If you’re a prospector looking for gold, knowing the answer can be the difference between being immensely wealthy and immensely poor! Many a miner has come upon what he thought were gold, only to discover that his dreams of wealth vanished when his “find” was analyzed.
What has come to be known as fool’s gold is a mineral called iron pyrite. Since it is a yellow mineral with a brilliant luster, it can easily be mistaken for flakes of native gold in a rock.
Another reason the mistake is often made is that it is found where there are iron pyrites. Native gold is found mostly in quartz veins or in masses of iron pyrites. The water and wind wear away the quartz and pyrites, and the gold has weathered out of the rocks. This means that the piece of rock around the lumps or nuggets of nearly pure gold.
The nuggets are washed down to the bottom of the valleys and become mixed with sand and gravel. In this for