Identifying Gold Rocks

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Gold is a very rare and precious metal that is soft, malleable and heavy, and it is often found with other minerals, such as quartz. Learn about the differences between gold and fool's gold with help from a lab manager and research scientist in this free video on identifying rocks.

Part of the Video Series: Identifying Rocks
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Hi my name is Jane Stammer from The Colorado School of Mines and I am here to answer questions on how to identify gold. Gold is a very rare and precious metal and has been mined for thousands of years and because it is so rare it is actually very hard to find in nature but if you do find it these are some of the characteristics you might look for. Gold is very very soft metal, very malleable so if you think you may have found gold it would be easy to scratch. Gold is also very heavy metal so if you have a lot of it in a sample the sample will feel very heavy in your hand. Gold is by definition, gold in color and that's another thing to look for. It is often found in veins with other minerals such as quartz but can also be found disseminated throughout a rock just in tiny little particles. Because it is so rare it is usually very very fine grained but occasionally it gets concentrated and you can find big nuggets of gold which will be very very heavy and very very valuable. One thing to be careful of when you think you may have found gold is something called pyrate which is actually fool's gold. Right behind me is an example of pyrate. It looks very similar to gold, the color is very similar but it is a very very abundant mineral and it has very very little economic value. It is often times associated with gold but don't be fooled, it is much lighter than gold and much more resistant than gold and would not be worth much if you take it into an assayer and that is how you classify and identify gold.

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