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What is gold?
Even if you don’t have any metal detecting experience, there are some easy ways to tell if something is gold
Metal detectors can be very selective about what they look for. They will find most metals in sufficient quantity but only when they want them.
They won’t waste time looking for elements that make up less than one percent of earth’s crust. That would be too difficult!
However, because we live in an age where we overproduce certain minerals, it is possible to buy materials made mostly of other metals online.
These include coins and jewelry as well as gun parts and laboratory equipment such as test tubes.
Many companies also produce mineral waxes that can be used to protect artifacts from future contaminations or to help identify their origin.
This article describes how to distinguish these two processes.
How to tell if something is gold
Many people will assume that anything with a yellow color value is made of gold. There’s nothing wrong with using the colors of things as an indicator, but it should be the last thing you use to determine whether or not you have a piece of metal.
The first and most important step in determining whether something is gold is to ask yourself what caused it to take on this shape.
Was it put into storage away from the elements for many years and then discovered that it was silver after years of being rust-free? Or is it something natural which can still contain traces of minerals used in photography?
Next, look at its shape. If it’s been affected by corrosion (the process by which rocks are dissolved by water and slowly lose their material through erosion) then it may indeed be made of iron, copper, or other metals.
Finally, do the objects fill one of two very specific roles in your search?
Do I have gold in my hair?
Several years ago, while prospecting with one of my friends, we found something that felt like metal. Before we took it out of the ground, we made sure to take a picture so we could identify where it was later. After our find, we realized it was gold!
We were pretty excited about this newfound love affair we had with gold. We sold the item we found for more than we put into it, contributed to some significant donations, and bought ourselves several nice gifts.
That is, until we went to get our hair analyzed at the stylist office. The woman doing the analysis noticed there was a lot of copper in our hair and suggested that was why we had discovered metallic luster inside our pebbles. Coincidentally (not), copper can also mask the presence of other elements.
So after all of that, what did we actually discover? Nothing – but we learned an important lesson, which is how detecting works. With metallics, you just need a hint or two to be able to recognize them; then once you do, everything will make sense.
Do I need to take action?
With any investment, you should do your research and check out the company before you invest your money. You can trust your sources but always make sure you are informed enough to make a decision.
There are many companies that will tell you “I’m giving away gold if you buy my detector!”. Never believe everything you read and hear – investigate them.
This is especially true of blogs. A lot of things are put online every day for people to read and enjoy. People write these things to have an audience so they can engage in a conversation about their favorite topic or product.
It’s important to realize this information isn’t being broadcast just for you. It’s being published so that there are replicas of it offline available for other people.
That way more people can get access to it. As such, someone else might already be doing something about it.
You just came up with an idea today, so don’t expect anything new from yourself. Other people deserve equal time too. If you want to see progress in changing your lifestyle, you have to focus on progressing first.
Progress doesn’t happen overnight, either. So stick with what works and eliminate what doesn’t.
Put the effort into finding alternatives instead of completely replacing one thing with another. You’ll also feel better about yourself when you keep trying.
What should I do?
There are lots of strategies you can use to determine if your find is gold worth money. But first, get some experience finding metal objects! Mining communities often offer training programs for no cost or low cost opportunities.
There are also YouTube channels with tips and tutorials about how to locate items made from silver, copper, and other metals. Check out these videos to learn more.
Also consider joining a club or group that focuses on gold detecting. These clubs usually hold meetings where people teach each other tricks and secrets for locating small pieces of metal. You can then share your findings after learning what you have learned.
Many professional treasure hunters (also known as prospectors) look for valuable metals in remote areas because it’s relatively easy to detect metal. For example, farmers who live off land they own and harvest seasonally may not notice an old well site (the area near a water source where a miner digs).
If someone else owns the land, they might not know any hidden treasures are there. _.
You can ask permission from the property owner to dig around, but possibly even more incentive for them is if you let others know so they can sell their property for a profit.
Could it be gold?
Even if you don’t detect metal yourself, it can still be very rewarding to see that someone else is digging through heavy dirt with your detector. People have different thresholds for when they want to take notice of coloration.
Some people will focus on white metals (such as silver) while others will look at yellow/gold colored ones (like gold).
Because soil conditions affect how colors appear, you may not be able to tell ore from mere quartz unless you know what to watch for.
That said, most quartz comes in black. If your specimen has an unusual shade, or if it rings like glass when you tap it, then this could be graphite.
Likewise, iron doesn’t usually ring like glass but some types do. The best way to tell is to compare loops. Loop A looks more silky, whereas loop B seems rougher.
Has it ever been gold?
Although there’s no such thing as pure gold, throughout history people have often valued things that are made of gold highly. Even though silver is more abundant, you only need to spend a few minutes digging in an alleyway to realize just how much better gold smells than this contaminated metal.
Silver has many industrial uses but also is used in cooking ingredients like cocoa and chocolate. Since it stimulates the appetite, silver is traditionally used in medicine.
However, information about its use in health issues is limited since it tends to be studied for very specific reasons by very targeted groups of people. Some examples are ear infections or autoimmune disorders.
Another problem with relying on research on silver is that studies show extremely variable results from one study to the next. This makes it difficult to know whether they were real effects or simply luck due to random chance.
Therefore, until further evidence appears to the contrary, I recommend treating any metallic material as if it was gold because these are relatively easy transactions.
How to test a metal sample
There are several techniques used to detect gold using a magnetometer. The strength of the magnetic field surrounding any metallic object is determined by its purity and quantity.
Many modern machines use electromagnetic induction to determine the presence or absence of electrical currents within a target material. These devices can be extremely sensitive, so even small currents in some materials (such as human skin) can be detected.
When a known current is passed through a wire loop containing water, the resulting electromotive force (EMF) is measured with electrodes. This EMF is due to changes in the electric fields created by the moving charges.
The device measures the change before it occurs induced by the movement of the charge around the electrode.
This allows for very accurate determination of material content in thick samples thanks to the phase angle between the voltage and current signal. In practice there may not be enough information in the original signal to allow for exact measurement, but the machine will give an estimate which should be reliable.
What kit should I get?
There are many different kits to choose from, if you consider how much money you want to spend. Some of these include basic sensors and transmitters, which can detect gold deposits in the ground without having to hire an expensive professional.
These kits typically work better for hard rock formations, whereas the more costly detector models are best at softer clay deposits.
It is also possible to buy custom made detectors, if none are available. These may be customized with various options that allow you to fine-tune their performance.
They also come with extra components so you don’t have to pay again once they’re returned.
There are only two types of machines used to find objects buried under the soil: electromagnetic (EM) and acoustic instruments.
The EM instruments use alternating current detection signals through metal coils/antennas. They help locate iron ore by detecting fluctuations in magnetic fields due to the movement of electrically conductive rocks.
Acoustic equipment uses sound waves to determine the composition of underground materials. This method does not rely on magnetism as it measures dirtham properties such as resistivity and density.