The world's largest gold nuggets and their lucky finders

News Arnulf Hinkel, financial journalist – 18.10.2018

Gold nuggets occur naturally; they are usually small lumps of gold with the highest possible degree of purity formed by erosion. Due to this definition, the 214 kg Holtermann lump – found by German mining entrepreneur Bernhardt Otto Holtermann in Australia in 1872 – quickly lost its reputation as the largest gold nugget ever found. The fine gold content of the gold quartz stone was just under 27 per cent, which reduced the fine gold weight of the lump to "only" 57 kg. For comparison: most gold nuggets discovered in Australia have a purity of some 95 per cent.

The find of the largest gold nugget is only a few weeks old

In early September 2018, Canadian Henry Dole discovered a gold nugget weighing almost 90 kg in Australia. He hadn't even set out to search for gold. As an employee of the Royal Nickel Corporation, he was supposed to discover nickel deposits. After this record find, Dole and several of his colleagues discovered further gold nuggets nearby, amounting to a total weight of 250 kg. Prior to this, the so-called "Welcome Nugget" – with a weight of 72 kg – was regarded the largest gold nugget discovered by individuals. It was found in 1869, also in Australia, by Richard Oates and John Deason.

The smallest gold nuggets have been found in Germany

Even though the large gold nuggets were found almost exclusively in Australia, followed by Brazil, Russia and the US, it does not seem a complete waste of time to search for gold in Germany. At least this is true for a certain area – the largest gold nugget in Germany to date, weighing 10.2 grams, was found in 1576 in the Schwarzatal in Thuringia. However, it is not known who discovered it. The second-largest gold nugget in Germany was found by pensioner Heinz Martin in 2004, also in the Schwarzatal, when he crossed the "Katze" stream on his bicycle. This discovery even triggered a small gold rush in the region.

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