Monday, March 17, 2014

3/17/14 Report - Shipwreck Gold Nuggets, Gold Nuggets In General & Black Sails

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

1.5 Centimeter Long Gold Beach Nugget
Yesterday I posted a gold nugget that was found on the Treasure Coast near a 1715 wreck site.  Here is a better picture.  It is just over 1.5 centimeters long, and is fairly thin.  It could easily be missed by a detector.

The quartz and pyrite could throw you off a little if you just saw the nugget and weren't very familiar with gold nuggets.

As you can see, it is not an alluvial nugget.  Nuggets from streams etc. tend to get smoothed out.  This one is very rough.

In the picture above, you can see the quartz in the depressions on this side.  The other side of the nugget has even more quartz.  There are a few spots of pyrite too.

I looked through the Mel Fisher artifact database (http://www.melfisherartifacts.comand found pictures of gold nuggets that were found on the Atocha and Margarita wreck sites but none from the 1715 wrecks.  It does not seem that the database is very comprehensive though, and I get the feeling it hasn't been updated for years.

But maybe it was simply dropped by a school kid carrying around part of his dad's collection.  You never know where things come from when they are found on a beach.

Most of the nuggets in the Fisher database are smoothed out, obviously alluvial, but below are a couple rougher ones shown in the database.  The last one shows some quartz and pyrite.

Nugget Shown in Mel Fisher Artifact Database
The nugget showing heavy quartz and pyrite is from

Nugget Showing Heavy Quartz and Pyrite 
The goldrushnuggets web site is a very nice web site that you might want to look at.

They sell nuggets but also have provide a number of helpful and interesting articles.

One of the the articles on that web site was about how to identify fake gold nuggets.  Like anything of value, they are faked.  Here is that link.

Here is the link.
Nugget Shown in Mel Fisher Artifact Database


All of the relevant tests have been done on this nugget now.

Someone asked about the purity of gold placer nuggets on the following site.

If you look through that discussion you'll see this response by Old Miner that reads as follows.

All placer gold (gold nuggets) varies in fineness, in my local area it usually runs 87% gold, 11% silver, 1% copper and 1% other. Plus or minus a couple percent. This combination makes for a pretty color of gold. A hundred miles away another area I mined ran 57% gold 9% silver and a lot of copper, and the nuggets were pretty ugly. A friend has claims that he says average the low 90's fineness and the gold does look very good. The fineness is usually pretty stable by local area, but can vary between 50% and 90+% gold over the world. That does not include the quarts or other rock that may be in the nugget, we just call that smelt loss or character depending on who is buying.

If you have the Starz channels on Comcast, you can watch Black Sails, a program that chronicles pirate life in the Carribbean.

You can watch it online here.

On the Treasure Coast it looks like we'll have one more day of very small surf and then a possible increase up to four to six feet.

We still have a south wind this afternoon.

Happy hunting,