Gold and Pyrites - new higher quality pictures on Page 2
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Every month I receive a dozen or so emails with people asking me "I found something I'm not sure if it is gold or pyrite, how can I tell?"
It can be tricky to the beginner! Below I have added some pictures that show the differences in common pyrites found in Arizona and Arizona gold. I detected all the gold you see in the pictures below with using either a White's GMT or a Minelab GP Extreme. Click the pictures to enlarge them. All the gold below is specimen gold they are not nuggets. The reason I used specimen gold is all of the pictures I am sent always have "host rock" in them. You cannot "flake" gold off a rock with a knife, if you hit gold in rock the rock will break/shatter but the gold will flatten/bend. Pyrite if struck with a hammer will shatter/crumble.
It is the most malleable and ductile metal known; a single gram can be beaten into a sheet of one square meter, or an ounce into 300 square feet. A soft metal, gold will readily form alloys with many other metals. This can be done to increase its strength, or create several exotic colors, sold for instance in the western United States to the tourist trade as "Black Hills" gold. Adding copper yields a redder metal, iron green, aluminum purple, platinum metals white, and natural bismuth together with silver alloys produce black. Native gold contains usually eight to ten per cent silver, but often much more — alloys with a silver content over 20% are called electrum. As the amount of silver increases, the color becomes whiter and the specific gravity lower.