A gold nugget is a naturally occurring piece of native gold. Watercourses often concentrate nuggets and finer gold in placers. Nuggets are recovered by placer mining, but they are also found in residual deposits where the gold-bearing veins or lodes are weathered.
Most nuggets are between 85 percent and 95 percent pure gold, but the remainder can be one of several kinds of minerals. Nuggets in laterite can be either reddish or black; nuggets in quartz appear cloaked with white. Any nuggets not deemed to be “jewelry-grade” get melted down and sold as pure gold