Kirsten's Corner

Alaskan Gold Rush 20K Gold Nugget Watch Chain and Necklace


This Alaskan Gold Rush era chain is a rare find and incredible piece of jewelry. The chain consists of 23 individual gold nuggets, plus a T-bar element encrusted with ten smaller, flattened nuggets. The nuggets are well-matched, each similar in size but unique in form, making a beautiful collection akin to artwork. In between each nugget is a round link of twisted wirework that holds the chain together and adds an interesting layer of texture. Originally a watch chain, it features a T-bar that now makes a gorgeous dangling element when worn as a necklace. Next to it is a spring ring that allows additional charms and pendants to be clipped in. The middle of the chain is delineated by a quatrefoil element where the T-bar and spring ring connect. The back of the chain encloses with two dog clips. 

The nuggets in this piece range from 18k to 22k gold. Gold nuggets are formed by hot fluids flowing through cracks deep in the Earth’s crust. Weather eventually releases the nuggets into streams and bodies of water, where they are shaped by erosion and time.

The piece is marked as “Suter”, dating it to the Klondike Gold Rush of the late 1800’s. More than 100,000 prospectors migrated to the Klondike region of the Yukon between 1896-1899 after the discovery of gold. Suter was a prospector and jeweler who worked in Alaska during the Gold Rush, creating jewelry from the gold nuggets mined in the region during this time. 

The chain measures 17 3/4”. The T-bar drops down 1” and is 1 5/8” across. The entire piece weighs 59 grams. The nuggets vary in size but are approximately 1/2” each and range from 18k-22k. All other metal in the piece tests as 14k. 

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