Two friends from New Zealand find “the nugget of a lifetime” in a creek on their claim. “I really have no words to explain this,” one says,” but this is the biggest piece of gold we have ever found.”
The creek that keeps on giving
Darren and Rex are professional gold dredgers, friends, and founders of the Abyss Dredging Youtube channel. They had no idea how much their lives would change on a normal day metal detecting for gold nuggets.
“You just never know what you’re going to get detecting,” Rex told Bering Sea Paydirt in an exclusive interview.
With over 20 years of gold prospecting experience each, Rex knows to temper his expectations and enjoy the hunt.
But in the back of his mind he knew there was a chance to score big.
“Darren found that creek about 10 years ago. He pulled four ounces out of it with a detector and thought he got all the gold out. Three weeks before we filmed that video he went back with a waterproof coil and found two more ounces. He called me and said you got to come out.”
So Rex joined Darren armed with his Minelab GPX 4500 (which was discontinued and replaced by the GPX 5000 model) and fully submersible Coiltek 10 x 5″ Mono Goldhunting search coil to see what was still out there.
Around 2:35 into the video the detector starts screaming.
“I thought it was fake,” Darren told us. “It was so loud I thought for sure it was a hot rock or a piece of metal. I was so sure I didn’t even film it.”
When he turns the camera back on, Rex reveals the giant nugget for viewers and weighs it out. 3.98 troy ounces.
A discovery 20 years in the making
Rex and Darren were a plasterer and baker by trade, respectively, when they decided to look for gold as a full-time job.
Rex had a solid 6″ river dredge he’d use to work a friend’s claim, and Darren had a claim and a dredge that wasn’t working too well.
The two decided to team up with Rex’s dredge and Darren’s claim. Rex quit taking jobs and Darren sold his business and they jumped full-time into the world of gold dredging.
The first four years were a struggle, Rex says, as the claim didn’t pay consistently, and when the building industry picked up in New Zealand he started taking jobs again to make money on the side.
After some recent success on Youtube and in the field the two saved up enough money for a new dredge and a promising new claim and are diving back into mining full-time.
While New Zealand’s South Island is one of last the few havens for small-time gold dredgers, it’s still a challenge to support yourself. Making a full-time living finding the shiny stuff is a lifestyle only 10% of New Zealand gold dredgers can accomplish by Rex’s estimates.
Gold dredging full-time is hard work, but it’s an incredible way to make a living.
Join us in the hunt at home!
“What a special, special day.”
While the 3.98 troy ounce “Abyss Nugget” was the highlight of the day, the two didn’t fare so badly the rest of the day finding another 39.3 grams, or 1.26 ozt of smaller nuggets.
After the hunt Rex took the Abyss Nugget to a refiner to test the purity. An acid test revealed the nugget is 95-96% pure, and that it’s likely worth almost $9,000 USD – a healthy premium over today’s spot gold price for such a rare specimen.
While Rex expresses a deep appreciation for the find in the video, he also explains a familiar feeling to those of us on the never-ending hunt for treasure:
“It just makes you wonder how many more are like this up here. I mean if there’s one there’s got to be another one, right?”
Sounds like Rex and Darren won’t be giving up the search for monster nuggets anytime soon.
Check out the full video here!
Did you like this story from the field? If so, check these out:
‘That’s better than I’ve done pretty much anywhere else in the entire world, and I’ve been all over the place looking for gold’: Man finds 23 REAL diamonds and gold dust in NYC Diamond District sidewalks
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