Difference Between Gold and Pyrite

Gold vs Pyrite

This article analyses the difference between gold and pyrite, the two minerals that some find difficult to distinguish due to their color. These two compounds are entirely different though they are slightly similar in color. Most of the people used to confuse pyrite as gold due to this reason. However, when you closely monitor the color of these two materials, gold and pyrite, the difference between gold and pyrite can be understood easily. It is the first simple method of distinguishing one from another. There are very simple ways to distinguish gold from Pyrite. This article explains about those features and identification methods in detail.

What is Pyrite?

The chemical formula for Pyrite is FeS2 (Iron sulphide). It is a naturally occurring mineral; it is the most abundant Sulphide mineral on the earth. Pyrite or iron pyrite is also used to name Iron sulphide. Also, Fool’s gold is another name for Pyrite. The word Pyrite is a Greek word; the word pyr means fire. In early days, this had been used to make fire by striking against metal or any other hard material.

What is Gold?

Gold is a chemical element in the periodic table. Aurum (Au-79 gmol-1) is the chemical name for gold; it is a Latin word. Gold has one s-electron outside completed d-shell. Therefore, it shows +1, +3 and +5 oxidation sates. It has the cubic close-packed crystal structure. It is one of the most expensive metals in the world. It has a yellowish colour when in mass, but black, ruby or purple in colour when is divided into fine particles.

Also, read: Difference Between Coal and Gold

Difference Between Gold and Pyrite

What is the difference between Gold and Pyrite?

• Gold is golden colour and Pyrite is brass like shiny colour.

• Gold shines in any angle even without light, but Pyrite glistens when its surfaces catch the light. When you move a gold in a circular motion, it maintains a consistent colour along every movement. However, when you do the same movement for a Pyrite sample, it flashes in the presence of light.

Specific gravity of gold is greater than that of Pyrite (Pyrite = 4.95–5.10). Therefore, when panning out the minerals, gold will settle down in the bottom of the pan while Pyrite will move freely on the top of the pan. In other words, gold is denser than Pyrite (Gold- 19.30 g•cm−3; at 0 °C, 101.325 kPa, Pyrite- 4.8–5.0 g/cm3)

• Gold is a pure metal. It is a transition metal (electronic structure: [Xe] 4f14 5d10 6s1) in the periodic table. Pyrite is a covalent chemical compound.

• Gold is a metal that conducts electricity and heat. Pyrite is diamagnetic semi – conductor.

• Gold has round edges and Pyrite has sharp edges on the surface.

• Gold is a malleable and ductile structural metal.

• When you rub a piece of gold and a piece of pyrite against white porcelain, gold leaves a pure yellow residue and pyrite leaves a greenish-black powdery residue on the porcelain surface.

• Gold occurs mainly as grains of metal disseminated in quartz veins. Pyrite is, usually, present in igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks all over the world. Gold is not present in every part of the world; its abundance is very low.

• Gold does not react with water, moisture or other corrosive reagents. Nevertheless, Pyrite reacts with many of the chemical reagents.

• Gold is mostly used in jewelry. Pyrite is also used as a gemstone.

• Gold and Pyrite can be seen together in the same ore because both of them are formed under similar environmental conditions.

Gold vs Pyrite Summary

Pyrite and gold are two different naturally occurring minerals that have nearly similar colouration in appearance. Nevertheless, closer observation reveals that they do not have similar colours. Gold possesses shiny gold colour while Pyrite possesses a brass like yellowish colour. There is a notable difference in their shine too. Gold is made of gold atoms whereas Pyrite consists of Ferrous and Sulfur molecules. Most all of the chemical and physical properties are different from one another. Therefore, there are different methods to differentiate gold from Pyrite. Both of these minerals have their unique commercial uses in many ways.