First, alluvial nuggets are getting harder and harder to find,
especially ‘clean’ (i.e. without inclusions of bits of quartz and
other material) nuggets of the type one can use as part of a piece or
that collectors seek. If your client’s nugget is a really attractive
one, it might be a shame to have it refined.
Second, you don’t, at this stage anyway, know exactly how pure the
nugget is or what other minerals are present. Here in Perth, we can
take nuggets to our local Mint and have them assayed, and expect an
average purity of There have been many discussions on this particular
topic on Orchid, so perhaps you could do a bit of research through
the archives, I seem to remember that quite a few people prefer not
to do the alloying themselves because of problems caused by the other
minerals present! In addition, a quick google search of ‘alluvial
nuggets’ will give you some idea of the different minerals found in
The link below might give you some ideas - just remember the prices
are in Australian dollars.
I can’t offer a suggestion on which way to go that will work for
both you and your client, but you’d need to take into account either
the cost of having it refined and/or any problems you might encounter
if you try to melt it down and alloy it yourself.
where you can see some natural nuggets combined with other natural
Australian resources to make interesting pieces that tell a story.