A gold nugget is a naturally occurring piece of native gold. Water sources like rivers 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 are weathered. Nuggets are also found in the tailings piles of previous mining locations, especially those left by gold mining dredges.
Gold nuggets have an appeal that goes beyond gold(the metal) itself. Natural gold nuggets are highly sought after by mineral collectors for their natural mystique and rairty. Most gold nuggets discovered in the past and present have been melted down for coins and jewelry. This makes gold nuggets rare and more sought-after than in the past.