Are Gold Nuggets Pure Gold?

Gold nuggets captivate many with their lustrous beauty. Ever pondered if they're truly pure gold? The thrill of discovering a gleaming nugget is unparalleled. If you're on the hunt for these golden treasures, explore our collection and select the perfect piece to fit your budget.

Gold Nugget

What are Gold Nuggets and Their Types?

Gold nuggets are beautiful but they are not made up of 100% gold. They are made of metal alloys and contain metals such as silver, copper, iron, palladium, and others. In the US, the gold nuggets are made up of 70-90% pure gold and are well known for their purity.

Likewise, Australian Gold nuggets are estimated to be 96% pure and are known for their purity all around the globe. Here we discuss the major types of Gold Nuggets:

  • Placer gold nuggets - Placer gold nuggets, made up of gold eroded from its host rock are considered as the most common type. It is available in diverse sizes, shapes, rarity, and forms such as pickers, flakes, and nuggets.

  • Gold nugget crystals - The second type of gold nuggets are the crystals of gold, which come in cubes, dendritics, or leaves. These types of gold nuggets are rare to find as they are considered the most expensive and valuable gold nuggets in all types.

  • Quartz gold - A type of gold quartz specimen comprises natural quartz rocks with visible crystalline gold inside the rock. To obtain the natural gold, the host rock is crushed and processed. These specimens are priced according to some characteristics such as desirability, location, beauty, and rarity.

  • Crystalline gold nuggets - A unique form of gold nuggets recovered close to its source and does not have host rock attached is called crystalline gold nugget. It is found in its original and unexposed condition as a part of another rock. Crystalline gold nuggets are rare and require a higher demand and value to make them more costly than other types.

Gold NuggetsWhat Are Gold Nuggets Made Up Of?

If you are thinking that gold nuggets are 100% pure then you are mistaken. They will seem like pure gold to the untrained eyes, but that’s not true. The gold nugget changes its color as it has a different metal content, which is only evident to the experienced person. Here is the breakdown of the gold nugget composition:

  • Silver - Silver is a prevalent metal found in the gold nuggets. The alloy containing more than 20% silver is referred to as “electrum” and has a pale yellow or whitish color. Over the years, scientists have found electrum in the gold nugget composition. Practically, the gold nuggets contain at least some liver. Copper:

  • Copper  - is another most common alloy found in the gold nuggets along with gold. However, copper is in lesser amounts in gold nuggets than silver. It is said that it is found at most 5% of the total weight of the nugget. The copper content gives a reddish tint to the gold nugget, which is only visible to the experts.

  • Palladium - Another metal in gold nuggets is palladium, which makes up 5 to 10% of the nuggets weight. When the palladium is alloyed with pure gold, it is referred to as “prophesize” and depicts a slightly reddish tint.

  • Iron - Iron is another metal found in the gold nuggets as a metal mixture.

  • Mercury - Mercury is also a common metal in the gold nuggets. This metal becomes a part of the gold nuggets when it is captured in its concentrates.

How To Test Gold Nuggets for Purity?

Individuals who are very fond of the gold nuggets are also interested in determining the purity of gold pieces. Some would be satisfied with the gold color, while others would be interested in finding its content and melting.

Unlike the jewelry pieces, the gold content in a gold nugget might vary depending upon the testing of its upper layer or the core. So, the gold nugget price is also not worth the investment.

Observing the color and getting an estimate is the easiest way to test the gold nugget for purity. If it has a bright and more prosperous color, it means it has a higher gold content. A reddish color shows a high content of copper, while the whitish tone gives an idea about the abundance of silver metal.

Gold testing kit - Gold testing with a cheap gold testing kit is widespread. It has a couple of acids that can dissolve the gold into varying purities.

Get a Test Done by Refining Company - If you have a collection of gold nuggets and have yet to learn about their purity, a better approach is to get an assay done by the refining company. The refining company can give you an exact estimate of the contents of gold nuggets.

Are Pure Gold Nuggets Worth More?

The next question is, is our gold more worth it? You might be expecting that pure gold nuggets may be worth more. In some cases, the exact purity of gold is low, and you may find it in the normal range. Most of the gold nugget buyers are found to be more concerned about the tint, weight and shape of the bar.

The largest gold nugget found recently was Welcome Stranger, which weighed 241 lbs and was pulled from the ground. Pure nuggets are likely to be more attractive and have high value. Gold nuggets are usually also valued for their richer color and shinier appearance.

Gold nuggets

Final Verdict

When purchasing gold nuggets, please consider all the factors, such as its content, color and purity measuring tests. There are several things that we can sum up from the above discussion. For instance:

Gold nuggets are never pure and are made of different metal alloys.

To get an idea about the purity of a gold nugget, the gold standard is its color regardless of its content.

It’s hard to find a definitive location to find locations of pure gold. However, Australia is where you are likely to find pure gold nuggets.


  • Are gold nuggets real gold?

    • No. The gold nuggets are made with a mixture of metal alloys, including silver, mercury, iron, palladium and others.

  • Are gold nuggets 100% gold?

    • No. Gold nuggets are not made up of 100% gold.

  • Are gold nuggets worth more than gold?

    • No. Their worth is lower than pure gold as they contain more alloys.

  • What type of gold are nuggets?

    • There are four types of gold nuggets: placer, gold nugget crystals, crystalline, and gold in quartz.

  • Are gold nuggets worth buying?

    • If you want to buy gold nuggets as an investment, you must skip this option and look for other options for investing. For the sake of interest, you can purchase gold nuggets.


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