Nuggets are naturally occurring pieces of native gold that were broken off of the original gold vein, and then carried by water and erosion to a new location. Nuggets are always very popular with collectors. But nuggets are rare: Less than 1% of the world's gold is still in nugget form, which is why nuggets sell for a much higher price than gold bullion. The value of nuggets is determined by several factors: weight/size, color, brilliancy, rarity, origin, and so on. Purity is not a factor, because it's not possible to assay every nugget, and because doing so would damage the specimen. Most nuggets are between 20k and 22k - which is 83-92% pure.
The rarest and most valuable form of gold is gold crystals. The American Museum of Natural History website says that gold crystals can be worth 7 times as much as gold bullion, and the price for nuggets does not fluctuate the wa the price of gold bullion does! Crystal habits include octahedra, cubes, dodecahedra, wires, herring bone, and dendritic and arborescent crystal clusters. Most crystallized gold sold today is dissolved out of quartz using hydrofluoric acid. Nuggets may still contain crystals which were not beaten too badly by erosion.
If you're a fan of the Gold Rush show on TV, check out how much bigger this nugget is than even the largest ones the miners find on that show.) This is another terrific specimen which we picked up out at the 4-day Tucson Gem and Mineral Society Show.
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