By Marc Prinz

Now with the modern day gold rush happening and so many gold panning enthusiasts out there I get a lot of questions about what’s fool’s gold and what’s real gold.  Fool’s gold is known as iron pyrite or mica by gold panning prospectors. Fool’s gold looks like real gold and sparkles like real gold.  Many people get fool’s gold confused with real gold when they start gold panning. Here in Colorado it is very common for beginning gold panning prospectors to have found yellow gold paint chips in there gold pan from the street stripes and assumed it is gold.  In this post I will try to help you determine if what you have in your gold pan is real gold and worth keeping or fool’s gold.


           EXAMPLE OF MICA                                               EXAMPLE OF IRON PYRITE

 Mica                        Iron Pyrite

The first thing you want to do is look at the sample you have in the shade.  Gold will not change color in light or shade and always has a nice yellow shine to it.  If what you have is dull and does not have a yellow shine in the shade then you may have fools gold.

Gold does not flake and break apart like fools gold.  However, gold will bend if it is thin enough, for example flat flake gold or wire gold.

Gold will not leave a powdery residue in your pan when rubbed up against it like fool’s gold will.

Gold also has rounded smooth edges from moving down rivers.  Gold will be more cores the closer it is to its original deposit. Fool’s gold typically has very sharp defined looking edges.

Gold will also be at the bottom of your gold pan and not floating. Mica is very light compared to gold.  Gold is very heavy and is about 17 times heavier than mica.

A great way I get rid of the fool’s gold and all of the lighter material is to use a gold cube concentrator.  Using a gold cube concentrator will help wash off all of the light stuff and keep only the heavy black sand and all of the gold.  The gold cube concentrator has thousands of mini vortexes in its matting that are constantly working to concentrate gold and wash off everything else. If you want to see what a gold cube concentrator looks like or want to learn more about how the gold cube concentrator works click HERE.

If you want to get one direct from the owners of Gold Cube or want to learn more click the banner below or here:  

What is your opinion?  What have you seen in your area?




  1. Darlene Doyle says:

    Thanks, very enjoyable read…can’t wait for the next one.

  2. jaffyger says:

    great info for the beginners and thanks for prize of your other book how to be a panning guide it was a good read and hopefuly some day i can make a living this way thanks for the tips looking forward to more take care and happyhunting from Ireland

  3. Marc says:

    Thanks for your post! I’m glad you liked the How To Become a Gold Panning Guide Book. Good Luck to you as well!

  4. Marc says:

    Thank You for your post! Good Luck and gold prospecting!

  5. David Sharp says:

    Have you ever used any of the gold hog items? monster hog or the viper flair or any of them?? Are they worth the money??

  6. Marc says:

    I have not used them yet. I hear good things about them.

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Good Man! Good informational information for the newbies. Dig Deep! YankeeGoldProspect

Really I am very much appreciate your knowledge, I hope to know more about gold and diamonds, also mineral generally. I appreciate that effort thanks alot. Mustafa Ali Mohamed

Thanks for the great advice; the newbies out there really need stuff like this! aperfectcuremt

Great info and thanks for the education. Good luck on your search peace.... Jim Conkel

Really enjoyed your info ....very informative...thanks! MrChristau

Nice! I like that tip of not putting your tailings right on top of your gold pay-streak. That means you have to sample where the streak is. Great demo... Prospector Jess

I like the systematic way you go about finding the pay streak. tfa40729

This is the first I’ve seen of you. It looks like you have a systematic process and sound theory. Thanks. 39satcom

Brilliant based in south Australia and am now in the process of looking to start this as a hobby...ive been doing some research and in all honesty this is the first video ive seen which uses a common sense methodology to looking for gold. Well done on a brilliant, clear and informative... locolacapesa

You’re giving good advice that goes for a lot of other things. So thanks! jayhawk184

Very informative, thanks for sharing I will take a look at all of your other info, Colin Walker


Good video Marc....... So far, I've enjoyed it all. PayLoadJim

I’m with you I sample like crazy...sample sample you will find it some time. great tip thanks Marc! Calvin Goldmin

Thanks Marc.... Yes, your advice is very useful;especially to a 'new-bee'. David Tullos

Best advice marc said "It's all in your head, sample sample sample, don't stop" GalderIncarnate

Informative!! Janice Liddle

Great info and advice, thanks marc hope you strike big eventually :). I've just started panning here in Scotland. Maniel E

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