We report on the synthesis and characterization of uncoated and gold coated magnetite nanoparticles. Structural characterizations, carried out using X-ray diffraction, confirm the formation of magnetite phase with a mean size of ~7 and ~8 nm for the uncoated and gold covered magnetite nanoparticles, respectively. The value of the gold coated Fe3O4 nanoparticles is consistent with the mean physical size determined from transmission electron microscopy images. Mössbauer spectra at room temperature are consistent with the thermal relaxation of magnetic moments mediated by particle-particle interactions. The 77 K Mössbauer spectra are modeled with four sextets. Those sextets are assigned to the signal of iron ions occupying the tetrahedral and octahedral sites in the core and shell parts of the particle. The room-temperature saturation magnetization value determined for the uncoated Fe3O4 nanoparticles is roughly ~60 emu/g and suggests the occurrence of surface effects such as magnetic disorder or the partial surface oxidation. These surface effects are reduced in the gold-coated Fe3O4 nanoparticles. Zero-field-cooled and field-cooled curves of both samples show irreversibilities which are consistent with a superparamagnetic behavior of interacting nanoparticles. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.