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Other minerals


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Dab some of that dust from the pan onto your finger and try to smear it on a piece of white unglazed porcelain tile. Can use the underside of a toilet lid if nothing else is avalible. If it's pyrite, you will see a blackish green color. If you don't see anything, that doesn't mean it's gold. it could be mica or some other mineral that doesn't leave a streak. I assume you are panning the streams in your area for glacial gold. If that's the case, it's usually pretty fine and has a high karat content, therefore it has a bright gold color.


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Gold is so much heavier than pyrite it is not difficult to tell it by the way it moves. Gold will sit steady and stable in a swirl of water where pyrite will move, flutter, and not want to settle.

Pyrite always has flat sides when you look at it under slight magnification. It is a mineral crystal. It has fracture, cleavage, and faults that follow a geometric pattern. Gold is a soft metal. Amorphous and without an internal shape of any kind.

Pyrite is brittle and any piece no matter how small will crush into dust. Put some in a spoon and smash it with another spoon. Pyrite will "crunch" and be dust. Gold will not yeild at all or it will press into a flatter piece. Bite it! Gold will form to your tooth and flatten out and pyrite will crunch and make your teeth gritty. You can find a little tiny color and bite it into a big flake that is very thin!

It is the basic physical hcaracteristics of any substance that identifies it. No tricks, just observation. Weight (density), structure and appearance, hardness, and malleability. If you do these simple observations there will be no doubt. Then, once you see the real thing in the pan there will never be any doubt again.

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Another thing you can do is to get your pan in sunlight gold and pyrite can very well look the same as long as they're in direct sunlight and have that glowing gold color, now using your hand shade the "gold/pyrite", if it's gold the glowing golden color will still be there, if it's pyrite it will not have that same golden tone if any at all as it did in the sunlight, gold has it own "sunshine" so to speak!!


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Ok thanks I will try that. I put a small flake/dust on my finger and put my little vile with water in it and when the gold/other mineral hit the water it sucked the piece to the bottom really quickly. Also it shines pretty good I just don't know if it shines without any light on it I will try it out.

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