Unlocking the Secrets of Gold Encased in Quartz: A Prospector's Guide
Greetings! I'm Dave Varabioff, a lifelong gold enthusiast, and I've had an unwavering passion for gold since my first gold panning adventure with my father at the age of 11. Throughout my prospecting journey, I've gained valuable insights, and today I want to shed light on one crucial aspect: what to do when you encounter gold encased with quartz. Allow me to delve deeper into this fascinating topic.
The Origins of Gold: A Stellar Connection
Contrary to popular belief, gold was not formed or created on Earth. The conditions necessary for the nuclear fusion required to produce gold particles did not exist during the formation of our planet. Instead, gold found its way to Earth from stars that exploded in the early stages of the universe. These celestial remnants, carried by meteors, eventually impacted our planet, resulting in the presence of gold.
Gold exists on Earth in various forms, but its rarity is astounding. Experts estimate that only 5% of the total gold on our planet has been discovered. Furthermore, within that 5%, only a mere 5% manifests as visible gold that can be observed with the naked eye.
Extracting Gold from the Earth
If you're reading this article, it's safe to assume you share a fascination with gold. Let's explore the methods by which gold is typically found. You may already be familiar with gold panning and metal detecting, which are effective techniques for recovering placer gold. This type of gold was once encased in quartz veins or other host rocks, eventually making its way to the surface through natural erosion processes. Over time, these rocks disintegrate, allowing the liberated gold to be carried by ancient and modern waterways. Through the forces of tumbling and erosion, the gold becomes smooth and rounded, making it the sought-after treasure many enthusiasts strive to find.
Another type of gold found in its original host rock is known as finely disseminated gold. These large ore bodies contain microscopic particles of gold. Global mining companies employ extensive excavation and crushing processes, reducing thousands of tons of rock to a fine powder-like consistency. The gold particles, invisible to the naked eye, are then extracted chemically and transformed into gold bars used for various purposes, including jewelry and electronics.
Additionally, there is coarse gold, which can be found in small veins within quartz or serpentine and other host rocks. These veins may contain larger pockets of visible gold, taking on diverse forms. One prevalent type is crystalline gold, characterized by its bright yellow color and random, non-crystalline structure. Crystalline gold, although rarer, exhibits geometric shapes and crystal structures, making it the most valuable and sought-after type of gold.
Unveiling the Value of Natural Gold
Now that we've explored the different types of gold and their origins, it's essential to address a common misconception. On social media platforms and various online articles, you may come across advice suggesting the crushing and panning of rocks containing gold. However, this advice can be detrimental to the value of natural collectible specimens.
With over four decades of experience in gold prospecting, I've dedicated the past five years to mining the rarest and most valuable form of gold: crystallized gold. During my journey, I've also purchased gold from individuals who possess this extraordinary type of gold. Often, the true potential of rocks containing crystallized gold lies hidden, and it takes the expertise of knowledgeable individuals to maximize their value. I recently acquired a rock from a prospector for $70,000, containing 5 ounces of gold. While this may seem extravagant, the intact specimen holds significantly higher value for museums and collectors.