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09-21-2012, 05:47 PM
Let's say a guy finds a one ounce nugget that would make a fine necklace pendant for a lady.

A second miner finds one ounce of rough flaky gold.

Now, I would think that the one ounce nugget would sell for over spot weight price as a jewelry item, even though it might only be 800 or so gold. I do know that pickers bring good prices, particularly the big ones.

What if a guy was to get the right jeweler's equipment, and make imitation nuggets by melting their raw gold?

I ask this because I know a man who is a jeweler, and we have been discussing this. He does not seem to think that it would cost a lot to make some molds, and use the lost wax method to form some imitation nuggets. He already has a kiln that he does jewelry casting in. He does have reservations about slag inclusions, and he says the outcome of the whole process may be unpredictable because of their behavior in the molten metal during smelting, forming, casting, and cooling.

But, if it came out, as natural nuggets do, with some black areas, or quartz inclusions, I think it might enhance the piece of jewelry. Intentional inclusions of crushed quartz, and other types of slag might produce some pieces actually worth more than their weight in gold.

Can anyone shed any light on this? Does anyone know about production of jewelry from raw unrefined gold?

Appreciate it.


Steve Herschbach
09-21-2012, 05:57 PM
Nuggets have value because they are real. Jewelers do make imitation nuggets and are required to state they are imitation. Any extra value would have to be in crafting pieces that look so good people would be willing to pay for the appearance. You would need to have some talent and produce a quality product.

In other words you would have to be a jeweler. This all involves work above and beyond the cost of the gold and so you are now in the value added business. The trick of course is to get enough added value to pay for your extra labor and other expenses.

09-21-2012, 06:27 PM
It's certainly possible to make nuggets by dropping molten gold in water to make irregular (almost) natural looking nuggets.

Quartz matrix is a different matter. When quartz is melted, it looks like melted beer bottle glass - not like fractured (natural) quartz matrix. So, the idea of adding matrix that would give added value isn't very probable.

Good jewelers know how to add value to gold. Well made gold jewelry can multiply the value x 10 on average. Nugget gold may add 10 percent over spot. Not much value added for nugget gold.

- Geowizard

Steve Herschbach
09-21-2012, 10:44 PM
We made some nuggets once many years ago to see how good we could make them. We took gold ore quartz chunks in a can and poured molten fines into the mix. The quartz was heated up prior so it did not cool the gold too quickly which was a problem first go round. Broke it up and ran in rock tumbler until looked good. The result was good enough only an expert with a hand lens could tell by carefully examining where the quartz and gold interfaced. I am sure they would pass right by most people as real.

But the stuff that gets real premiums, very choice large nuggets of exceptional character, like chevron gold, is not going to be easily made and the people buying do not want anything but the real McCoy. And they would likely know the difference.

09-23-2012, 03:52 AM
I take my fines and small flake ,melt down and cast on rock salt . When cooled you rinse the nugget under water the rock salt will dissolve and make a very nice one of a kind natural looking nugget . I use this technique for making pendants for my family and loved ones . I have never sold them but have been offered well over spot for some .