How to Find the Value of Gold Nuggets

By Lanh Ma ; Updated March 16, 2018
Gold nuggets may appear large in advertisements, but most are tiny.

Whether you are looking to sell gold nuggets that you have panned or inherited, or you want to find out how much you should pay for the gold nuggets you are looking at on an Internet auction site, understand that the value of a gold nugget is very subjective. Natural gold nuggets are seldom pure enough to bother refining; in fact, most of their value comes from their natural beauty. Evaluating a piece realistically is an important part of buying or selling gold nuggets.

Understand that as a nugget gets heavier, the price per gram goes up exponentially. Small nuggets that weigh between 1 gram and 2 grams will cost less per gram than nuggets that cost more. As of the end of 2009, the price of raw gold melted down is roughly between $37 and $38 per gram. Getting gold in a natural nugget with good purity, size and color will boost the price between 10 percent and 25 percent, with high quality nuggets commanding a better price.

Consider the aesthetics of the nugget. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and a nugget that looks irregular and awkward to one person could be the perfect stick pin or pendant piece for someone else. In general, though, pieces that are smooth and regular are more expensive than pieces that are more jagged or rough.

Look at inclusions. While iron inclusions are fairly common, quartz inclusions are very rare and can increase the price of a gold nugget a great deal. You can identify a quartz inclusion by looking for veins of quartz crystal, which is clear and mostly translucent, running through the gold itself.

Understand the measurement of weight for gold. Gold itself is measured in weights listed as grains, grams, pennyweight and troy ounces. Too many people mistake the measurement of of grains, listed as GRN, for grams. There are about 15 grains in a gram, so if you are buying gold nuggets, remember that you need to know how heavy the gold nugget really is.

Look for a size comparison. Whether you are buying or selling a gold nugget, consider how the nugget looks next to an object like a penny or a dime. Sizing an object like this can give the potential buyer a good idea of what he is paying for.

Tip

Buying and selling gold nuggets has nothing to do with how well the gold market is doing. Gold nuggets are typically only 70 percent to 90 percent pure, and they are almost never melted down into pure gold. Their worth lies in their natural quality and their aesthetic appeal.

Mounting a gold nugget, whether it is as a pendant or on a stick pin, can improve its worth immensely.