Difference Between Gold and Pyrite

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: April 30, 2023


Difference Between Gold and Pyrite

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Gold and Pyrite both are naturally occurring substance and not organic substances, which has a similar appearance. Gold is a chemical element that is available free and highly known for its brighter look, and because of its other properties as well. Pyrite is called Fool’s Gold. It is a naturally occurring mineral also is iron sulfide(FeS2). 

Both gold and pyrite have one thing in common, which is the golden yellow metallic luster, which still can be distinguished by tones of the yellow shade. Gold is in the shade of golden to silvery yellow, whereas Pyrite has a shade of pale to brassy yellow that also sometimes gets Tarnished. 

Gold in recent decades is even used to treat cancer, gold has been the most popular mineral used as both a pirate's plunder and a component of microcircuits. Gold is the most Ductile and Malleable metal on the earth, as it can take any shape when melted and can be flattened and put to any design. Pyrite is somehow noticeably harder than that gold as a mineral. Gold and pyrite can both be used for scientific as well as traditional purposes, as already mentioned that pyrite is often known as fool's gold. 

Gold and pyrite are usually seen together as they are been produced in the same ore. 

Gold vs. Pyrite

Gold is found as a free Occurring element in the pyrite ores whereas pyrite is a mineral that occurs naturally. Gold has more chemicals but pyrite doesn’t have any chemicals but they have sulfides. Gold is mostly a free element whereas pyrite is known as a present element. Pyrite is also known as iron pyrite. 

In the periodic table, Gold is the 79th element. It has a symbol Au, and the atomic number of gold is 79, which makes gold one of the highest atomic number elements which is a naturally occurring mineral. The atomic mass of gold is 196.96. Pure gold can retain up to 6% of water content. It is slightly reddish, brighter yellowish. Gold is a prominent element to make jewelry as it is a very low reactive metal with no corrosion, as a result, gold retains its shine and luster for a good life. Gold is the element that is accepted worldwide in exchange for goods and services due to its special qualities. Gold has played an essential role in the form of coins as money usage, despite that silver has been a much-used and standard medium of payment in the world's trading systems.

Whereas talking about the pyrite it is quite distinguished from the gold, as pyrite or iron pyrite or fool’s gold is surprisingly similar to that of a gold piece to the untrained eye. Pyrite has been found in prehistoric burial, implying that they were used to make fire. Before the advent of the flintlock, wheel-lock cannons were employed, pyrite (FeS2) is composed of 46.67 percent iron and 53.33 percent sulfur. It has isometric symmetry in its crystals.

Due to their color, some people have trouble distinguishing between the two minerals. These two chemicals are completely different, despite their color similarities. Because of this, the majority of people mistake pyrite for gold. The distinction between these two elements can be easily understood if you closely observe the color of these two-element. It's the first and most basic way to tell one person from another. There are a few easy techniques to tell the difference between gold and Pyrite.

Even when there is no light, gold glows, but pyrite glistens only when the light around is put to the surface of the pyrite. If you rotate the gold, it stays with the same color all the way around after a circular rotation of the surface. When the same process happens with a Pyrite, however, it flashes in the presence of light.

Gold is a conducting material, is a conductor of heat and electricity, whereas pyrite is Diamagnetic as it’s a semiconductor. 

Gold elements usually have soft edges and pyrite mostly will have a sharp edge. Gold is malleable and ductile and will never react with water or any other corrosive agents in the surroundings. Nonetheless, pyrite will react with the surrounding atmosphere.

Difference between Gold and Pyrite in Tabular Form

Criteria of comparison Gold Pyrite
Meaning Gold is extracted from pyrite ores. Pyrite is a naturally occurred element.
Alternate names No alternative name. Pyrite is known by -fool’s gold.
Atomic weight 196.96 g/mol 119.98 g/mol
Specific gravity Gold has a specific gravity of 19.3 Pyrite has a specific gravity of 5.
Occurrence Gold has a chemical Occurrence. Pyrite is a naturally occurring element.
Matter contained Gold is a chemical substance. Pyrite is a sulfide.

What is Gold?

Gold is found in a loose form, like grains, from the alluvial deposits, veins, rocks. It happens in a stable collection with silver, certainly alloyed with different metals which includes copper and palladium, and as mineral inclusions like pyrite. Gold is a chemical element with the Au as its atomic symbol and atomic range 79, making it one of the few certainly going on factors with a better Atomic number. It is a bright, rather reddish yellow, dense, soft, malleable, and ductile metallic in its purest form. It's one of the least reactive chemical factors, and it is stable below ordinary circumstances.

All the trace amounts of gold are in the igneous rocks. On an estimated way, there are around 0.005 parts per million of it in the Earth's crust. Except for tellurium, Selenium, and Bismuth, are found in an uncombined state as it is, typically found in their natural condition. Gold's naturally occurring isotope is gold-197 only.

The amount of gold in the deposits is usually very small, it is easily extracted as a by-product of refining the base metals. It's tough to endeavor large quantities of gold rock that is rich so that they can be considered as ores. the two types of deposits where Gold can be found. Consolidated and unconsolidated deposits occur from the weathering of gold-bearing rocks. Hydrothermal veins, linked with quartz and pyrite, and placer deposits consolidated.

Properties of Gold

  • Gold is a very rare, non-rusting element. 
  • Gold can be converted into a thin wire as gold has the property of being ductile, which means an element can be converted into the thinnest wire. Gold wires are 5 microns thick. 
  • Being reflective is a very prominent property of gold as it’s highly reflective of heat as well as light. The helmets of the Astornouts are thin layers with a Partial transparent gold layer because it reduces the heat from the sun in space. 
  • Gold is highly recommended, in jewelry. As gold can be easily converted in any design, also pure Gold is 24 carats.
  • Gold does not get corrosion and is found in alluvial deposits. 
  • Gold is the best conductor of heat as it does not get tarnish. 
  • Malleability is high in gold, as it can be converted into thin-film sheets. 

Uses and Application of Gold

  • Gold is used in electronics, jewelry, glass. But 75% of gold is used in the jewelry-making industry. Electroplating of gold is used in the electronics sector. 
  • For embroidery, gold threads are used. 
  • As gold is a reflective metal, it is used as a thin layer in big buildings to protect from the sun. 
  • In cancer and tumor treatment, gold is often used in the medical industry. 
  • In ancient India, gold was often used as money, as at that time coins of gold were used. 

The Gold Synthesis

The potential of producing gold more than that of lead has peaked people's attention for a long time. alchemy, an ancient and medieval science, has focused. However, it was not until the twentieth century, Because of nuclear physics, chemical elements could be transmuted. 

In 1924, Japanese physicist Hamtaro Nagaoka was the first to find neutron bombardment to manufacture gold from mercury. an American team repeated the experiment in 1941, as they were not acquainted with the prior experiment. After attaining the same result and establishing that the gold isotopes created were all radioactive.

What is Pyrite? 

Pyrite is a vivid metallic luster brass-yellow mineral. It is the most prevalent sulfide mineral, with a composition of iron sulfide (FeS2). It originates at high and low temperatures and is found in igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks around the globe, usually in minute quantities. 

many geologists say pyrite is so prevalent that is considered a ubiquitous mineral. 

"Fool's Gold" has become a well-known moniker for pyrite. The people who do not know the difference between pyrite and gold mistakenly find the mineral for gold due to its gold color, metallic brilliance, and specific gravity. Pyrite, on the other hand, is frequently considered gold. Pyrite and gold are frequently found in the same place. Pyrite contains enough gold to allow mining in some of the old deposits. 

The chemical classification of pyrite is sulfide, with a metallic luster, and has a diaphaneity as opaque. 

Pyrite hand specimens are usually straightforward to recognize. The pyrite mineral is always brassy yellow and had a specific gravity, and has a metallic sheen. Its streak is black, with a tint of green, and is tougher. It is most commonly found in well-formed crystals in shapes. 

It is easy to distinguish between Pyrite and Gold. Gold is exceedingly soft and will bend with the pin pressure. Pyrite is fragile, and thin sections will break if pin pressure is even applied. The gold streak is yellow, while the pyrite streak is greenish-black. Pyrite known as "The Fool's Gold" problem can be avoided with some careful optimization.

Pyrite as a Gold-Bearing Ore

The prominent application of pyrite is pyrite as gold ore. Gold and pyrite are set up in the same rocks and develop under similar conditions. Small amounts of Gold can be easily found inside pyrite in some deposits. Pyrites contain nearby up to 0.25 percent gold by weight. Although it only accounts for a small portion of the ore, the value of Gold is so high that pyrite cannot even make a margin near to it. 

Pyrite is found all around the world and occurs under a wide range of circumstances. It can be created through molten rock, segregation, hydrothermal solutions, and stalactitic development, for example. It can be found in igneous rocks, vein deposits and sulfide minerals, and sedimentary rocks including shale, coal, and limestone as an accessory mineral.

Pyrites are mined primarily for their brilliance, because of which it is known as desirable gems, but they don't appear to be frequently employed due to safety precautions about mining any precious metals in such an atmosphere. 

Main Differences between Gold and Pyrite in Points

  • Gold is a chemical element. Pyrite on the other hand is a mineral and not an element. 
  • Gold contains chemicals whereas pyrite consists of sulfide. 
  • Gold is a free element that is present in pyrite ores. Nevertheless, pyrites are naturally occurring minerals. 
  • Gold has no other alternative name but pyrite is called fool’s gold. 
  • Specific gravity of gold is 19.3 whereas pyrite has a specific gravity of approximately 5.


Both Gold and Pyrite are inorganic minerals with similar looks. Pyrite is sometimes known as fool's gold because of the similar looks that they both possess. Gold is a costly and valuable metal. The most significant distinction between gold and pyrite is that gold as mentioned earlier is a chemical element that has a symbol that is Au, while pyrite is a mineral and it has a chemical formula- FeS2.

Gold and pyrites are generally found in massive masses near the fault lines, next to the continental plates. Pyrites do not originate from a single source, such as lead or zinc. But from multiple sources and reactions of elements and minerals. 

These simple interactions have the potential to produce billions! No other substance can create as many complex-element metals without relying on large amounts of energy sources. Pyrites can be found all over the world, from North America to Europe, and in any geographic area.



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"Difference Between Gold and Pyrite." Diffzy.com, 2024. Tue. 16 Apr. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-gold-and-pyrite-10>.

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