Is it gold?

Teris

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Hi everyone. I went panning for the first time ever and found these pieces. I'm confident the smaller one (magnified) is gold, but what about the one in my hand? I'm pretty sure I found a bunch of pyrite and maybe some mercury (or platinum) as well, so thought I'd ask the experts: is it gold?

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richtink

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I think a good test is to try to bend it, if it breaks it is not gold.
 

mike(swWash)

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It looks big enough to do the knife test.
Push the the tip into it, if it breaks it isn't, if it make a dent, it's probably gold.

From the pic, it looks to be gold but the darker/silvery areas are suspect but not a positive/reject by any means.

My best "go to" test is the shade test, Gold will still look like gold, even when a shadow is cast over it, non gold will darken or turn black.

If you have a gold ring and something brass, or even something that else that has gold color you can do this to see what I mean.

Once you see found gold, you'll never be in doubt again.....and never be the same :tongue3:
 
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smokeythecat

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The other comments are correct and remember, gold with a high silver content or mixed with mercury from the old timers can look like that. Good luck.
 

russau

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Get a piece of tile , on the back of it (the unglazed side) scratch the piece of material across it and observe what the color is shown. Gold will be gold in color ! Its commonly called a scratch test.
 
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A2coins

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Hope it is Welcome also Good luck
 
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Teris

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So I tried the tests. It bends, a knife just dents it and the scratch test is gold-ish in color. Looks like gold to me!

Screenshot_20200530-180402.jpg
 

beekbuster

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Go find more of them and then compare to what you have. Usually there will be no doubt as to what it is, but sometimes gold can have a green or black color to it
 

russau

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ALSO you can get examples of different Karet gold and mark down what the Karet is and when you do another scratch test on a seperat peice of unglazed tile , you can compare them to each other to get a idea of what the Karet is on your new peice !
 

IMAUDIGGER

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As an inexperienced youth, I never had to perform tricks to decide if something was gold...no shading it and seeing if it still shined...no streak tests....no malleability test...when you have gold in your pan, there is no mistaking it. It’s obvious. The saying usually holds true...if you have to ask - it’s not gold.

Gold likes to hang out with friends...they all behave differently than everything else in the pan due to the EXTREME differences in specific gravity. Once you have seen gold and held it, you will never have to ask again. Gold is nearly 2.2 x the density of brass. Gold is over 3.5 x more dense than hematite or magnetite (the heaviest sands in your pan).

What else did you have in your pan...surely not just two pickers?

If you can’t get ahold of some concentrates, put some lead shot in your pan...gold will behave similarly even though gold is 1.7 x more dense than lead. Heck throw that first piece in the pan and practice keeping it there!

Sounds and looks like you found gold...I bet you will know it next time ; )
You must have a good spot..if it’s not already claimed by someone else..go back and find some more!
 
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Teris

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Wow, what beginner’s luck! What state Teris?

I'm in Southern California. I had my son's crappy plastic shovel and kid's beach pail (that maybe holds a half gallon). I filled that pail 4 or 5 times and found those two pieces of gold. After watching the videos on this site about panning, I realize I was doing it all wrong and probably lost any fine gold that was in there. I pulled those two pieces out of the pan by sight using terrible panning technique and certainly no classifying. I'll go back soon and see if I can find more!
 
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Teris

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As an inexperienced youth, I never had to perform tricks to decide if something was gold...no shading it and seeing if it still shined...no streak tests....no malleability test...when you have gold in your pan, there is no mistaking it. It’s obvious. The saying usually holds true...if you have to ask - it’s not gold.

Gold likes to hang out with friends...they all behave differently than everything else in the pan due to the EXTREME differences in specific gravity. Once you have seen gold and held it, you will never have to ask again. Gold is nearly 2.2 x the density of brass. Gold is over 3.5 x more dense than hematite or magnetite (the heaviest sands in your pan).

What else did you have in your pan...surely not just two pickers?

If you can’t get ahold of some concentrates, put some lead shot in your pan...gold will behave similarly even though gold is 1.7 x more dense than lead. Heck throw that first piece in the pan and practice keeping it there!

Sounds and looks like you found gold...I bet you will know it next time ; )
You must have a good spot..if it’s not already claimed by someone else..go back and find some more!

I put these pieces in a pan with some dirt from my yard and they are way heavier than the dirt and behave like I'd expect gold to behave. The second/bigger piece looks "dirty" for lack of a better word. But when I scratch it, the dark color came off.

Those two pieces were the only gold I found, but I only had a child's beach pail and shovel (and my pan). I was also using poor technique. With the gold, I found a lot of silvery metallic flecks that I now assume to be mica. I'll let you know if I find more when I can get back out there!
 

IMAUDIGGER

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I put these pieces in a pan with some dirt from my yard and they are way heavier than the dirt and behave like I'd expect gold to behave. The second/bigger piece looks "dirty" for lack of a better word. But when I scratch it, the dark color came off.

Those two pieces were the only gold I found, but I only had a child's beach pail and shovel (and my pan). I was also using poor technique. With the gold, I found a lot of silvery metallic flecks that I now assume to be mica. I'll let you know if I find more when I can get back out there!

So it sounds like this was a spur of the moment decision to pan for gold. That tells me you definitely didn't research the ownership of the minerals. This is important because in California, the majority of the gold bearing streams have mineral claims along them (meaning someone owns the gold). The exceptions would be stretches of streams with special status that have been withdrawn from mineral entry.

I'm not saying ALL the areas are claimed, but there is a high possibility it could be claimed. There is no requirement to have the claim posted. It is up to the miner to determine ownership status before prospecting.

Even casual panning is stealing from the owner, similar to taking a watermelon from a farmers field.

It's a great family hobby to get into and there are many places to prospect without having to file a claim.

Ask some questions here about researching mining claims and you will get a bunch of help!
You may even get offers to pan on a claim in your area. Also good advice on what tools to buy/build.
Good luck!
 
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Teris

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So it sounds like this was a spur of the moment decision to pan for gold. That tells me you definitely didn't research the ownership of the minerals. This is important because in California, the majority of the gold bearing streams have mineral claims along them (meaning someone owns the gold). The exceptions would be stretches of streams with special status that have been withdrawn from mineral entry.

I'm not saying ALL the areas are claimed, but there is a high possibility it could be claimed. There is no requirement to have the claim posted. It is up to the miner to determine ownership status before prospecting.

Even casual panning is stealing from the owner, similar to taking a watermelon from a farmers field.

It's a great family hobby to get into and there are many places to prospect without having to file a claim.

Ask some questions here about researching mining claims and you will get a bunch of help!
You may even get offers to pan on a claim in your area. Also good advice on what tools to buy/build.
Good luck!

Yes, it was a spur of the moment family outing. We were at a very popular spot near my home, so I know for sure it's not a private claim. But that's good advice nonetheless and I appreciate it.

I have an Angus Mackirk sluice on its way to me now, so I'll see how that works out. And I'll be on the lookout for any other places in my area that can be mined without a claim. Thanks again.
 

IMAUDIGGER

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Popular doesn't mean much. Private mineral claims do not affect public uses other than prospecting. So the public can use the land same as anywhere else..just no gold mining.

Unfortunately some claims are popular spots, be it due to river access, camping opportunity, swimming hole..or a beach. Signs just get torn down or ignored.

My dad has one near a campground that is popular : (

Search "Landmatters" on Google. Good resource to get started learning about claims and finding open ground.

Lastly don't take my comments as an insinuation that you were panning (or sand castle bucketing) on a claim..most everyone that gets into gold prospecting has a learning curve when it comes to claims. I had a greenhorn co-worker show me where he was mining...turned out to be private property! He now knows how to research and owns two claims.
 
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Teris

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Popular doesn't mean much. Private mineral claims do not affect public uses other than prospecting. So the public can use the land same as anywhere else..just no gold mining.

Unfortunately some claims are popular spots, be it due to river access, camping opportunity, swimming hole..or a beach. Signs just get torn down or ignored.

My dad has one near a campground that is popular : (

Search "Landmatters" on Google. Good resource to get started learning about claims and finding open ground.

Lastly don't take my comments as an insinuation that you were panning (or sand castle bucketing) on a claim..most everyone that gets into gold prospecting has a learning curve when it comes to claims. I had a greenhorn co-worker show me where he was mining...turned out to be private property! He now knows how to research and owns two claims.

I'm not taking your advice the wrong way. On the contrary, I appreciate it very much.

When I say popular, I mean a popular place to pan and sluice. There are videos all over YouTube with people mining the area. Maybe that's not dispositive, but I took it as an indication that it's not private land that requires a claim. But I'll look into it further. Thanks again!
 

IMAUDIGGER

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If I trigger Clay correctly, he will chime in with a very well thought out and written primer on the two types of "mining claims"...Clay participates in the development of the Landmatters website, is a wealth of info and I know he is reading this.

Maybe someone else can chime in with some slightly true..slightly misleading information to trigger Clay in providing some helpful literature. ; )
 

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