There has been tons of gold found in Colorado over the years, but it isn’t particularly well-known for producing large gold nuggets. Most of the gold-bearing creeks and rivers have fine placer gold, with some bigger flakes and occasional small nugget.
They may be few and far between, but there have been some huge gold nuggets found in Colorado.
The largest piece ever unearthed comes from the Gold Flake Mine in Summit County, Colorado. The mine is located in French Gulch near the famous mining town of Breckenridge.
It was found in 1887 by two men named Tom Groves and Harry Lytton, and it was named “Tom’s Baby”. It weighs an exceptional 156 troy ounces!
This wasn’t the only large nugget to come from the rich vein that the men were working; in fact it was said that they extracted over 240 ounces from that same pocket!
Tom’s Baby isn’t a waterworn placer nugget like most nuggets you may have seen. It was actually removed from a hard rock pocket, and has a crystalline texture.
The nugget was donated to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and is the centerpiece of the mineral collection on display there.
Finding More Gold Nuggets in Colorado
Aside from Tom’s Baby, there really haven’t been a whole lot of exceptionally large nuggets known to have been mined in Colorado. Since the state is primarily comprised of lode mining districts, most of the gold in the state is not in nugget form.
That isn’t to say that there are no large gold nuggets left to find in the state. On the contrary, some of the areas that have historically produced some good nuggets will still have potential for more.
Some of the nicest crystalline gold specimens in the world come from Colorado. Not necessarily large in size, but they are exceptionally intricate, and command a very high value to rare mineral collectors. Many of them have sold for 100x more than the spot value of the metal itself!
If you are interested in looking for gold nuggets in Colorado, there are a few options. First, it is a good idea to use quality equipment. A good gold pan and sluice box should be a part of any prospector’s arsenal.
Many prospectors like to use metal detectors to find gold nuggets. In Colorado, it would be smart to use a very sensitive detector like the Fisher Gold Bug Pro or Garrett AT Gold.
Since the gold is often small, porous, and wirey, a gold-specific detector is a must-have.
Generally speaking, central Colorado is the richest area. Most of the richest historic mining areas are around Summit, Clear Creek, Jefferson, and Park Counties.
If you want to know where to search for gold nuggets, you can’t go wrong by looking in the same areas where gold nuggets have already been found. Certainly the area around the Gold Flake Mine has been mined hard over the century, but they never find it all!
There may just be another huge gold nugget waiting to be unearthed in Colorado!