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What to do about gold dusts?


Where prospecting here in Philippines and we came about rocks that’s
covered of what appeared to be GOLD, its are first time doing this
and we have no prior training in dealing with processing and selling
this find. PLEASE ADVISE!!!

Arhiz Salvador


What you have is probably iron pyrites. Unfortunately often called
Fool’s Gold. Looks pretty but not worth a nickel!


Hello Arhiz,

I do not know about the cost to get it refinned in America,but since
you have now experience in this branch,this is what I would recommend
to do before you get yourself in trouble with dangerous acids. If
however your still interrested in the refinning proces,Rio Grande and
other jewelry tool suppliers sell books on how to refine your gold.Be
sure that you read the instructions very carefully BEFORE you start
with this procedure. Old town jewelers supply is one of the companys
who sell invironmental friendly products called “clean earth”.The
easiest and best way to refinne your own is electrolyse
procedure.Your gold will be solved into it’s purest form and will be
plated on a already existing gold cathode hanging in this solution. Do
not try to melt it and use it for pooring or casting tasks,because
the ironsulfides (correct me if I’m wrong) will make your gold
extremely brittle.even the smallest amounts of that stuff will cause
you problems.Been there,done that,got the T-shirt !!! By the way,is
the amount of gold you found worth it to get into all this hassle ?

Regards Pedro


Dear Arhiz,

It is difficult to tell what you mean by “covered with gold” Covered
with gold would literally mean that the rocks have a layer of gold on
the outside and none within. If the specimens you are talking about
are actually gold colored within it is highly probable that you are
dealing with iron pyrite, marcasite, arsenopyrite or chalcopyrite.
The aforementioned are all sulfides and are easily crushed with a
hammer. Gold will not crush nor crumble. Furthermore, if you use a
torch to try to melt the gold rock, after it has been hammered, the
non gold (fool’s gold ) will turn black and crumble and you should
smell sulfur. If it is gold it will melt into small balls of metal.
Another mineral that is often mistaken for gold is mica. Mica bearing
rocks will , after crushing, yield minute flakes of mineral that is
paper thin and semi transparent under magnification with a loupe. The
odds of finding large pieces of rock with free gold readily visible
are a million to one. Even in areas where gold is a regular occurence
it is rare that you will see any gold in the rock. Most gold ore has
gold that is so finely disseminated that it is not even visible with
a microscope. Nonetheless, gold is commonly associated with sulfides
and when you find the sulfides in quantity you should have them
assayed. Furthermore, if the sulfides have disseminated gold within,
you might find traces of color while panning downstream from the
sulfide occurence. The chances of finding a new source of gold in the
Phillipines is further diminished by virtue of the fact that your
Islands were once occupied by the Spaniards who were superb
prospectors. Good luck, Ron at Mills Gem, Los Osos, CA.