Whether you're a pirate, a prospector, or just about anyone else, you'd probably like to get some gold in your hands. However, you may have heard of a common danger of accidentally discovering "fool's gold" instead. What is the difference anyway?
What is gold?
We all know what gold is, right? What makes it special? The main reason why we collect it – and pay so much – is that it is very rare and the jewelry made from it looks very pretty. We often mix gold with other metals to easily change the color (for example, "white" gold is mixed with platinum.) Gold is the most ductile of metals, so changing its shape is easy. It is also useful because it does not rust and is a good conductor of electricity. As we know, we have a huge supply of gold in Fort Knox, USA, which is used to 'shore up' the value of the American dollar.
What is pyrite?
How can you tell the difference?
- Genuine gold has a reddish-yellow color, while pyrite is described as "brass yellow".
- Iron pyrite decomposes rapidly in the earth's atmosphere. As is known, gold is highly resistant to oxidation.
- Gold is soft and malleable (2.5 to Mohs hardness scale), while pyrite is brittle and hard (6-6.5 hardness). You can use a needle to scratch gold, but not pyrite (but do not use your fingernail – that's a myth).
- Pyrite crystallizes, often in pretty cubes. Gold is commonly found as an amorphous drop form.
- Gold is a pure element (Au); However, pyrite is a metallic compound (Fe + S 2 ).
- Density: Pyrite (4.9 g / cm 3 ) is much, much lighter than gold (19.3 g) / cm [19459011<3[19459012<)[19659008<Scrape:Ifyourpieceofwhiteporcelainwithgoldscrapingleavesbehindayellowstrippyritsstripeswillbeblack
Given these facts, it should be easy for you to tell the difference between fool's gold and real gold. The fastest test is likely to weigh it and see if it's hard enough to be real gold, or scratch it with something harder than 2.5 but not as hard as 6 on the Mohs hardness scale. While gold is often found in small amounts in the same places as iron pyrite, it is probably not enough to go to the trouble of breaking it down.
Is it really that easy to be fooled?
Several times in history, prospectors were deceived by pyrite, wereted countless hours, and were cutting energy, thinking they would get rich. For example, during the colonization and exploration of the New World in Europe, a buccaneer named Sir Martin Frobisher found a pyrite mine in Canada and shipped about 1,600 tons of the ore to England to find that it would be used to level roads. Always check your "gold" before you get too excited!