Fools Gold Vs. Real Gold

Fools Gold Vs. Real Gold – What’s the Difference

Gold is one of the few currencies that maintains its value across international borders and even increases in value as more time passes. Nevertheless, the most important thing to determine is whether or not you have real gold or gold-plated imitations. If there is a difference between the two, how can we know if we have real gold or if we have been duped by fool’s gold if there is a difference between the two?

Over the course of history, gold has been fashioned into a wide variety of items, including jewelry, decorations, and even cutlery. Its rising demand drove a precipitous increase in the commodity’s price. Consequently, some fake minerals and minerals of lower value have been altered to provide the appearance of a genuine article.

The answer to this question is that fools and real gold are different. And why is it even referred to as fool’s gold in the first place? Continue reading to discover the answer!

Why is it Referred to as Fool’s Gold?


Pyrite is the name that most people give to fool’s gold. Pyrite, in contrast to genuine gold, has a value near zero; but because its look is comparable to gold, it can successfully fool people into thinking that it has a higher worth. Pyrite is not only easily accessible, but it is also significantly less expensive than genuine gold.

Prospectors and gold purchasers have used the term “fool’s gold” for many years because they find it amusing. After all, individuals are tricked by the look of pyrite and believe they have found real gold due to their mistakes. Since of these people’s lack of knowledge, they made themselves ignorant because they could not distinguish between gold and pyrite.

The Difference Between Fools Gold Vs. Real Gold:

People frequently assume that everything that is bright and has a golden tint must be gold. The concept of fool’s gold was completely foreign to most people. Let’s see if we can tell the difference between that and the genuine thing.

1. Stripes:

Pyrite, more commonly known as very fine parallel stripes, frequently exhibits striations on its surface, as I have already indicated. Gold is never on that list, even though many kinds of stones and minerals that may be found in nature have them.

On the other hand, you shouldn’t ever leap to conclusions when you see stripes since gold objects may indicate mechanical damage that seems like striations. This means that you shouldn’t take the stripes as definitive evidence of anything. They may have been caused by excavating equipment or by natural factors. Both are possible.

2. Weight:

The weights of gold and fool’s gold are quite different. The simplest way to distinguish between them is first to submerge both pieces in water. Pyrite will float if the conditions are such, but gold, which is heavier and denser, will not. It is impossible to prevent it from reaching the bottom of the bowl.

3. Color, as well as Sheen:


Although gold and pyrite are both yellow in color, gold has a stunning golden-yellow hue, while the color of pyrite is more of a brass-yellow. Pyrite and gold give the impression of having the same amount of luster at first look, particularly when held up to bright light.

Pyrite, on the other hand, loses its luster when there is not a lot of light around, but gold retains its luster regardless of the conditions.

4. Smell:

The mineral pyrite, often known as brimstone, contains the element sulfur. As you undoubtedly already know, Sulfur exudes a pungent and incredibly repulsive odor comparable to rotten eggs. This odor is known as the “rotten egg” stench.

On the other hand, precious metals such as gold are odorless. If you detect an odor that is not typical, then you may be certain that the gold you have is a piece of fool’s gold.

5. Structure:

When extreme natural circumstances drastically damage anything, like gold, it can occasionally take on a crystalline structure and sharp edges. Keep this fact in mind. This type of crystalline gold can be valuable, particularly when its one-of-a-kind appearance is regarded highly for its aesthetic worth.

Remember that jewelers try to avoid employing components like that when they produce the jewelry. On the other hand, these lumps are stunning, and their worth may occasionally exceed that of the gold they are composed of. Therefore, you need to exercise caution and get any peculiar items verified before throwing them out.

6. Shape:


If you examine a piece in great detail, you will see that its structure is frequently composed of several tiny cubes and other mathematical forms. On the other hand, chunks of gold are consistently pliable and have more rounded corners.

Procedures to Distinguish Between Real Gold and Fake Gold:

In many cases, the distinction between gold and pyrite may be made simply by describing the characteristics of each of these two minerals. Nevertheless, there are situations when even the most expert requires further evidence to arrive at a definitive verdict.

The good news is that there are a few exams that you can complete at home or out in the field. They will make an accurate determination as to whether or not the gold that you have discovered is genuine.

Before carrying out any specific test, you should always read the user handbook first. Some of them revolve around analyzing the samples without causing any damage to the gold. Conversely, certain testing procedures demand that the lump be destroyed.

Therefore, it is extremely important to steer clear of destructive testing and take all precautions to avoid harming a piece of gold that you have reason to believe may be precious. Let’s take a more in-depth look, shall we?

Destructive Tests:

Destructive Tests
Destructive Tests

When conducting destructive testing on gold and pyrite, it is common practice to use instruments and equipment that will change the appearance of the samples and, in many cases, cause structural damage to the samples. Only utilize this testing method if you are completely at ease doing so.

Streak Testing:

Streak Testing
Streak Testing

In streak testing, gold and pyrite are examined by being rubbed across a surface made of fine porcelain. When you roughly scrape a white porcelain surface with gold, it will leave a distinct yellow stripe behind. On the other side, pyrite will leave behind a stain on the porcelain that looks almost black-green.

Evaluation of Toughness:

The Mohs scale may be used for hardness testing, arguably the most used destructive testing method. Materials with a hardness rating higher on the Mohs scale can scuff and leave markings on the surface of materials with a lower hardness rating.

On the Mohs scale, gold has a value of 2.5, but the hardness of pyrite may range anywhere from 6.0 to 6.5. Pyrite will leave markings and scratches on gold, whereas gold will not leave any marks or scratches on pyrite when it is scratched. 

In this particular test, a pointed piece of copper is frequently utilized. On the Mohs scale, copper has a hardness of 3, meaning it will leave markings on gold, whereas pyrite will not leave any marks.


The capacity to bend components without causing them to break is known as ductility. Gold is extremely malleable and soft and may be readily bent or dented when subjected to the pressure of a sharp point on a wooden stick or a metal pin. 

Pyrite provides resistance and cannot be bent or dented in any way. When subjected to excessive pressure, Pyrite will shatter into fragments rather than bend if the pressure is applied.


Gold is considered to be a precious metal. You may chop it up into smaller pieces using a sharp pocket knife or scissors if you want to. Pyrite is not a sectile mineral and does not possess these other characteristics.

Non-Destructive Tests:

The non-destructive testing procedures will not harm gold or pyrite and are often the easiest to carry out.


A thin corrosion coating can occur on some metals and minerals, forming a tarnish or patina. It is often a different hue than the original mineral or metal and serves as a layer of protection for the mineral or metal from the elements found in the environment.

In most instances, Pyrite tarnishes on the mineral’s surface where it was mined. On the other hand, golden nuggets do not have any tarnish and are fairly brilliant. This is one of the distinguishing characteristics of gold and one of the key reasons why jewelry and ornaments are manufactured out of gold.


Gold and pyrite could appear the same color when viewed in isolation, but when placed close to one another, it quickly becomes clear that they are not the same color. 

Compared to the golden-yellow hue of gold, the brass color of pyrite is duller and darker than the golden color of gold. In addition, gold is frequently found in alloys that also contain silver. Gold will have a hue that is between white and yellow if the alloy it is combined with has a larger quantity of silver.

Specific Gravity:

You need a gadget that measures specific gravity to determine something’s gravity, which you probably don’t have because most people don’t. If you wish to test the sample this way, you will require a professional’s assistance.

This test is predicated on the observation that the specific gravity of gold is around 19.3, but the specific gravity of pyrite is only approximately 5, which is a far lower number. The specific gravity may be calculated using this approach by first measuring the weight of the sample in both water and air and then computing the ratio of those two weights.

Remember that pure elements are extremely difficult to locate in nature, so it is not uncommon to come across samples with gold and pyrite. This test is irreplaceable in a scenario like this one, and most geologists employ it when testing ores similar to this one.


Striations are thin parallel lines that can only be seen on the surface of pyrite. Gold does not have any such lines. Always carefully examine because the instruments and equipment used for excavating gold can frequently leave striation-like lines on the gold pieces they dig up.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What’s the use of Fools Gold?

There are certain uses for fool’s gold, even though most people dismiss it as without value. Pyrite cannot be fashioned into jewelry in the same way that gold can; thus, it is hard to make jewelry from it. However, certain examples are stunning due to their distinctive crystalline structure. In the past, magnificent jewels were frequently incorporated into pendants or worn by women as beads of varying sizes and shapes. This type of jewelry was rather popular throughout the 19th century. It would appear that this stunning mineral may also have a role in the emerging fashion sector.

Is there any real value in fool’s gold?

Pyrite is a mineral composed of iron sulfide, but because of its shimmering golden hue and crystal structure to gold, it is frequently mistaken for the precious metal and is sometimes referred to as “fool’s gold.” Although it appears to have no value, this mineral is highly important to the chemical industry. Furthermore, recent research reveals that fool’s gold has a far higher value than previously thought.

What exactly is the purpose of fool’s gold?

It was mined during World War II to make sulfuric acid, a chemical used in industry. In modern times, it is utilized in producing automobile batteries, home appliances, jewelry, and equipment. Even though finding fool’s gold is usually a waste of time, it is frequently found in areas with high concentrations of copper and gold.

Bottom Line:

Remember the distinction between real gold and fool’s gold the next time you are in the market for a new piece of jewelry. You do not want to be dumped. Be sure to choose anything created out of genuine gold if you want something that will last all the time. If, on the other hand, you are trying to save money or are simply seeking a quick cure, you should go ahead and get anything made with fool’s gold since it will still look very beautiful.

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