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Posted by Rock Currier  
Rock Currier July 19, 2009 08:24AM
Click here to view Best Minerals G and here for Best Minerals A to Z and here for Fast Navigation of completed Best Minerals articles.

Can you help make this a better article? What good localities have we missed? Can you supply pictures of better specimens than those we show here? Can you give us more and better information about the specimens from these localities? Can you supply better geological or historical information on these localities? After each set of pictures there should be some descriptive text. If none appears it means that we need someone to tell us about the specimens from that locality and something about the geology of the occurrence.

GoldAu isometric

Ground Hog Mine, Battle Mountain, Gilman District, Eagle Co., Colorado, USA ~12cm wide

Of all the native metals found on earth, Gold is probably been the most universally sought after, valued and cherished. It has been used as a store of value in bars and coins and jewelry since the dawn of civilization. It occurs sparingly in most places and where it does occur in modest abundance, men have moved heaven and earth to go to those places and their pursuit of it has changed the course of history. Some think that it was the gold from Africa, brought to Europe from Mali and Bekino Faso in Africa by Arab traders that remonetized the economy of Europe and made the Renaissance possible. It drew the conquistadors to the New World and again changed the course of history. Gold is commonly found in tiny flakes in some alluvial gravels. A few gravels produce larger flakes than others, and sometimes it is found in nuggets of considerable size, some many pounds each. Alluvial gold found in gravel or in rocks that were at one time alluvial before their consolidation probably counts for about 75% of all gold produced. Mindat lists more than 18 (2009) thousand localities for gold and probably the majority of them are for alluvial flakes and nuggets and there are probably at least as many more that are not listed or yet undiscovered. Mineral collectors are usually not all that interested in alluvial gold unless the nuggets are of an interesting or attractive shape. But even the most jaded collector will find themselves appreciative when they heft a nugget weighing several pounds in their hand. Gold nuggets never sell for much of a premium over their gold value, and a dealers will consider themselves lucky if they can buy nuggets for spot value and sell them at a 50% mark up. Very attractive nuggets may bring twice their gold value. Small nuggets of a size suitable for their use in Jewelry will often sell for double their gold value. Natural gold, flakes and nuggets always contain other metals mixed in. This is most times silver and copper, and the purity of the alluvial gold will range in purity from about 60% upward in rare cases to about 95% and even more. The further the gold has traveled from its source the higher the gold content becomes. The silver, copper and other admixed elements are mostly removed by chemical processes that take place in the ground as the gold moves away from its source.

The kind of gold that collectors love in cherish is "specimen gold" and by that I mean leaves and wires of gold and especially specimens showing well formed gold crystals. This kind of gold will bring up to ten times the price of gold per ounce and in some cases much more. But well formed gold crystals are not easy to come by. Most of this kind of gold is not found in alluvial deposits, because gold is very soft, and the act of rolling around in alluvial deposits with other rocks quickly batters and rounds the specimens into nuggets and flakes. So gold crystals must grow in "pockets" in the rocks in which they are formed, so in most cases, good gold specimens (wires, leaves and crystals) must be taken from the "living rock" or very close to where it has weathered out of those rocks.

Gold is chemically very inert and survives in the earth much longer than most other native elements like copper, silver and iron. To dissolve gold chemically you need a chemical reagent called aqua regia which is a nasty mixture of concentrated nitric and hydrochloric acids. A great many gold specimens are associated with quartz and when mined it is frequently found growing through and completely, intimately surrounding the the gold. The amount of gold in such rocks can be so low that you can't even see the gold or so rich that the majority of the gold/quartz rock is comprised of gold. Miners often call this rich ore "picture rock". Many times the value of these rich specimens can be further improved by removing some or all of the Quartz so that the gold becomes more prominent. About the only way to achieve this and not deform the gold further, is to etch the quartz away with hydrofluric acid. This is a dangerous toxic acid, and you don't want to use it without some training and safety equipment. After this treatment, the surface of the quartz looks rather white and sugary and not at all like the original texture of the original natural quartz. This effect can be mitigated by removing as much as possible this sugary coating by mechanical means like an air scribe (tiny hand held jack hammer) and exposing the unetched quartz below.

When gold is found, the people who find it are as secretive as possible about where they find it. When asked where the gold came, almost always the finder of the gold will give a false locality and not a correct one. So often finding the true locality of a gold specimen is difficult and many times impossible. Finding a good locality for unlabeled gold specimens is like trying to locate a moonshiners still. When a well known gold mine produces a lot of rich gold specimens, it is a real head ache for the management. This is because many miners will try and steal these rich specimens for personal gain. Sometimes they may sell them, but if they do, they will never be sold with the correct locality. Gold mining companies would much rather run a gold mine with large but low grade ore reserves where eye visible gold is rarely seen. Books have been written about the eternal cat and mouse games between ingenious highgrading miners miners and and the mining companies doing what ever they can to prevent theft. Other books have been written about unethical mine promoters who "salt" worthless gold mines to make them look like valuable properties to foolish investors. One of the classical ways of doing this is to load shotgun shells with flakes of gold and blast them into the walls of mine workings.

When buying gold, the buyer must consider the potential for fraud. Large gold nuggets can be easily faked and or adulterated and what is offered for sale may be mostly lead or heavily diluted with silver and copper. Making nuggets just takes a melting pot and a tumbler with rocks in it to make the nuggets look real. On several occasions wonderful gold crystals have been offered for sale but when ex-rayed it was found that they were not crystals of gold, but had been cast after pyrite crystals or hand made models. The casting of gold into almost any shape is a simple technology that has been know for hundreds of years. Also of some concern are Gold crystals that have been grown electrolytically in tanks. I have seen several fabulous looking specimens of big blocky gold crystals that were grown electrolytically. I suspect that such gold crystals would be of a suspiciously very high purity if tested. When I buy gold specimens I like to see the specimens associated with other minerals or at least from a well known mine that is known to be producing specimens of a known character.

The gold localities talked about here and the specimens used to illustrate them are really only the tip of an iceberg. Probably no other mineral is hoarded and secreted as much as gold. Those who have it really don't want others to know that they have it because it invites envy and burglary. For every specimen shown here there are in many instances hundreds of better ones in hiding. As dazzling as you might think these specimens are, you would be blinded by the others if they all came out of hiding. Gold is universally bought and sold in troy ounces. One troy oz.= ~31.103 grams. When possible and known I have listed the weight of the the large gold specimens in troy ounces in the captions below their images.

GoldAfghanistanGhazni (Gazni) Province, Zarkashan gold deposit

Gold with Malachite 2.9cm wide

GoldAustraliaNew South Wales

Gold ~5cm tall

GoldAustraliaNew South Wales, Tongowoko Co., Tibooburra

Gold, 5cm wide

GoldAustraliaNew South Wales, Wellington Co., Ophir

Gold nuggets, largest is 2.4cm tall


Gold ~14cm wide 35oz

GoldAustraliaQueensland, Gympie Region, Eldorado Mine

Gold in & on Quartz, 2.3cm wide

GoldAustraliaSouth Australia, Mt. Lofty Ranges, South Mt Lofty Ranges, Montacute, Victoria Gold Mine

Gold on Quartz, 4.8cm wide

GoldAustraliaTasmania, Corinna-Savage River district, Long Plains goldfield

Gold, 1.5cm wide

GoldAustraliaVictoria, Ballarat

Gold, FOV 10cm
Gold in Quartz ~7cm wide

GoldAustraliaVictoria, Bendigo

Gold in Quartz ~5.2cm across
Gold, 2.8cm wide

Gold, 9cm wide
Gold 7.5cm wide, 2.5oz

GoldAustraliaVictoria, Moliagul, Black Lead

Model of Welcome Home Stranger nugget. ~60cm wide, 2520oz (71kg).~90%pure gold

The Welcome Home Stranger nugget, found in 1869 by a Cornish miner, John Deason near the base of a stringybark tree. It is thought to be the largest mass of alluvial gold ever found.

GoldAustraliaVictoria, Mt. Ivor

Gold, 11 cm tall ~23oz.

GoldAustraliaVictoria, Wedderburn

Gold 11cm, ~27oz, 90% pure

GoldAustraliaWestern Australia, Cue, Gold Crown Gold Mine

Gold on Quartz, 1cm tall

GoldAustraliaWestern Australia, Cue, Meekatharra

Gold on Quartz, 2.1cm tall

GoldAustraliaWestern Australia, Goldfields-Esperance region, Leonora Shire, Yandal greenstone belt, Bronzewing goldfield, Bronzewing Mine

4.1cm tall

GoldAustraliaWestern Australia, Kalgoorlie-Boulder City, Kalgoorlie, Salt Lake City

Gold in Quartz, 5cm tall

GoldAustraliaWestern Australia, Kalgoorlie, Golden Mile Mines

Gold & Quartz, 3.6cm tall
3.5cm tall

Gold & Quartz, 3.4 cm wide

GoldAustraliaWestern Australia, Kalgoorlie, Golden Mile Mines, Fimiston Open Pit Mine (Super Pit)

Gold, 9.7cm wide, ~26oz.

GoldAustraliaWestern Australia, Laverton Shire, Leonora

Gold, 15.2cm wide, ~16.4oz

GoldAustriaSalzburg, Hohe Tauern Mts, Rauris valley, Hüttwinkl valley, Alteck Mt. - Hoher Sonnblick Mt. area, Kolm-Saigurn, Rauriser Goldberg

Gold v. electrum & Albite, FOV 8mm

GoldBoliviaLa Paz Department, Larecaja Province, Tipuani, Tipuani alluvials

Gold, 1.7cm wide

GoldBoliviaLa Paz Department, Murillo Province, La Paz City, Chuquiaguillo River

Gold, 4cm tall, 81 grams

GoldBrazilCentral-West Region, Mato Grosso, Alta Floresta

Gold crystal, 2.6cm tall

GoldBrazilNorth Region, Pará, Carajás mineral province, Curionópolis, Serra Pelada Mine

Gold, 4.3cm tall

GoldBrazilNortheast Region, Bahia

Gold, 3.1cm wide

GoldBrazilSoutheast Region, Minas Gerais, Nova Lima, Morro Velho mine

Gold, 1.4cm wide

This is a gold mine that has been in operation for more than hundred years and its underground workings extend down 3000 meters. It has produced many tons of gold. It has produces some spectacular gold specimens, but the little example above is one one of them. The mine is better known to collectors for the beautiful specimens of pink Apatite, Siderite, Quartz and red Scheelite crystals that is sometimes produces.

GoldCanadaBritish Colombia

Gold crystals ~4cm tall

GoldCanadaBritish Colombia, Atlin Mining Division, Tagish Lake, Engineer Mine

Gold v. electrum, 2.5cm wide

GoldCanadaBritish Columbia, Cariboo Mining Division, Barkerville area, Williams Creek (Wyoming Hydraulic Mine; Stouts Gulch; Emery Gulch)

Gold ~4cm tall, 35gms

Newfoundland and Labrador, Newfoundland, Baie Verte Peninsula, Betts Cove, Nugget Pond Mine

Gold, 2.2cm tall

Gold & Microcline, 1.7cm tall
Gold, 1.7cm tall

Richmont Mines of Montreal owned this property with a wonderful mill that had locks and security guards. However, right beside the mill was the wide open mine with not even a door. They found one guy with a meter sized gold boulder having a hard time taking it out of the mine in a wheel barrow!!! It is a real tragedy that the shareholders of Richmont never knew what they had and never knew the value that the management destroyed. This was a spectacular crystallised gold deposit in very distinctive matrix with pink feldspars. You could recognize this matrix from across the room. The gold ranged from spongey, to leafy, to well crystallized. Sadly very little has survived. Around the turn of the century there was a court case where 15 stood accused of theft. Only a few of the miners were convicted. Several hundred thousand dollars worth of prerpared specimens were siezed and went to the crusher. A few large good specimens escaped to Europe. The Canadian federal police (RCMP) showed up in Tucson shortly after the trial and accosted and questioned Canadians about these golds. A couple of years ago I was looking for a good Nugget Pond specimen and the reply to my enquiries was, "The last time I was asked about this, it was the Royal Canadian Mounted Police!"

GoldCanadaNova Scotia

Gold in Quartz ~5cm tall
Gold in Quartz, 3.5cm tall

GoldCanadaOntario, Algoma District, Missinabi, Renabie Mine

Gold, 1.1cm tall

GoldCanadaOntario, Cochrane District, Porcupine area, McIntyre Mine (Pamour Mine)

Gold in Quartz, 6 cm wide

During the 1980's Pamour Mines had a specimen preparation team who picked the quartz away from the gold, estimated the bullion value, and sold the specimens in lots at twice bullion. Hundreds of specimens were prepared but at $200 per ounce for bullion many were sent to the crusher and after a year or two the operation, but not the mine, ceased production. The gold was emplaced in quartz veins in greenstone. Most of this Northwern Ontario Gold deposited as crystralized gold similar to the California motherload material. However, over a billion years of tectonic activity largely obliterated the crystals. Rarely one can find small surviving octahedrons and twinned crystals.

GoldCanadaOntario, Cochrane District, Timmins, Timmons Gold Mine

Gold crystals, 2.4cm wide

GoldCanadaOntario, Kenora District, Red Lake Gold District, Balmertown, Red Lake Mine (Goldcorp Mine; Arthur White Mine)

Gold, 3.1cm wide
Gold, 14cm center

GoldCanadaOntario, Kenora District, Red Lake Gold District, McKenzie Island, McKenzie Mine (McKenzie Red Lake Mine)

Gold in Quartz, 5cm wide
Gold, 5cm tall

Gold in matrix, 7.1cm wide

GoldCanadaQuébec, Abitibi-Témiscamingue, La Vallée-de-l'Or, Val d'Or, Sigma mine (Sigma No. 1 mine)

Gold in Quartz/Tourmaline, 4.5cm wide

GoldCanadaYukon Territory, Dawson Mining District

Gold, 1.9cm tall
Rough Gold crystal, 1cm tall

GoldChileAntofagasta Region, Tocopilla Province, Sierra Gorda District, Caracoles, La Compañia Mine

A 1mm flake of Gold with Boleite

GoldChileCoquimbo Region, Elqui Province, Andacollo, Andacollo Mine

Copper and Gold, 2.7cm tall
Close up of picture to the left.

The gold on this copper specimen is in the form of tiny crystals growing on the copper crystals which you can see is you look carefully.

GoldChinaChinaSichuan Province

Gold, 2.7cm wide
Gold, 3.9cm wide

GoldCzech RepublicBohemia (Böhmen; Boehmen), Central Bohemia Region, Vlašim (Wlaschim), Roudný

Gold on Quartz ~11cm wide, <1850>

GoldDemocratic Republic of CongoKatanga (Shaba), Katanga Copper Crescent, Central area, Shinkolobwe, Shinkolobwe Mine (Kasolo Mine)

Gold in Uraninite, 4cm wide

The Shinkolobwe mine is a primarily a uranium mine that also produced a lot of copper. The ore from this mine produced the uranium for one of the first atomic bombs that was made in the USA during the second world war. It is much better know for the many wonderful specimens of rich uranium secondary minerals that are cherished by many collectors, but it is one of the few places where native gold and Uraninite has been found and though the Gold specimens from there are not very good, the combination is rare and cherished by collectors.

GoldDemocratic Republic of CongoKatanga (Shaba), Katanga Copper Crescent, Kolwezi, Western area, Mashamba West Mine

Gold & Malachite, 6.5cm wide

The Mashamba West mine is basicly a big open pit copper mine that has produced thousands of tons of malachite which is its primary copper ore. A few scruffy good specimens have been found from time to time and you can be sure that the best of them is better than is shown here. It is currently a big partially water filled open pit and inactive save for some local villagers who go there to hand ming cutting grade malachite from its benches.

GoldDemocratic Republic of CongoKatanga (Shaba), Katanga Copper Crescent, Western area, Kolwezi, Musonoi Mine

Gold, 1cm wide

The Musonoi Mine has been included in the newer KOV pit and is a big open pit mining operation that has fallen on hard times and when it works at all has a small crew of men that work it mostly for malachite ore when they can get the equipment up and running. The mine occasionally produces a few small gold specimens, but the mine is much better known for the wonderful Torbernite and other uranium minerals that it produced in the past.

GoldDominican RepublicEl Seibo Province (El Seybo Province)

Gold 1.7cm, 3.2oz

GoldEthiopiaWallaga (Welega; Wollega; Ouallega) Province

Gold nugget, 14.5oz

GoldFiji IslandsViti Levu, Tavua Gold Field, Vatukoula, Emperor Mine

Gold & Quartz~13cm wide
Gold, close up of specimen on the left.

Micro crystal of Gold

The Emperor mine is better know for its specimens of gold teluride minerals like Sylvanite and Krennerite than for its gold specimens. All the gold specimens that I have seen from the mine have been quite modest, but there must have be much better specimens from here than we show here. The mine is quite large and its geology similar to that of Cripple Creek, Colorado. They are mining mineralized structures containing a lot of quartz that radiate out from a not to recently extinct volcanic caldera. It is a very hot mine and in sliding down through the stopes I noted refrigerator size pockets lined with inch size white pyramidal quartz crystals of not particular virtue. It was easy to imagine that over the long history of the mine that some of these pockets might have contained substantial amounts of gold and gold teluride minerals. Given the rather remote location of the mine it is easy to understand why so few specimens have made their way to the outside world. At Cripple Creek Colorado high grading miners easily managed to convert gold and gold teluride minerals into bullion by very simple means (fire). Undoubtedly a similar fate befell almost all of the good specimens of native gold and crystals of various gold teluride minerals at this mine.

GoldFranceRhône-Alpes, Bourg d'Oisans, Isère, La Gardette Mine

Gold on Quartz, 5.3cm wide


Gold on Stibnite crystals, ~7.5cm wide

GoldIndonesiaSumatera Island (Sumatra Island)

Gold in Quartz ~5cm wide

GoldIrelandCo. Wicklow, Croghan Kinshela Mountain, Gold Mines River

Gold nugget ~4cm wide

They don't find much gold in Ireland and I think this may have been one of the better specimens found.

GoldItalyAosta Valley, Ayas Valley, Brusson, Brusson Mine

Gold in Quartz ~6cm wide
Gold in Quartz, 10cm wide

Gold in Quartz 2.6cm
Gold in Quartz, 2.4cm wide

GoldJapanHonshu Island, Kinki Region, Hyogo Prefecture, Yabu-gun, Nakase mine (Nakaze mine)

Gold in Quartz, 2.3cm


Gold Nugget, 8cm wide
Gold nugget, 9cm wide

GoldMexicoSonora, Mun. de Alamos, Alamos

Gold, 2.5cm tall

GoldNew Zealand

Gold in Quartz, ~7cm wide

GoldNew GuineaPapua

Gold crystal ~2cm tall
Gold on Quartz, 1.5cm wide

GoldNew GuineaPapua, Enga Province, Mt Hagen, Mt Kare Valley, Porgera Mine

Gold, 4.7cm tall
Gold crystals, 2cm tall

Gold crystals, 2.5cm wide
Gold, 2 cm tall

Gold, 2.7cm tall
Gold crystals, 3.1cm tall


Gold on Quartz, ~5cm tall

GoldPeruJunín Department, Huancayo Province, Carolita, Pampa San José

Gold, 1.4cm

GoldPhilippinesMindanao, Caraga Region, Agusan Sur, Bunawan

Gold nugget, 4cm wide

Republic of Congo (Brazzaville)
Ituri District, Mongbwalu

Gold, 4cm wide


Gold & Sphalerite, 4cm tall
Gold on Quartz, 3cm wide

GoldRomaniaAlba Co., Botés

Gold on Quartz, 3cm wide

GoldRomaniaAlba Co., Roşia Montanã (Verespatak)

Gold on Quartz ~5cm tall
Gold on Quartz ~5cm wide

Gold on Quartz, 4.3cm tall
Gold, 3.3cm tall

Gold leaf, 3.1 cm tall
Gold on drusy Quartz, 8cm wide

In my youth I met an old European collector/dealer in New York City who said that at one time he was able long ago to go the mining company at this locality and they would open their safe where they kept gold specimens that they had mined and buy crystallized gold at its bullion value.

GoldRomaniaHunedoara Co., Brad, Ruda Barza

Gold wires on Quartz 4cm wide

GoldRomaniaHunedoara Co., Sacarîmb (Sãcãrâmb; Szekerembe; Nagyág)

Gold & Sphalerite and Quartz 13x6 cm wide

GoldRomaniaHunedoara Co., Trestia Mine

Gold & Copper on Quartz 6cm wide

I visited the fantastic Gold Museum at Brad in 1987 but was saddened to see lumps of black quartz from Trestia that they were mining at the time. They were excited about it, claiming this ore to be incredibly rich and that was the best they had! This 6 cm specimen entered the British Museum before 1835 when it first appeared in their catalogue. It is now on display at the Royal Ontario Museum in their new gallery. Later on that trip I got a real education at the Vienna Natural History Museum and to my glee found a similar cabinet sized Trestia leaf specimen. Recently I wrote Uwe Kolitsch at Vienna and he kindly replied, " I checked: there are two very nice leafy gold specimens from "Tresztya" on display. The left one: Catalogue no. A.a. 1372, "Trestya, Siebenbürgen" according to label, but "Vöröspatak, Siebenbürgen" according to the catalogue book. It was catalogued in 1843 (purchased from Mr. "Ludwig v. Siajo (Scala)". The right one: Catalogue no. E 5937, "Siebenbürgen" according to label, catalogued in 1888 (gift from "Eugen Freiherr v. Ransonnet-Villez". I think the left one is more similar to that shown in the photo Rock had chosen. " (RWMW 2010)

GoldRomaniaMaramures Co., Roata Mine, Cavnic (Kapnic; Kapnik)

Gold, Calcite & Quartz (Tn?)

GoldRussiaUrals Region,Middle Urals, Ekaterinburgskaya (Sverdlovskaya) Oblast', Ekaterinburg (Sverdlovsk), Berezovskii (Berezovskii Zavod), Berezovskoe Au Deposit (Berezovsk Mines)

Gold (10x6 cm)
Gold Nugget (FOV 2 cm)

Gold Spinel Twins (~1 cm)

The specimens of Russian gold we have shown here are OK, but they are really pretty sad compared to all the great gold specimens from many localities that Russia has produced. In the Diamond Fund museum in the Kemlin, there are many fist size and double fist size gold nuggets, some of which show rudimentary crystals, and those are just the ones on display. Perhaps some day we will be able to get good pictures of fine Russian gold specimens to show in this article.

GoldSlovakiaBanská Bystrica Region, Kremnica Mts, Kremnica (Körmöcbánya; Kremnitz)

Gold (3.7x3.5x1.9)

GoldSlovakiaBanská Bystrica Region, Štiavnica Mts, Banská Štiavnica Mining District, Hodruša - Hámre

Gold, Quartz & Pyrite, 6.6cm

GoldSouth AfricaGauteng Province, Johannesburg

Gold, 5cm

Most of the gold taken from the mines in this, the most productive gold mining district in the world is not visible. In fact specimens of visible gold from this locality are rather rare. Mostly this is because rich specimens of gold and rock are quite rare and the other is that the Laws of South Africa make it illegal to own natural gold and diamonds unless you have the proper permit, which few people bother to apply for. A few good specimens of crystallized gold are know from the rand, but they are very rare, so rare in fact that you will be lucky to ever hold one in your hand.

The gold mines of the Rand (the Johannesburg area) are currently the richest in the world and for many years they have produced more than any other country in the world (272,000 kilograms in 2008). The gold is mined from steeply dipping conglomerate beds (at one time the gold was free alluvial gold until this alluvium was buried and metomorphosed into rock by heat and pressure. At one time these fossilized alluvial layers (reefs) outcropped on the surface but now all the easy ore has been gotten and the shafts and other mine workings have chased the ore deeper and deeper till today some mines have operational levels at 12,000 feet below the surface. As mining progresses downwards, temperatures rise, and the deep level mines of the rand have some of the hottest working conditions in the world and keeping the mines safe to work in and at a bearable temperature calls for a huge investment in refrigeration and other infrastructure elements. There is still a Gold ore in the ground, but the deeper the mines go chasing it, the more costly it is to mine, and at some point, the cost of mining it may exceed the value of the gold produced.

GoldSouth AfricaMpumalanga Province, Barberton District, Sheba Mine

Gold (3.5x2.5x1.7 cm)

GoldSpainAndalusia, Almería, Níjar, Rodalquilar

Gold (8 cm)

GoldUnited KingdomEngland, Devon, South Devon, Torquay, Hope's Nose

Gold, 8 cm wide
Gold, 10 cm wide

Gold, 9 cm wide
Gold, FOV 2 cm

These delicate arbourescent growths are leached out of calcite from veins on the beach beside a sewer outlet. It is highly illegal to collect these, but that hasn't stopped the application of dynamite. The gold ranges in colour from bright yellow pure Gold to a tan brown Palladian Gold. There are also rare palladium minerals associated. Probably a few hundred specimens collected and they don't get any better than those pictured here.


Gold crystals ~3cm tall
Gold, 4.5cm wide, 63.8gms

GoldUSAArizona, Cochise Co., Mule Mts, Warren District, Bisbee, Cole Mine (Cole shaft; Cole No. 3)

Copper & Gold, 5cm wide

GoldUSAArizona, Maricopa Co., Mystic Mine (Mystic Gold Mine)

Gold "sponge", 6cm wide
Gold, 5.5cm wide

Gold in Quartz, 4cm wide
Gold sponge, 3cm wide

Gold, 6.5cm tall
Gold, 2.4cm wide

GoldUSAArizona, Pinal Co., Mammoth District, Tiger, St. Anthony deposit, Mammoth-Saint Anthony Mine (Mammoth-St Anthony Mine; Mammoth Mine; St. Anthony Mine

Gold in Quartz, 1.8cm tall

The Tiger mine produced a few scruffy gold specimens, but is much better know for its specimens of other secondary ore minerals like Wulfenite, Dioptase, Cerussite, Leadhillite, Caladonite etc.

GoldUSAArizona, Yavapai Co.

Gold with Quartz, 2cm wide
Gold & Quartz, 2.7cm tall

GoldUSAArizona, Yavapai Co., Bradshaw Mts (Bradshaw Range), Castle Creek District, Castle Hot Springs area

Gold in Quartz, 2.6 cm wide


Gold crystals ~6cm wide

Gold crystals ~9cm tall
Gold crystals/leaves ~7cm wide
Gold xls on Quartz ~8cm wide

Gold xls on Quartz ~6cm across
Gold leaves/xls ~7cm tall

Gold ~11cm wide
Gold nugget ~7cm across

Gold xls, 1.7cm wide
Gold & Arsenopyrite ~5cm wide

I think California has produced more good specimen gold than any other place. It is mostly from the Mother Load area which runs south to north through Amador, Butte, Calaveras, El Dorado, Mariposa, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, Sierra, Tuolumne, Plumas and Yuba counties. It may have also produced the best specimens of all different kinds of gold. The Los Angeles Museum of Natural History has on display more than 100 kgs of gold specimens including 159 large gold nuggets weighing in at about 31kgs from the Ruby mine in Sierra Co., California. It is probably the best gold exhibit here in the United States. Without the discover of gold in California in 1849 the history of the United States would be a lot different than it is today. The reason that the above pictures have been placed here rather than with their respective actual localities is that their localities are not known, so this general catch all locality of Gold, California has been created for them. If and when knowledgeable people step forward and identify their true localities, we will remove them from here and place them in their true locality galleries.

GoldUSACalifornia, Calaveras Co., Bald Mt, Browns Flat

Gold & Altaite ~4cm wide

GoldUSACalifornia, Calaveras Co., Sixteen - To - One Mine

Gold in Quartz ~9.5cm tall

GoldUSACalifornia, El Dorado Co., Georgetown District, Spanish Dry Diggins, Grit Mine

Gold, ~15cm tall

GoldUSACalifornia, El Dorado Co., Placerville (Hangtown)

Gold & Quartz ~4cm tall
Gold, 3.7cm tall

Gold specimens ~3cm tall

GoldUSACalifornia, Mariposa Co.

Gold crystals, 1.9cm tall
Gold crystals ~2cm wide

Gold crystals, 2.6cm wide
Gold ~14cm wide, 27oz.

GoldUSACalifornia, Mariposa Co., Quartzburg

Gold in Quartz ~3cm wide

GoldUSACalifornia, Mariposa Co., Triumph Mine

Gold & Arsenopyrite 2.2cm tall

GoldUSACalifornia, Mariposa Co., Whitlock District, Bear Valley, Diltz Mine

Gold, 1.6cm wide
Gold crystals, 1.8cm across

GoldUSACalifornia, Mariposa Co., Whitlock District, Colorado, Colorado Mine (Colorado Quartz Mine)

Gold xls on Quartz "The Dragon" 18cm tall
Gold crystals, 4.2cm tall

Gold & Quartz, 5.5cm tall
Gold xls, 1.9cm tall

Gold crystals, 5cm wide
Gold, 1cm across

Gold & Quartz, 5.7cm wide

One of the most prolific sources of fine crystallized gold in recent times (1980 to 2010) has been from this mine. Much of the gold mined is in the form of thin veins of white massive quartz completely shot full of gold, much of it very well crystallized. The gold is exposed by carefully dissolving away most of the gold with hydrofluoric acid and then further removal of the etched quartz surfaces by the use of air scribes (little hand held jackhammers). Sometimes the Quartz vein material is x-rayed before the preparation process is started to better direct the preparation process. Hundreds of fine specimens have been produced by this mine and only a tiny portion of them are pictured above.

GoldUSACalifornia, Mariposa Co., Whitlock District, Mockingbird Mine

Gold on Quartz, 4cm wide
Gold crystals, 4.6cm across

Gold crystals, 2.9cm tall
Gold crystals, 10cm tall

Gold xls on Quartz, 6.8cm wide

GoldUSACalifornia, Nevada Co.

Gold crystals ~7cm tall
Gold, 7.5cm wide

GoldUSACalifornia, Nevada Co., Grass Valley

Gold leaves, 3.3cm tall
Gold crystals ~8cm wide

Gold crystals ~7cm wide
Gold 1.3cm across

Gold crystals, 23cm tall

GoldUSACalifornia, Nevada Co., Massachusetts lode

Gold crystals ~4cm wide

GoldUSACalifornia, Nevada Co., Washington District, Washington, Red Ledge Mine

Gold crystals ~6cm wide
Gold, 5cm wide

GoldUSACalifornia, Placer Co.

Gold on Quartz ~3cm wide
Gold xls, largest ~1.7cm wide

GoldUSACalifornia, Placer Co., Eagle's Nest Mine (Mystery Wind Mine)

Gold on Quartz, 15cm tall
Gold on Quartz, 5.7cm tall

Gold on Quartz 3cm tall
Gold, 3.6cm tall

Gold on Quartz, 8.5cm tall
Gold crystals, 4.4cm wide

Gold on Quartz, 10.5cm wide
Gold on Quartz, 3.3cm wide

Gold on Quartz, 4.3cm tall
Gold on Quartz, 4cm tall

Gold crystals, 2.5cm wide
Gold on Quartz, 7cm wide

Gold on Quartz, 7.3cm wide

GoldUSACalifornia, Placer Co. East Belt District

Gold on Quartz, 4.2cm wide

GoldUSACalifornia, Placer Co., Forest Hill, Greenwood area

Gold crystals, 3.2cm tall

GoldUSACalifornia, Placer Co., Michigan-Bluff District

Gold crystals, 2.6cm wide

GoldUSACalifornia, Plumas Co., New Greenville

Gold nugget ~18cm wide, 82ozs

GoldUSACalifornia, Sierra Co.

Gold crystals ~4.5cm wide

GoldUSACalifornia, Sierra Co., Alleghany District, Alleghany, Grass Valley, 16 to 1 Mine

Gold in Quartz, 4.6cm tall
Gold crystals, 2.5cm wide

This specimen is just a sad little example of what the mine really produced. One story is told about about a miner drilling into a mass of gold in quartz that was so rich that the bit got "frozen" in the hold and the miners were only able to retrieve it after the blast. There were so much gold in the quartz, that after the blast that chunks of gold filled quartz were hanging from the ceiling and walls and the miners had to use tin snips to try and cut the pieces down. The drill bit that was recovered has entirely coated with gold that had been smeared over the surface. It is now mostly a tourist attraction and you can buy specimens directly from the mine if you want. To find out more go to their website.

GoldUSACalifornia, Alleghany District, Alleghany, Oriental Mine

Gold leaves, ~12cm?

GoldUSACalifornia, Sierra Co., Red Ledge Mine (Bank Mining Company)

Gold on Quartz, 4.3cm tall
Gold on Quartz, 1.9cm wide
Gold on Quartz, 4.9cm wide

GoldUSACalifornia, Siskiyou Co., Liberty District, Anna Johnson & Suprise Mine

Gold, 3.4cm tall

GoldUSACalifornia, Tuolumne Co.

Gold on Quartz ~11cm wide

GoldUSACalifornia, Tuolumne Co., Jamestown District

Gold on Quartz, 3cm tall

The specimen from Jamestown pictured above is pathetic compared to many of the fabulous specimens that have come from this locality. Perhaps someday we will be able to get some pictures of good ones.

GoldUSACalifornia, Tuolumne Co., Mother Lode (Mother Lode belt)

Gold xls on Quartz, 5.3cm tall

GoldUSACalifornia, Yuba Co., Browns Valley, Yuba Gold field, Yuba Mine

Gold, 5.6cm wide, 3.5oz


Gold ~7.5cm wide

GoldUSAColorado, Clear Creek Co., Idaho Springs District, Dixie Mine

Gold leaves, 5cm wide
Gold, 1.5cm tall

Gold on Quartz, 2.7cm tall

GoldUSAColorado, Lake Co., Leadville District (California District)

Gold, 2cm wide

GoldUSAColorado, San Miguel Co., Telluride District, Tomboy Mine

Gold on matrix, 3.7cm wide

GoldUSAColorado, Summit Co., Breckenridge District

Gold wires/crystal ~8cm wide

Gold ~7cm wide

Gold wires ~6cm wide
Gold wires ~4cm wide

GoldUSAColorado, Summit Co., Breckenridge District, French Gulch, Farncomb Hill

Gold, 5.4cm tall
Gold, 6.5cm wide

Gold ~6cm wide

GoldUSAMontana, Powell Co.

Gold on matrix ~6.5cm wide

GoldUSANevada, Elko Co., Tuscarora District

Gold, 5.6cm tall

GoldUSANevada, Humboldt Co.

Gold, 2.5cm wide, 11gm

GoldUSANevada, Humboldt Co., Ten Mile District

Gold, 4.7cm wide

GoldUSANevada, Humboldt Co., Ten Mile District, Lizard Ridge Mine

Gold in Quartz, 5.6cm wide
Gold, 1.2cm tall

GoldUSANevada, Nye Co., Round Mountain District, Round Mountain Mine

Gold, 3.5cm tall
Gold v. electrum, ~1.5cm?

Gold crystals 6.8cm tall
Gold on Quartz xls, 2.8cm wide

Gold on Electrum & invisible Aguilarite 14cm wide

In 2006 a spectacular find of gold and electrum xls were were collected by Kinross Gold Corporation. Thanks to their farsightedness this bit of Nevada's mining heritage has been permanently saved. The mine run specimens were separated into 56 lots in plastic bags and stapled to a wall for a silent auction. A few bidders were allowed into the room at a time and shortly it became difficult to see what was in the plastic bags due to the abrasions as bidders poked and lifted up the bags trying to ascertain the treasures inside. All was very secure and the lucky bidders didn't get their prizes until the cash was transferred. Many of the miners were astounded at the specimens as most who worked there had never even seen visible gold!!!! As of 2010 this appears to be a one time find and Kinross is fed up with people asking for more. The crystalization runs the gamut of gold's habits. Gold seldom makes cubes, but silver often does. I was surprised to see gold leaves studded with tiny cubes!!! The gold colour varies from butter gold to pale electrum and if harshly cleaned turns pale. There is a thin surface enrichment of very pure gold on a base of pale electrum (60% Au, 40% Ag, Bart Cannon EDS) It is the electrum that makes the cubes!!! Once all trimming and preparing was done there were probably over a thousand specimens and the prices have been increasing ever since. Initially detractors claimed these didn't have the lustre of California specimens and so should be cheap. The high lustre on some of the specimens put lie to this, but the more frequent "dull" appearance probably comes from the thickness of the gold surface enrichment. These are perhaps some of the finest electrum specimens in existence. (RWMW 2010)

GoldUSANevada, Pershing Co., Antelope District, Majuba placer

Gold, 2.3cm tall
Gold, 1.3cm tall

GoldUSANevada, Washoe Co., Olinghouse District, 813 Pit

Gold wires, 2.8cm wide
Gold in Calcite/porfery ~6cm wide

Gold on matrix, 22cm wide
Gold in Calcite, 3cm wide

Gold on matrix, 4.7cm tall
Gold on matrix, 7.3cm wide

GoldUSANew Mexico, Santa Fe Co., New Placers District

Gold nugget ~5cm?

New Mexico, Santa Fe Co., New Placers District, Boot Hill Claim

Gold ~5cm?

GoldUSANew Mexico, Santa Fe Co., New Placers District, San Pedro Mine

Gold in Calcite, 7.5cm

GoldUSAWashington, Kittitas Co., Swauk District, Ace Of Diamonds Mine, Liberty

Gold in Quartz, 1.5cm tall


Gold, 3.2cm tall

GoldVenezuelaBolívar, Icabarú

Gold crystals 1.1cm wide

GoldVenezuelaBolívar, Santa Elena

Gold, 7mm tall
Gold, 7mm

Gold crystals, 2.2cm wide

GoldVietnamYenbai (Yen Bai) Province, Luc Yen

Gold on Quartz, 4.4cm wide


Gold on Quartz ~12cm wide

Click here to view Best Minerals G and here for Best Minerals A to Z and here for Fast Navigation of completed Best Minerals articles.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.

Edited 62 time(s). Last edit at 07/26/2010 09:08AM by Rock Currier.
Ralph Bottrill July 19, 2009 11:18AM
Its a nice article so far, but one problem with the Brken Hill "gold": no gold! I pointed out to Joe ages ago it is a copper-silver hybrid, not gold-silver.

Douglas James RUMSEY July 19, 2009 12:05PM
One of the reasons why finders of gold don't usually tell anyone of the exact location is that there are many cases where the original finder has gone back to the spot and found the area has been well and truly cleaned out, sometimes with backhoe marks all over the patch.

Why kill the goose that has laid the golden egg?

Doug J Rumsey
Rob Woodside July 19, 2009 05:59PM
Tremendous piece of work!!! No wonder you've been feeling overwhelmed. You've made it through, thanks so much.

Would you like me to go through with the tourmaline icon and bring up the pictures you have selected? The prehnite thread (another wonderful piece) takes a while to load and the gold thread will take longer. Is that why you you left the selected photos buried?
David Von Bargen July 19, 2009 07:15PM
Harvard also has another gold wire from the Groundhog mine, Gilman Eagle Co. Colorado. (specimen is 11.7 cm and displays a bit better) The Denver museum has a slightly smaller specimen on matrix (5.5 inches)

Best single crystals of gold that I've seen are from Venezueula and the collection was sold in Tucson 8-10 years ago from the Inn Suites.
scafool July 19, 2009 07:44PM
You might want to include a sentence about how little gold has actually been mined through history.
It does not make a very big pile.
Rock Currier July 19, 2009 09:12PM
Ralph, OK Ill take it out. Can we get the caption on the picture in the Mindat gallery changed?

Douglas, Yes, obviously!

David. I know about some of them. Any chance for pictures?

Rob, if you have the time and the will to use the tourmaline icon to bring up the pictures, have at it. Bring up all the pictures! Sometimes when I get them up I decide I don't like all of them and delete some of them. Not bringing them up is just a matter of spending the hours necessary to do the work which I have just started. Just scanning in the gold images from my photo file, and photo shopping them to make them nice for mindat and uploading them too me several days. Selecting all the images and localities took me another day and a half. Bringing up the images is the easy part. I think the creation of the shortest possible captions with the specimen sizes and the tweaking of the images to make them match in size (a la Harjo) as much as possible takes longer, but any help would be welcome. I would also hope that when working on it if you spot any goofy stuff you will help make any corrections necessary and of course if you know something about the localities and the specimens that you would put that in the text section under the images. Oh, and there is plenty of tasty extra elephant meat to spare here. If you think this article is bad and will take a long time to load, wait till we get going on the Quartz, USA article. I have uploaded about 80 USA quartz images from my slide library and can't wait to get started on that one. I sort of feel when I get that one done, I may be over the hump on this thing. It may the the largest single article and If I can lick that one, then all the rest should be down hill, just an incredible amount of work, but it should be just more of the same without too many surprises. Sort of like confronting your worst fears. It well may need to be broken down into two or three sections or more because of the 60K character limit on the fields. Even when this project is fairly mature, I suspect it will be a full time job for two or three people just keeping it current and making corrections and additions.

Scafool. Yes good idea. I thought about that but didn't have any hard numbers or references. Can you supply?

Any furtherer comments, corrections and suggestions are welcome.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/19/2009 09:26PM by Rock Currier.
Rock Currier July 20, 2009 08:49PM
Rob, thanks for the help. Don't forget to make the Species/Locality data at the top of each image like the rest of them and that in most cases the images should be 400 wide and not 600.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
Rob Woodside July 20, 2009 09:15PM
Sorry I got involved elsewhere and will do to US today. Tomorow I'll get the rest. Thanks for the 400 tip and I'll bold what needs bolding. Mindat got very slow for a while.

Edit: Sorry Rock, I came back today and you did it all!!!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/22/2009 11:38PM by Rob Woodside.
Mario Pauwels July 22, 2009 10:39PM
Hi Rock,

Thanks for using some of my pictured specimens in this Gold article.

I can give you by this a little bit more information about the locality of the first specimen, The Fimiston Open Pit Mine.
Maybe you can use this background information to in the article.
For more information about the Gold specimen itself you can reed the tekst by clicking on the link of the Gold picture.

Officialy named as The Fimiston Open Pit Mine in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, but also known as "The Super Pit Mine" is this mine located on the Goldfields Highway on the south-east edge of the city Kalgoorlie-Boulder.
Each year approximately 15 million tonns of rock are removed to produce the 28 tonns or 850000 ounces of gold a year !!!, and is by this the largest and most important Gold producing open cut Gold mine in Australia. Unfortunately Gold specimens are very uncomon at this mine and in order to recover the gold, the Gold ore must first be crushed and passed trough a gravity circuit to recover the free Gold who is present in some of the higher grades-lodes. The remaining ore goes to a smelter to seperate the Gold from the Tellurides.
Beside the Gold, the most common gangue minerals are Pyrite, Tellurides, Ankerite and Quartz, and the few Gold specimens that survived the crusher and the smelter during the production process show sometimes very dramatic impressions of Ankerite crystals and Quartz crystals in the remaining Gold specimens.

Mario Pauwels
Rock Currier July 23, 2009 12:56AM
Mario, Thats interesting information and most will go into the article above your name. Thanks.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
Rock Currier July 23, 2009 01:07AM
Rob. With luck Ill have the first draft of the gold article done this week. I especially appreciated you comments on some of the Canadian gold localities. That is exactly the kine of thing that needs to be added for each locality entry.

I don't want you to feel that I shut you out of helping with the gold article and if you like doing that kind of work, I would point out that all the quartz articles have listed suggested localities and image links and you could spend any amount of time reversing the locality strings and bringing the images into the articles. That is all the bare bones kind of work that needs to be done. I try and get the frame work done and then stick in what little I can in the way of descriptive stuff. That at least gets something going on the article. Next week I hope to begin the Quartz, USA article, and that one will be the killer. Any help you could give there would be appreciated. I would get to it sooner, but I have been scanning in and doctoring up the silver images from my slide library on the off chance that some of them might be of use to Dave on his silver article.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
Rob Woodside July 23, 2009 01:41AM
No worries, Rock. I was only thinking of freeing you up for less mundane things. I have intentionally not looked at the quartz and calcite sections as I thought that too daunting. Gold is more fun than Quartz, but I'll have a look.

Uwe, in 1987 your Museum had a nice cabinet specimen of gold from Trestia or Trestja, Romania on display with the Zlatna leaves etc in the systematic element display. It is a sister to the smaller 6 cm specimen that Rock has used in the article. I visited the Gold Museum at Brad also in 87 and was saddened to see lumps of black quartz from Trestia that they were mining. They were excited about it, claiming this ore to be incredibly rich and that was the best they had. That 6 cm specimen entered the British Museum before 1835, possibly in the 18th century. I wonder what the provenance of your piece is as dollars to donuts they were collected at the same time.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/31/2009 07:56PM by Rob Woodside.
Rock Currier July 23, 2009 09:24AM
Rob, Yes Quartz and Calcite is a daunting prospect and for a long time I avoided them as well. After breaking the big minerals by country they don't look so huge. The Quartz USA may be the largest of them, or almost the largest of them and if I can crack that one, then the rest won't look all that impossible to people. Sort of like, "Well he rode that huge wave, perhaps I can too." I have been screwing up my courage bit by bit and look forward to paddling out to meet it.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
Rock Currier July 26, 2009 08:14AM
The first draft of the Best Minerals, Gold article is finished. If you can help fill in information about the gold specimens from the various localities, it would be appreciated.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
Anonymous User July 26, 2009 09:14AM
Hi Rock,

In California, it's known as the Mother Lode, not load.

In the contemporary usage, a lode is a deposit of metalliferous ore that fills or is embedded in a fissure (or crack) in a rock formation or a vein of ore that is deposited or embedded between layers of rock.

In it's historic roots, a lode is an old English word meaning rich source of supply.

A "load" is what the gold nuggets become once I put them all in my pants pockets. (tu)

Mario Pauwels August 27, 2009 08:45AM
Hi Rock,

Great article on a great mineral, but it seems that two pictures of Elmwood Calcites sneaked in this Gold article.
You will find one Calcite under the locality: Botés, Alba Co., Romania, and the other one under Rosia Montana, Alba Co., Romania.

Mario Pauwels
David Von Bargen August 27, 2009 11:05AM
While technically correct in calling the head photo crystals, probably a better description is a wire.
Rock Currier August 28, 2009 09:04AM
The calcite substitution for the gold is very strange. I am sure that it was not originally like this. At any rate it is fixed. Thanks. David. Yes wire is better. Fixed.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
Van King November 07, 2009 01:46PM
Dear Rock,

Truly awesome article! Some scallywags have suggested that the Groundhog wire (rope) gold is actually Kongsberg silver that was gold plated much as the the USA 5 cent pieces were in 1883 as those coins did not have the word cents on them and were passed as $5 coins - more than a week's wages back East when the fraud occurred. Note that yesterday, the owner of a Congo gold pointed out that the picture of his specimen was posted in the wrong country- Brazzaville instead of DRC. Check at Mongbwalu, Haut-Zaire, Democratic Republic of Congo (Zaïre). Specimen shows nice cubic hopper growth. Unfortunately, the area has been identified as a "blood gold" area of atrocities.

Best Wishes, Van King
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