Gold Nugget Guide
What is a Natural Gold Nugget? It is a piece of gold that broke out of quartz deposits within the earth when erosion took place. It also goes by the name Placer Gold, and each piece is a one of a kind with no two being exactly alike.
Where can the Gold Nuggets be found? Wherever the effects of erosion took place. That would include rivers, streams, ancient dried up river channels, and underground riverbeds.
How pure are the Gold Nuggets? Gold nuggets range from 65 to 95 fine 16-23KT gold, and can have other mineral content such as silver and copper mixed in with it.
What sizes do the Gold Nuggets come in? Gold Nuggets come in all sizes, the smaller one range in sizes from 1 millimeter up to 6 and is often referred to as flakes. Bigger flakes are called nuggets and have been found as large as 2500 ounces although almost all nuggets bigger than 300 ounces were melted.
How are natural Gold Nuggets found? They can be found in rivers and streams using a gold pan or suction dredges that act like an underground vacuum cleaner. Larger operations use large machinery that digs up huge sections of dirt weighing several tons and run it through machines that separate the gold from the dirt. Nuggets are also found using a metal detector.
How is the Gold Nuggets weighed? They are weighed by troy ounces. 12 ounces equals one pound which differs from the weight which is 16 ounces to the pound. The troy ounces are broke up into 20-penny weight to the ounces and use the symbol DWT or by the grams which have 31.1 to the ounces. The larger the nugget the more rare and valuable they are. A one-ounce nugget is now considered as rare as a five-carat diamond. (How many of those do you own?)
Why are some real bright and others dull? Because it was formed underground in a quartz deposit you often find quartz mixed in with it. When they broke off into the rivers and streams they tumbled against the sand and gravel, which gave the nuggets, it's texture but dulled it. They can be cleaned in different solutions, and then tumbled in different media to give it the shine.
What we mean by our authentic Natural Gold Nuggets under 4 grams come from two main sources: One is located near Dawson in the Yukon Territory. The second is Atlin, BC Canada about 50 miles as the crow flies from Skagway, Alaska. Skagway was where the miners of the 1898 Klondike gold rush traveled through to reach the goldfields. This is the reason we describe them as Alaskan Yukon BC Nuggets., Genuine, Natural Gold Nuggets
Not all Gold nuggets are natural, some people man-make them by taking smaller gold flakes melting them, and casting them into the shape of a nugget. Make sure to ask if they are genuine natural gold nuggets as found by the miners and come with a certificate of authenticity.
Karat Definition and Guide
The karat system is used to measure the amount of pure gold found in solid gold jewelry. In the US, numbers are associated with the percentage of pure gold in a piece.
Solid Gold vs. Pure Gold
The phrase "solid gold jewelry" is a misnomer because, most times, this jewelry is not made up of solid gold. This term references jewelry that has a gold alloy throughout the entire piece.
On the other hand, the phrase "pure gold jewelry" is used to describe jewelry that is made up entirely of gold with little to no alloys present.
How a Gold Alloy is Formed
A portion of the gold is mixed with different alloys or metals, which creates a specific formula. Each gold color, like white gold or rose gold, uses a different combination of alloys.
Karat Used in Costume Jewelry
The term karat is also used on gold filled and gold plated jewelry. Even though these pieces are not solid gold, the gold portion of the jewelry has a certain percentage of pure gold designated through karats.
Expert Tip: If your piece of jewelry is marked 14KGF or 10KGF, that is a common indication that the item is gold filled and is not solid gold. However, the marking 14KP or 14KP does not necessarily mean gold plated. It also can stand for 14K gold plumb, which is solid gold.
If your piece of jewelry has a P in the marking, be sure to have the gold tested.
Ranges of Karat Values
- 24 karat (24K) gold is pure gold.
- 18 karat (18K) gold contains 18 parts gold and 6 parts another metal or metals, making it 75% gold.
- 14 karat (14K) gold contains 14 parts gold and 10 parts other metal or metals, making it 58.3% gold.
- 10 karat (10K) gold contains 10 parts gold and 14 parts other metal or metals, making it 41.7% gold. 10k gold is the minimum karat designation that can still be called gold in the US.
These values are primarily used on gold from the United States. You will see a lot of 22k gold and 9k gold in other countries. Gold jewelry from other countries may have an entirely different set of gold markings they use.
Karat vs. Carat
The term carat, spelled with a "c," is often confused with the term karat. They are both pronounced the same, but carat refers to the weight of a gemstone. You could have a 1.5-carat diamond set in an 18 karat gold setting.
Check out our collection of these rare pieces: