Throughout much of recorded human history, people have been fascinated by gold and exploration for it. Gold is rarely found as large nuggets, but when it is, those rocks become famous as well as valuable. The very largest stones every discovered have even been named! Imagine that, giving an individual nugget a name?
There are a number of gold nuggets which are claimed. Many of these stones either no longer exist or were always just legend, or at least the alleged size was exaggerated. The best way to determine the largest nuggets is to limit the list to the largest which still exist. Within these logical parameters, here is a list of the five largest gold nuggets still in existence. Naturally, these monsters have all been named, and they come from all over the world. If you have the time and finances to make the trip, these can all be viewed in person.
Ironstone’s “Crown Jewel”
The fifth largest gold nugget which still exists is Ironstone’s “Crown Jewel”. It is a single piece of crystalline leaf gold found in California in 1992 by Sonora Mining Company. This stone actually has two names – it is sometimes referred to as the “Kautz Crystalline Gold Leaf Specimen” in reference to John Kautz, the owner of Ironstone Vineyards. Although the gold was found embedded in quartz rock, through a cleaning process using hydrofluoric acid, most of the quartz was removed and a single mass of gold weighing 16.4 kg., which is 527 troy ounces of gold. As large as this sounds, Ironstone is just a baby compared to the very largest gold stones. The Ironstone “nugget” is now on display at a heritage museum in Ironstone Vineyards in California.
The fourth largest existing gold nugget is called “Normandy Nugget”. This was found in Kalgoorie, Western Australia during 1995. The Normandy Nugget is significantly larger than Ironstone, weighing in at 25.5 kg or 820 troy ounces of gold. The Normandy Nugget was purchased from the finder in 2000 by Normandy Mining, which is now part of Newmont Gold Corporation. It is currently on display in the museum of the Perth Mint. The Normandy Nugget is very far from the only nugget found in Australia, which is the world’s second largest gold producer, according to the US Geological Survey. Western Australia contains the largest concentrations of gold in the country. Today, Kalgoorie, home of the Normandy Nugget, contains Super-pit. This is one of Australia’s largest open-cast gold mines.
Hand of Faith
The third largest gold nugget which currently exists is known as The “Hand of Faith”. It was found in the Victoria area of Australia in 1980. The Hand of Faith weighs 27.66 kg, which is 875 troy ounces of gold. As an additional claim to fame, “Hand of Faith” is the largest gold nugget ever found using a metal detector.
The “Hand of Faith” nugget was purchased by the Golden Nugget Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. It and is currently on display in the casino lobby on East Fremont Street in the old downtown center of Las Vegas. On its website, the Golden Nugget Casino claims that the “Hand of Faith” nugget is the world’s largest surviving gold nugget. However, this is obviously not the only time Las Vegas has been accused of “exaggeration”, shall we say.
The Great Triangle
The world’s second largest surviving gold nugget is the “Great Triangle”. It was found during 1842 in the Miass area of the Russian Urals mountains. Not surprisingly as the name implies, this nugget is triangular in shape. The Great Triangle has a gross weight of 36.2 kg, which includes a fine gold content of 32.94 kg, or 1059 troy ounces of gold. The Great Triangle gold nugget is owned by the Russian State. It is currently on display in the ‘Diamond Fund’ collection in the Kremlin in Moscow. The Diamond Fund is an large exhibition of the Russian state’s crown jewels, precious stones and gold and platinum nuggets. Although the Urals, home to the Great Triangle, was one of Russia’s first gold mining areas, there are now extensive gold mining operations in many areas of the Russian Federation. This has made Russia the world’s third largest gold producer.
The Pepita Canaã
On every list, something has to be in first place. The largest gold nugget that still exists is called Pepita Canaã (Canaan Nugget). It was found in the Brazilian state of Pará in 1983. The Pepita Canaã gold nugget has a gross weight of 60.82 kg and contains 52.33 kg of gold, which is 1682 troy ounces of gold. Shockingly, the Pepita Canaã source nugget from was even larger, but in was had to be a screwup of truly monumental proportions, it broke into several pieces while being removed from the ground. The “Canaan” gold nugget was purchased by the Banco Central do Brazil in 1984, and is now displayed in the central bank’s money museum in Brazil’s federal capital of Brasilia.