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Different looking gold in quartz?

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Anyone care to comment on this photo? Back in 2004 I found a five pound quartz rock that sounded strongly on my White’s GMT. It would not cancel out and it would not read as iron. It showed no visible gold on the outside. I sliced it open and this photo is an example of what the sections look like. A geologist specializing in PGMs said that the brassy looking material was in fact gold but then he launched into an explanation of why it differed from most gold in quartz. Quite honestly, I could not follow or remember his explanation. Note that there are some gold spots surrounded by black material. If you pour nitric acid on these areas the black component will react and start to bubble. The goldish looking material will slough off the acid and have no reaction. A steel tool will easily mark the gold areas. The overall aspect of the rock in general is marble like in appearance. This section is a little over three inches across. Interesting, eh? I’d appreciate any comments if you have the time.


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I'm with Bill ... Go back to that area and look around ... there is probably more higher uphill from that sample if indeed the land was a hillside ... otherwise if flat look for similar rocks to the original and if it sounds off with the detector take it home ... you'll have more gold. Nice find!

Mike F

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Thanks everyone for all the comments. They make sense. I’ve been out of prospecting for at least four years and it feels good to be back. A little more on that rock. I found it in a breakout of the ancient river channel in the Auburn area of California. The location is some seven hundred feet above the present course of the North Fork of the American River. The old timer’s had done underground placer mining in the area and this rock was just one of thousands they tossed down the hill, in the process of doing their excavations and sluicing. But there’s more to that find, other details from that day that make up, at least for me, a once in a lifetime occurrence.

Not less than ten feet away, and just ten minutes before, I found a 27 pound (!) piece of quartz with gold running through part of it. The rock was covered in dirt and moss and I could see no visible gold from the outside; only after cleaning up the pieces did I discover color. Since the metal detector would not quiet down I broke it open, stupidly, because I only found out later that I should have left it intact or perhaps done an x-ray on it to see how to best cut it. Anyway, I was strongly tempted to run back home to show off my find. But I asked myself, and you may not believe this but I did ask, “What would Jim Straight do now?” I knew the answer immediately -- I should keep on detecting. And so, again, ten feet and ten minutes later, I came across that second rock with its unusual looking gold. For contrast, I’m now posting a picture of the best slice from that first rock, what I would call good looking gold.

I hope this does not all sound like bragging, I haven’t made any discovery like this again. But the message is to keep detecting and hang in there. I’m still learning my GMT and still trying to develop patience. I am sure this forum will help me as well. My personal Unicorn is to find an undiscovered gold vein. On Tuesday I was trying to do just that, up on a forgotten hillside, detecting on quartz. Nothing yet but on my next trip I’ll investigate further and bring my other coils. I can’t think of having a better time.


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