with 98% purity. It is on display at the Heritage Museum in Ironstone Vineyards, California.
At the time of writing, the nuggets listed above were the 5 largest gold nuggets still in existence. Perhaps, in the near future, someone will make another big and lucky find.