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Elemental, Pure and Rare


© AMNH / Craig Chesek

Newmont Gold Mass: Gold is one of the few minerals that occurs in a nearly pure, or native, state. This rare crystallized gold specimen is part of the American Museum of Natural History's preeminent collection and was found in Grass Valley, Nevada County, California.

Gold is rare; gold crystals, such as this specimen, are even more rare.

Gold crystals are usually worth much more than the value of the gold by weight. This example of crystallized gold is worth at least seven times the value of the gold contained within it.

The specimens of gold crystals in this section are presented, with the exception of some cleaning and preparation, just as they were found. Their beauty is completely natural.

Gold is one of the few minerals that occur in a nearly pure, or native, state.

Only one out of a billion atoms of rock in Earth's crust are gold.

Gold crystals can also appear in more complex arrangements such as wire, leaf or branched forms.


© AMNH / Denis Finnin

"Boot of Cortez" Nugget.

"The Boot of Cortez" Nugget

"The Boot of Cortez" nugget is the largest placer nugget found in the Western hemisphere. Discovered by a prospector with a metal detector in 1989, it weighs 12 kilograms (32.4 troy pounds).

The largest nugget ever found was said to be the Welcome Stranger. Found in Victoria, Australia, in 1869, it weighed 78 kilograms (209 troy pounds). When it was melted down, it produced 71 kilograms (190 troy pounds) of pure gold.

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