Jewelry Trends

What is the Largest Gold Nugget Ever Found?

Rachel Akmakjian


Rachel Akmakjian

Have you ever seen a gold nugget? Many people haven’t seen one in person, at least not outside a museum setting. While gold is relatively commonplace, gold nuggets aren’t.

Most gold nuggets undergo melting treatments to form jewelry and other items. However, some gold nuggets that are just too big, bold, and impressive to turn into jewelry have been discovered throughout the world and throughout history.

Intriguing, right? Here’s everything you need to know about the largest gold nugget found — ever.

Gold on the table

What You Will Learn

What Was the Largest Gold Nugget Found Ever?

The biggest gold nugget found (at least as far as the public knows) is the Welcome Stranger Nugget (not to be confused with the Welcome Nugget, which we’ll get to in a second).

As the largest gold nugget ever, the Welcome Stranger Nugget weighs 2,284 troy ounces (a unit of measurement typically only used in the precious metal industry), which is a little over 156 pounds.

Two men discovered this nugget in Australia in 1869, toward the end of the Victorian gold rush, and, actually, the nugget reportedly weighed a little bit more when it was found, closer to 241 pounds. Why is there a weight variance? Simply, they had to trim it to weigh the nugget properly.

The two men sold the nugget for multiple millions of dollars. The nugget no longer exists due to melting it to make ingots (think of gold bricks for more accessible transportation).

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Other Notable Nuggets: The Largest Gold Nuggets in the World

  • The Welcome Nugget

The Welcome Nugget from 1858 is the second largest gold nugget discovered in Australia just a few years before the Welcome Stranger Nugget in 1869. Weighing at 152 pounds, it was still quite sizable, even if it does take second place. Said to be shaped like a horse’s head, the nugget was so impressive that, upon its discovery, miners reportedly fainted at the sight.

Unfortunately, you won’t get your chance to faint upon seeing this nugget, as it was also melted down following a brief exhibit in London and turned into gold coins. You can, however, see replicas of the nugget at various museums worldwide.

  • The Canaã Nugget

The third largest gold nugget ever found, the Canaã nugget, has survived since its discovery in the 1980s — which technically makes it the largest gold nugget still in existence.

The nugget comes from Brazil, where quite a few large gold nuggets have been found; the Canaã nugget is hardly an outlier and weighs 130 pounds.

  • The Hand of Faith Nugget

While the Hand of Faith isn’t the biggest gold nugget in the world, it is the biggest gold nugget discovered via a metal detector. Weighing in at 60 pounds and found in Victoria in 1980, the Hand of Faith was ready and waiting just a foot beneath the Earth’s surface.

The Hand of Faith still exists, unlike the two biggest gold nuggets above. The Golden Nugget Casino brand appropriately purchased the nugget for more than a million dollars. You can see the nugget on display at the Golden Nugget Casino Hotel in Las Vegas. There are also replicas of the nugget at other Golden Nugget casinos nationwide.

  • The Golden Eagle Nugget

The largest gold nugget to come out of Western Australia, the Golden Eagle, weighs nearly 80 pounds. A miner’s son discovered the nugget in the 1930s.

Unfortunately, this impressive specimen was melted down like so many other gold nuggets. You can still see replicas of the nugget at a few museums.

  • The Great Triangle Nugget

The Great Triangle Nugget gets a special nod as the second-largest surviving gold nugget in the world. The nugget is from Russia in the mid-1800s and weighs just under 80 pounds. The country owns the nugget, and now you can see it on display alongside the country’s crown jewels.

  • The Normandy Nugget

Another nugget far from the world’s largest gold nugget at under 60 pounds, but that’s still impressive because it’s one of the few giant nuggets lucky enough to survive, is the Normandy Nugget, another Australian find. Discovered in the 1990s in Western Australia, the nugget is on display at the Perth Mint’s museum.

  • The Sarah Sands Nugget

The largest gold nugget in the world upon its discovery, the Sarah Sands Nugget now sits at the bottom of the pack at around 70 pounds. This nugget’s namesake is after a ship (not a woman) during the Victorian Gold Rush in 1853.

Notable Nuggets

Gold Nugget FAQs

Have more questions? We’ve got answers!

Is a Gold Nugget Made of Pure Gold?

No, a gold nugget is not 100% pure gold. Uncovering an enormous gold-encrusted rock could contain many other elements and precious metals, like silver. The only thing that makes a gold nugget, not a true nugget, is if the gold isn’t real gold.

How is Gold Extracted From the Ground?

Gold can be extracted from the ground in a few different ways. Sometimes, mining methods include using water or dredging to remove gold from loose deposits or tunneling into deposits to remove gold from hard rock.

Where Does Gold Mining Take Place?

Gold mining occurs worldwide — in China, Australia, South Africa, Brazil, Russia, etc. Many of the same areas of the world that experienced historic gold rushes are still producing gold today (as is the case in Western Australia, where you’ll find mines like the Beta Hunt Mine).

What’s the Biggest Gold Mine in the World?

Currently, the biggest mine in the world is the South Deep Mine in South Africa. This mine has the most immense amount of gold, with an estimated 32 million ounces (about 2 million pounds). This mine also stands out as one of the deepest mines in the world, stretching down nearly 3,000 meters, or about two miles, into the ground.

How Much is a Gold Nugget Worth?

It all depends on how big the gold nugget is! Gold prices fluctuate, but gold is generally considered a safe investment. In 2022, the price of gold was just over $22,000 per pound.

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Protect Your Gold

Don’t let your favorite gold pieces meet a fate similar to that of some of those largest-ever gold nuggets — lost to time and never recovered. With specialized jewelry insurance, you can rest easy knowing your gold jewelry is protected no matter what happens.

Buying jewelry insurance with BriteCo is easy. All you need to do is get your free quote and have your jewelry assessed to guarantee proper coverage. Then, you’re only a few clicks away from coverage you can rely on in various unfortunate circumstances, from mysterious loss to theft to accidental damage. Learn more now!

Also Check:

What is Gold Vermeil Jewelry? | BriteCo Jewelry Insurance
Unveiling the Truth: How to Tell if Gold is Real Using a Lighter
Is Gold Worth More Than Diamonds | BriteCo Jewelry Insurance

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Rachel's expertise is further enhanced by her distinction as a Graduate Gemologist from the prestigious Gemological Institute of America (GIA), equipping her with exceptional knowledge in gem identification and grading. Her education and experiences have given her an in-depth understanding of the demands and expectations facing jewelers and customers in today’s evolving retail marketplace.