Check out this “Heart of Alaska” natural heart shaped gold nugget was found in the mining area of Chicken, near the Canadian border. The old timers wanted to call it Ptarmigan, but nobody new how to spell that so they decided on “Chicken”. People have been mining in this area for over 100 years. When we are lucky enough to find an interesting shape like this, we like to design something very special. This “Heart of Alaska” 3.3 dwt. nugget is mounted in a custom frame made of 18 karat yellow gold with a total weight of .46 carats of natural diamonds. It is about 1 1/4″ tall.
On any given day, local gold miners will come into our shop throughout the year with the gold nuggets they mined that season. We look through their stash and choose the very best nuggets to make into pendants. These are natural pieces of “placer gold” which means they are mined from the rivers and streams around Alaska. Otherwise known as the “Klondike”. Finding gold nuggets in their natural state is very rare. In fact, gold nuggets make up only 2% of all gold that is found. These nuggets themselves will vary in purity from about 75% to 95% pure gold, or 18k-22k. Due to the fact that these pieces are completely natural, other minerals can sometimes be mixed in such as silver and platinum.
Most of the gold mined in the world is from “hard rock mining” where rock is crushed using big machines and small particles of gold are separated out. This is the most cost-efficient way to extract gold. The problem with this process is that it destroys these beautiful pieces of art. This means if stores like ours stop buying this type of gold, this art will eventually be forgotten.