Are to be found here and there in both continents, and nuggets were objects of worship. Tools and appliances for working metals were of the rudest kind, and if moulds for casting were employed these were broken up; at least no museum contains samples of them, and the processes are not described.
Many extraordinary nuggets were found, varying from $1 to $20,000 in value.
In some regions alluvial deposits are the resting places of gemstones and gold, platinum, &c.; it is from these deposits that the largest nuggets of gold have been obtained.
Here Tungus diggers were encountered who had extracted handfuls of gold in small nuggets from a stream bed at a depth which they stated to be no greater than 2 ft.
Mesny, has observed similar evidences of the existence of gold at comparatively shallow depths in Koko Nor region, and records that he has seen nuggets, " varying from the size of a pea to that of a hazel-nut," in eastern Tibet.
Though several large nuggets have been found (the largest weighing 215 oz.), the total production is not great, the highest output obtained by washing being worth about £300,000 in one year.
More characteristic, however, than the crystallized are the irregular forms,which, when large, are known as "nuggets" or " pepites," and when in pieces below - to z oz.
Except in the larger nuggets, which may be more or less angular, or at times even masses of crystals, with or without associated quartz or other rock, gold is generally found bean-shaped or in some other flattened form, the smallest particles being scales of scarcely appreciable thickness, which, from their small bulk as compared with their surface, subside very slowly when suspended in water, and are therefore readily carried away by a rapid current.
In 1738 an extraordinary deposit of silver nuggets, quickly exhausted (1741), was discovered at Arizonac. At the end of the 18th century the Mexicans considerably developed the mines in the south-east.