While at dinner with friends this evening we came upon the question, "what is the largest gold nugget?" and of course, we found a few different answers depending on the actual question. Today I've decided to go with "what is the largest gold nugget ever found?"
The world's largest gold nugget in history was the “Welcome Stranger” nugget which was found February 5, 1869 and weighed an astounding 173 pounds. The most common size claims that the total weight was 2,284 troy ounces, while a publication states that the actual weight was 2,280 troy ounces. It was also reported that while the nugget was being broken apart, several pieces of the nugget were handed out to friends and onlookers. This may be part of the reason for the variations of the recorded weight.
The nugget, which was discovered in Victoria, Australia, was smelted soon after discovery, producing a net weight of 156.6 pounds in pure gold. Other large gold nuggets have been discovered, but none exceeds the “Welcome Stranger” in size. Another nugget came close in weight, the “Welcome Nugget.” Also discovered in Australia in the mid-19th century, the “Welcome Nugget” weighed 152 pounds. The nugget was also later smelted in 1859 in London. While being the largest gold nuggets ever discovered, the two nuggets are no longer in existence, as they were both melted down.
The current largest gold nugget still in existence is the “Pepita Canaa” nugget. The nugget weighed 134.1 pounds in gross weight and is estimated to have around 115.37 pounds of pure gold. Also known as the "Canaa Nugget", the "Pepita Canaa" was discovered in a mine in the Serra Pelada region in Brazil. The discovery was made by gold miners in September 1983 and is often thought to have been, but a fragment of a larger nugget believed to weigh as much as 363 pounds. The "Pepita Canaa" is displayed in Brazil’s Banco Central Museum, where it is exhibited next to other large nuggets also discovered in Serra Pelada mines, including the second- and third- largest nuggets in the world, weighing 103.28 pounds and 95.54 pounds respectively. Victoria, Australia is home to the world’s largest gold nugget discovered and to the world's largest gold nugget found through the use of a metal detector. Known as the “Hand of Faith,” the nugget weighs 60 pounds and was discovered in 1980.