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was metal detecting along a river bank near my house on a farm mid north coast nsw australia and dug up this amongst the iron ore (there is gold in the creek too, have only panned flakes and crushed quartz), just some lead? or some melted metal? it's heavy for its size, very soft, was a quite shiny when i pulled it out of the dirt had jagged edges will post the pics, got bored while cleaning some iron stained crystallised quartz and put it in the rust remover for an hour or 2 then scrubbed it good with a tooth brush seems like i polished the outside layer off smoothed off the edges and lost quite a bit of weight was 11.96g now it is 11.66, was quite dirty too though. it is shining brightly now, non magnetic







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Try chipping a piece off with a knife. If it is soft enough to do that, its probably lead.

Tom H.


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If you can get the volume of the sample, the specific gravity ought to point to, lead, aluminum, or if you're lucky silver.  To me, kind of looks burnt minus the black outside.  Perhaps left over from one of the Japanese missions to Northern Australia in early WWII.....

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12 hours ago, Morlock said:

Chances are it's lead but has their been any native platinum found in the area?

platinum silver gold have all been mined within an hour of here,  50 old gold mines within like 10 mins, heaps of metals around, but i do live on a farm and could really be any old melted metal, might just add it to my rock collection, looks pretty cool anyway, i have a detector that has a different beep for different metals it sounded exactly like gold which is why i dug it up lol, thanks guys :)

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It does not look like lead. My guess is that it is aluminum from a fire pit.

If it is native platinum it will be slightly magnetic (It's not platinum). Platinum has an affinity for iron and is almost always alloyed with enough iron to react to a magnet.

It could be silver but silver is generally a whole lot harder than lead. You can tell the difference just by the feel most of the time.

Hardness, specific gravity and color dissolved in HCl acid is how you differentiate silver from lead. And many times lead is high in silver and vice versa so that can be confusing. 

The color of the oxidation on the outside that was cleaned off was the best indicator of what it is. If it is lead it will oxidize grey or sub metallic. If it is silver it will oxidize black. Aluminum will oxidize whitish grey and be friable. 

Since a photo is the only thing to go by I would say it is aluminum based on the rough shape and the color of the oxidation that is left in the low spots.

Edited by Bedrock Bob
What you clean off to get to the inside is often the key to what it is. The magic of chemistry!
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