One of the most valuable items on earth today is gold. Wars have been fought for it; lives have also been lost for the cause. The change in time and its seeming scarceness in nature have seen its stock rise in the market. Gold is an item that often feels heavy when you hold it on your palms. But one thing about gold is that its weight is not the only factor used to determine its authenticity. There have been times when people scampered for what eventually turned out to be fool’s gold all in a big to get gold. But how does gold look like in rocks? As an amateur, how can one identify genuine gold? Nearly everyone that has a thing for gold knows how it looks like. But raw gold is very different from processed gold which has been refined and melted.
How does gold look like in rocks?
Gold in rock can be difficult to differentiate from chalcopyrite, pyrite and sulfide minerals. There are several key indices. The first is that gold in rock usually has a corner, flat face or a straight edge. It is also malleable if you drag your fingers across whatever it is that you feel is gold, and it appears to give you a gentle tug on your fingers, then it must be gold. You should also get it wet and if it has a reflectance above ten times the sulfide minerals then it is probably gold.
The majority of the gold that is mined is often found in load sources that are referred to as hard-rock deposits. This is usually the place where the gold is encased and has to be removed manually from the earth for the gold to be extracted. The mineral-bearing the gold is known as the ore. Using visual inspection alone to ascertain if it is gold can be quite difficult or nearly impossible. This largely depends on the gold concentration within the rock.
Several ores that contain the gold are also known to contain some other metals within them as well. This means that you will find other shiny material within it. One thing about gold in rocks is that it is not always shiny; it is golden and brilliant even though its color does not usually change in a different light. It is always visible both in and out of sunlight. This means that most of the shiny rocks you find are not gold! The gold that is visible in rocks is known as the high-grade gold.
What Is Known As Fool’s Gold?
Fool’s gold is the name given to pyrite. It got the name because it is equal to nothing in value even though it has a look that makes it look like gold to foolish people. There are a few ways you can use to decipher if it is pyrite or gold. There are a few tests that can help you ascertain if you are dealing with fool’s gold or not. The first test of difference is the presence of tarnish on pyrite. This is because most of the specimens of pyrite from nature will always have some measure of tarnish on its surface, small flakes or Nuggets of gold are often untarnished and bright.
In the aspect of color, pyrite comes in a brassy color while gold has a yellow to golden color. A number of the native gold around usually comes in an alloy of silver. If the silver content is quite high, the specimen is bound to have a whitish-yellow coloration. In terms of shape, Pyrite is generally gotten in angular pieces and they tend to have faces of the cube. Golden particles found in streams for instance always come in rounded edges. There is however some crystalline gold that shows traits of pyrite as well.
Also, gold has a specific gravity of 19.3 while that of pyrite is around 5. You should know that these metals possess a specific gravity that is bound to lower the specific gravity of the specimen. It is however not enough to the extent that it gets to the specific gravity of pyrite. It should be noted that the specimens which contain some amount of gold will always be at least double the specific gravity of pyrite.
In the case of destructive tests, there are four distinct steps you can take to ascertain the authenticity of the gold in your hands. Firstly, Gold possesses a yellowish streak while pyrite has a greenish-black kind of streak. The second one has to do with the hardness. Gold comes with a Mohs hardness of about 2.5 while pyrite measures about 6. Also, gold will not scratch a copper surface but copper will certainly scratch copper. Gold can also be scratched using a sharp copper piece even though copper will scratch some other materials.
The third destructive test has to do with its ductility. Gold is known to be very ductile and this means that a small piece of gold will dent with a small pressure from a pin. Pyrites, on the other hand, will resist or even break the pressure. The final test is sectility. Gold can be cut using a sharp pocket knife while particles can’t be cut.
What Other Minerals Can Pass As Gold
Other minerals that can easily pass as gold include biotite and Chalcopyrite. Chalcopyrite is also known as a copper iron sulfide and has similarities in terms of properties with pyrite. It also has hardness than pyrite and also possesses a lower gravity than pyrite. These tests can, however, be used to separate gold from chalcopyrite. Chalcopyrite also possesses a greenish-black streak.
Some people become surprised when they find out that biotite mica can fool people into believing that it is gold. This usually happens when an inexperienced person is looking for gold and finds brightness on their gold pan. What makes it obvious that it is not gold is that it will bend when it is around the pin.
How Do I Identify Gold When Buying?
One thing about genuine gold jewelry is that it comes stamped with a hallmark indicating its authenticity. This is however not a foolproof strategy to determine the authenticity of the gold. Also, we cannot easily identify jewelry stamps or what they mean. There are however different ways to confirm if your jewelry is real gold or not. These signs may not be easily seen by an untrained eye, but the following steps should help you out.
First, ensure that you carry out a visual inspection. You will need to see if it has any discoloration or if it is a base metal that is shining via the coat. If this is the case you may be looking at jewelry that is simply gold plated. There is also nothing wrong with purchasing gold plated jewelry but the thing is that it is not usually solid gold and as such, it should be labeled rightly. Real gold will also not discolor. The last thing you should look out for is weight. The reason for this is that solid gold is often quite dense and heavier than fake gold. You may ask a jeweler to inspect a professional opinion.
The second thing to do is to look out for the Gold Hallmark. The hallmark is simply a stamp that exists on the piece of jewelry which informs the buyer of what it is that they are purchasing. In several countries, jewelers must indicate when gold is genuine. They also make it compulsory to state the karat of the gold. If this is not enforced, it will be quite difficult to determine the karat of the gold.
Karate simply talks about the quality of the gold. For instance, pure gold is often quite soft and about 99.9% pure. This type of gold karat is however not common. It is, however, necessary to use it as a benchmark for measuring. This type of gold is 24K, it simply means that if you buy a 10K gold, you are holding 10 of 24 Karats. This means that it is simply a fraction of the benchmark. This does not mean that every piece of jewelry will have these markings. If you are buying used jewelry, there is a potential the piece most has lost its size and as such lose its hallmark in the procedure.
The next thing you can use is the Gold testing methods such as the Nitric acid test, the heaviness test, and the magnetic test. You may also test if it is real gold at home by applying foundation on your forehead and see if there will be a black streak. If it appears, it simply means that the gold is genuine.
Now that you know how gold looks like in a rock, you must recognize that not all that glitters is gold. Gold is one metal that has a semblance to several other metals and it takes more than a surface look to determine this. If you are going to buy gold anytime soon, ensure that you use the services of a reputable jeweler.
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