Diamonds vs. Gold nuggets
Almost all gold nuggets found prior to 1990 have been melted down, while almost all diamonds ever found have been retained. Nowadays geological rarity, natural uniqueness and nostalgia replaced the greed and fear that determined the fate of gold nuggets in the past. Gold nuggets are worth much more than the standard gold value.
World annual diamond production exceeds 130 million carats (Source: Wikipedia). About 30% of the diamonds mined are gem quality and 70% are 'industrial' (Source: Worlddiamondcouncil). Diamonds are increasingly mined from solidified volcanic pipes where they were held after having been transported in magma from their place of formation, about 160 kilometers below the earth's surface (Source: Worlddiamondcouncil). Unlike gold nuggets, diamonds are not limited in their occurrence to surface or surface-related deposits. While gold nugget patches are becoming exhausted, diamond reserves are limited only by the ability to mine still deeper.
If you consider gem and industrial diamonds, gold nuggets are more than twice as rare. When the relative volumes are considered, the difference is significant. Gold nuggets have a specific gravity of about 17.5 (90% gold, 9% silver, 1% other), and diamonds have a specific gravity of 3.5. On a volume-for-volume basis, gold nuggets are more than 10 times as rare as diamonds. As a result, gold nuggets are more rare than diamonds.
The above comparisons are on the basis of generous assumptions about the quantities of gold nuggets that will continue to be found globally. Clearly, present and future production demonstrates the relative scarcity of gold nuggets as compared with diamonds.
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