MEET the Surfers Paradise beachlover whose unbelievable good fortune could turn us into the Gold Rush Coast.
No bullion about it — Greg Cooke has put the gold into the Coast after stumbling across not one, not two, but three precious nuggets half-buried in the sand while he was walking along the beach on Tuesday.
“I don’t want to say exactly where it was. I’m going back to keep looking,” he said.
“I’ve been walking along the beach for 20 years.
“You see people with metal detectors all the time walking along the beach, picking up coins, so you can’t help but look down.
“I’ve noticed some quartz before but something else caught my eye this time.
“I’ve found money before. That’s what I thought this was — a $1 coin.
“I thought ‘you beauty’ and reached down to get it and then thought ‘hang on a minute, this looks like gold’.
“Shortly thereafter I found the other two nuggets not far away.
“They were loose in the sand. They looked out of place.”
The Bulletin took Mr Cooke to a Southport gold broker yesterday to test his find.
The broker used a handheld X-ray fluorescent (XRF) analyser to conduct an element breakdown of each nugget.
The X-ray guns can quantify or qualify nearly any element from Magnesium to Uranium.
The results confirmed what Mr Cooke had been told earlier by a Broadbeach jeweller who also examined the rocks: There’s 24 karat gold, iron, silver and traces of manganese and nickel in them thar nuggets.
The 70g rock is 60.26 per cent 24k gold, the 35g rock is 53.9 per cent 24k gold and the 20g rock is 54.42 per cent 24k gold.
“Where there’s quartz, there’s gold,” the broker said.
“The presence of quartz indicates it’s a natural rock.”
Mr Cooke said he “made damn sure” no one else on the beach realised he’d found something valuable.
“I didn’t pick it up and go running towards them and say ‘hey, look at this’,” he said.
“I put it in my pocket and tried to look casual.”
Mr Cooke said his son remains unconvinced the nuggets really do glisten with gold.
“He said ‘Dad, bullshit’. He still doesn’t believe it,” he said, chuckling.
“There are two theories — either they were in rocks in a retaining wall or they were washed in off a reef offshore.
“The smooth edges indicate they’ve been washed over.”
Mr Cooke said he was still weighing up his options in the wake of his big find.
“Gold is about $40 a gram, so if you multiply out the grams, you’re talking about $4000,” he said.
“I’m advised the rocks might be worth more the way they are for collectors.
“I’m going to keep them until I find more and then I might think about selling.
“I’ll go back and find one as big as a house brick,” he said, chuckling.
A council spokesman said material for retaining walls was sourced from “any of the southeast Queensland quarries depending on availability at the time”.
The element breakdowns were:
Large rock (about 70g)
Au (24k Gold) 60.26 per cent
Fe (Iron) 30.84 per cent
Ag (Silver) 8.81 per cent
Ni (Nickel) 0.09 per cent
Medium rock (about 35g)
Au (24k Gold) 53.9 per cent
Fe (Iron) 37.71 per cent
Ag (Silver) 8.20 per cent
Mn (Manganese) 0.18 per cent
Small rock (About 20g)
Au (24k Gold) 54.42 per cent
Fe (Iron) 36.37 per cent
Ag (Silver) 9.21 per cent