Difference Between Gold and Pyrite
Gold vs Pyrite
It is easy to make out the difference between Gold and pyrite. They have much difference in their structure, colour, hardness and specific gravity.
When comparing gold and pyrite with regard to their colour, both have a metallic lustre but have different yellow tones. While gold comes in silvery yellow and golden in colour, Pyrite comes in brassy yellow. While Gold does not shine but only gets reflected in sunlight, pyrite is shiny and bright. Another difference that is seen between gold and pyrite is that the gold’s streak is the same as its colour and pyrite’s streak has a greenish-black colour.
Gold and pyrite also has difference in their shape. Gold comes in very small flakes or nuggets, shapeless gains and sheets. Pyrite on the other hand is seen in cube, pyritohedron and octahedron shapes.
While gold is a heavy metal, Pyrites are light ones. When panning, Gold stays at the bottom of the pan and pyrite moves easily as dirt as it is much lighter.
In hardness both gold and pyrite have difference. When gold can be scratched, pyrite cannot be scratched. While Pyrite shatters like glass when hit by a hammer, Gold does not. Gold is one of the most malleable and ductile metal, which can be beaten to any shape. When scraping both the materials, if it scratches, it is gold and if it flakes it is pyrite.
Pyrite is harder than gold. While Pyrite’s hardness is 6 to 6.5, gold has hardness around 2 to 3. Pyrite also contains high amount of iron. There is also a big difference in the specific gravity between gold and pyrite. While gold has a specific gravity of 15.6/19.3, pyrite has 5.0.
When Pyrite dissolves in strong acids, Gold only dissolves in aqua regia, a combination of nitric acid and hydrochoric acid. If gold is rubbed vigorously, gold does not give off any odour. But Pyrite produces a sulphurous smell like that of rotten eggs.
The chemical formula of both gold and pyrite is also different. The chemical formula of gold is Au while Pyrite has a chemical formula of FeS2.
As gold and pyrite are difficult to distinguish, one might find it difficult while buying ornaments. Always look out for differences.
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Written by : Prabhat S. and updated on October 14, 2009
Prabhat S. "Difference Between Gold and Pyrite." DifferenceBetween.net. October 14, 2009 < http://www.differencebetween.net/object/difference-between-gold-and-pyrite/ >.