What does Real Gold Look Like in Rock?

Where is Gold found in Nature? What does Real Gold look like in Nature? Which Rock holds Gold in Nature? Which Acid can be used to Find Real Gold?
what does real gold look like in rock
Image by Michael Römer from Pixabay

Not every golden thing is gold and everything that shines is not gold too. These were a few sayings that the elderly told us. But what if the rock with the golden glitter does have raw gold particles? Who would want to miss out on such a chance to get their hands on pure gold? So, what does real gold look like in rock? Well, today you will get to know what does real gold look like when found. What kind of rock is gold found in? Let’s find out.

1. Where can You Find Raw Gold?

Gold is a naturally occurring metal that occurs in different places in raw form. Some common gold-occurring sites are rocks, streams, rivers, oceans, and the crust of the earth. Minerals like calaverite and sylvanite are known as gold-bearing minerals. Gold is found in the embedded form in the quarter veins, or it can be in the placer (a deposit of sand or gravel in the river bed or lake bed) or stream gravel. So, what does real gold look like in rock? Read till the end to know the answer. (See Why is Gold Valuable?)

2. What does Real Gold Look Like when found?

Gold Nugget Topic - What Does Real Gold Look Like In Rock Pic #2
Image by Csaba Nagy from Pixabay

It can be tricky to identify real gold in its raw form as it is in jewelry form. So, what does real gold look like in rock? Signs of real gold in nature are as follows:

  • Color of the Gold: It is not too bright yellow but has an appearance of brassy yellow shine. It does not need direct sunlight exposure to shine as real gold appears shiny even in shadow. You can test it by casting the shadow of your hand on the metal and if it still has that shine, it is gold because other materials tend to lose their brightness in shadow. 
  • The Texture of the Gold: The texture can be bumpy but smooth. Raw gold develops this texture as it travels through rivers and streams. What does real gold look like in rock? It is heavier than normal rocks, and it has smooth edges due to the continuous hitting of the rock and debris in the river. Real gold is durable and does not fall apart if you touch, lift, or scratch it.
  • Identify the Shine: As mentioned, that real gold does not spark, and to check if you got your hands on some real gold or not, lift it up to the light. Its shiny surface will glisten as you twist it in the light. It seems more like a metallic shiny yellow surface. Real gold does not twinkle or create a sparkling effect, and it does not reflect light either.
  • It is Durable: Real gold is highly malleable as we all know. And it is similar in its raw form either. If you happen to find some gold nuggets, you can just test whether it is real or not by hammering them. Real gold will not break; instead, it will bend or there will be a dent in it. Make sure you are striking it firmly with the hammer because other minerals cannot take even a firm strike from a hammer and shatter into pieces. 

3. What Kind of Rock is Gold found in?

Quartz Topic - What Does Real Gold Look Like In Rock Pic #3
Image by ha11ok from Pixabay

What does real gold look like in rock is around the corner, but before that would you not like to know about rocks holding gold? The amount of gold present in rocks is in very small quantities, and it is mostly mixed with other minerals. Expert gold prospectors thus do not look for gold in the rocks instead, they look for the formation of the rocks that possibly bear different concentrations of gold. Here I have mentioned the rocks in which gold is found.

  • Alluvium: Loose clay, silt, or gravel gets deposited in a stream bed, beach, or floodplain by running water. This deposit is known as alluvium. These deposits are usually formed when the gold and other materials erode and the small pieces are pushed by water or other forces. Since gold is heavier than impurities or other materials, it settles down at the bottom of these deposits.
  • Intrusive rocks: Molten magma penetrates the cracks of existing rocks, crystallizes, and solidifies inside these cracks to form intrusions by slowly reaching the surface. Such rocks are known as intrusive rocks or plutonic rocks. These rocks are hard enough to reduce and delay the eroding process but the surrounding rocks are worn out by wind and water. After this, only the hard rock is left behind. It is inside these rocks that gold is found. 
  • Quartz: These rocks often appear in almost all acid igneous rocks, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks. Quartz is hard crystalline made from minerals of silica, and they are mostly found in small stones in the river beds, or large seams on the hillside. Whenever there is quartz in gold-bearing areas there is a high chance of gold being inside them.

4. What does Real Gold look like in Rock?

It is difficult to identify a gold-bearing stone because the gold is not visible in large quantities on the outer surface of the rocks. So, there are chances of considering a less valuable mineral as gold because of its shine. So, what does real gold look like in rock? Remember, goldbearing rocks and ores are not very shiny because gold present in a rock is not visible in the rock and if it is visible, that will be in thin thread forms or spots of not-so-bright golden shine. (See How to Identify Kimberlite?)

5. How to Check if the Rock has Gold?

According to experts, you can test the rock for if it has gold in it or not. You can simply scratch the rock on the unglazed ceramic. If the rock has bits of gold, you can notice a golden streak on the surface because real gold leaves a golden streak as it is scratched. You can also test with a magnet because gold will not get attracted to the magnet. Some of the tests that can be performed on rocks are mentioned here:

  • Field Test: Iron Pyrite is one of the most commonly used metals that is confused to be real gold. You can take the test to make sure it is real gold. You will need to have the glass with you and then scratch the glass with the rock. If it leaves a scratch mark on the glass then it is iron pyrite or fool’s gold and if there is no scratch it means you got real gold.
  • Crush the Rocks: Sometimes rocks are large and cannot be carried from one place to another, it is when these rocks need to be crushed. Pulverizing (crushing into small pieces or particles) the rocks can be helpful but make sure that every bit is collected. Place the particles over the sluice box and start adding water to it such that a slightly angled ridge slide is formed. This way gold will be collected in the ridges.

6. Which Acid does not affect Real Gold?

Collection of gold items Topic - What Does Real Gold Look Like In Rock Pic #4
Photo by Scottsdale Mint on Unsplash

If you find some nuggets or any other gold-looking material and want to discover whether it is real gold or not, then, simply place it in the corrosive nitric acid. Real gold has the highest durability to stand the acid. Nitric acid will not tarnish or dissolve real gold.

So, today you got to know about what does real gold look like in rock. You also learned about what does real gold look like when found and which test you can do to check it. Do you remember what kind of rock is gold found in? (Also read 14 Factors That Affect the Price of Gold)

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