We all know what gold looks like. However, raw gold is different from gold that has been melted or refined.
This article will discuss the many ways you can find gold in nature. It also discusses some other minerals you may come across that could be misinterpreted as the real thing. You need to be able to guess the right things to look for if you want to prospect for the precious metal.
Lode sources are also known as Hardrock deposits. This is where most of the gold is mined worldwide. These are the places where the gold is contained within rocks and must be manually extracted from the Earth to obtain the gold. Ore is the name for gold-bearing material.
It can be difficult or impossible to identify gold-bearing ore by visual inspection, depending on how much gold is present in the rock. Many gold ores also contain other metals, so it is possible to find valuable shiny minerals in the rock.
Another challenge when inspecting gold ores for potential gold content is that the ore’s total gold concentration is usually negligible. Many ores won’t have visible or much gold, so further processing is required to determine if they contain any.
Many large-scale lode mining operations in the world process low-grade ores. Some of the minerals they are mining contain only 1/4 troy ounces of gold per ton. The actual amount of gold in fist-sized rocks is minimal.
There are better ways to judge a rock’s shine than this one. Many gold-bearing ores in nature aren’t shiny. Many polished rocks don’t contain any gold.
There are many types of materials that could be mistaken for gold. Although many types of rocks can be confused with gold, some pose a problem for those just starting in gold prospecting.
Silica, mica, and various pyrite forms are the most common minerals that can be confused with gold. These minerals may have a golden tint and shine in the sun.
The shiny side of gold is not reflective, so it’s not nostalgic. Although it is bright and shiny, its color doesn’t change with the light. Minerals like pyrite and others will fade if not in direct sunlight. However, gold can still be seen regardless of whether it is in direct sun.
It is crucial to know that not all shiny rocks are gold. 99.9% of these polished rocks don’t have any value.
Rarely, however, is gold visible in rocks. These ores are usually considered “high-grade.” Old-timers also used the term free-milling to describe how gold can be extracted from rock by crushing and panning it. They do not require any chemical processes. Free-milling gold deposits are often found in areas quickly scanned with metal detectors.
Quartz specimens of gold are scarce and can be extremely valuable. However, there are many different types of quartz specimens, and not all offer a premium price.
Specimen Gold is the vein of the gold that was flowing through quartz or another host material and has separated from its primary source. These can indicate a nearby lode resource that can be mined. However, they may also indicate a distant source of the actual lode source. Sometimes, however, they are located miles away and have just traveled over millions of years.
This type of gold is more accessible to identify than most other ores, as it is visible and exposed to the eyes. It is possible to see the whole mass of gold rather than specks of shiny stuff.
Let’s talk about quartz and the relationship between it and gold. Although most people know that these two materials often mix, they may believe that the shiny, new-found quartz is gold simply because there’s some quartz nearby.
Quartz is the second-most abundant mineral on Earth. Quartz makes up a substantial portion of the Earth’s crust. Therefore, it isn’t easy to simply find quartz and assume there will be any gold nearby. There are many quartz areas where no gold is found. Sometimes gold and quartz can be found together, but they do not base on each other.
Okay, back to gold.
A nugget is a solid gold mass large enough to hold its own. Although rare, gold nuggets can still be found with hard work.
There are many sizes and shapes of gold nuggets. Most of them can be found in placer deposits. These are where they accumulate within rivers and creeks. They are generally smooth and rounded because they have been tumbling in the waterways for millions of years. A nugget’s average shape will look like a piece of bubble gum.
All gold is not smooth. Natural gold can still be very rough and exciting. These are not nuggets but wild gold specimens. Rarely, these pieces may have crystalline formations.
They are rough because they have been eroded less than other placer gold.
Although we all would love to find large quantities of gold nuggets in our backyards, most of the gold available is tiny. Instead of large chunky nuggets, you’re more likely to find small flakes, dust, and “flour,” specks of gold.
Similar to the ones we mentioned earlier, these same shiny minerals can be mistaken for gold. For centuries, those shiny specks found at the bottom of a pan of gold have delighted and disappointed thousands upon thousands of prospectors. Remember that “All that glitters is not gold.”
It is easy to see the difference, even on specks. It is important to remember that gold in nature can be brilliant even when it is not in direct sunlight. Most of the fakes will only turn gold when they are exposed to the sun.
It is simple to see the difference between gold and other minerals when you use a gold pan. You can tell the difference between how gold reacts in your pan and how lighter minerals react to you swirling them around.
You may have found this article after searching for a shiny, gold-colored rock. I don’t want to sound like the wrong person, but if you happen upon a gem on a hike or while doing some other outdoor activity, it is possible that…
We have received many calls and emails over the years from people who happen to stumble upon a shiny stone and want to determine if it is pure gold. Sometimes they’re not certain, but sometimes they are sure. Other times they know that they have found the “Mother Lode,” a huge gold nugget. They then email us a photo of a shiny but not gold rock.
This is the main point of this article. While gold can appear in many ways, you must know the differences between minerals and gold. You can see some pictures of gold specimens and nuggets on our website. After seeing some images of real gold, it will be easy to tell the difference from other stuff.
Rare is gold. Finding gold in its natural environment can be complicated, even if you’re looking for it. It is doubtful you will stumble upon a large gold nugget while out and about.