How to tell Fool's Gold from real gold
If you've been bitten by the gold hunting bug, knowing how to tell the difference between Pyrite, commonly known as Fool's Gold, and real Gold can save you a lot of trouble and embarrassment. After all, mistakenly identifying Pyrite as Gold is a rookie mistake. Fortunately, a few simple field tests will have you looking like the expert when it comes to distinguishing real Gold from Pyrite.
The first test is simple. Hold the suspected material close to your nose and smell it. If it smells of sulphur, it's probably not real gold.
Secondly, look closely at the sample. Pyrite forms in cube shaped crystals so if your sample has a lot of sharply angled edges; it's probably Pyrite instead of Gold.
The third test checks for malleability. The old school prospectors would bite down on a suspected material. If the bite left indentations in the metal, then it was real gold. The modern prospector may be a little squeamish about just stuffing rocks in their mouth straight off the ground. Instead, bring a hammer with you on your gold hunting trips and give suspected items a good solid hit. If the sample shatters, it is Pyrite. If it flattens or expands, it is gold.
Read more common gold questions.
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