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Gold vs. Pyrite: What's the Difference?

Edited by Sara Rehman || By Sumera Saeed || Published on December 11, 2023
Gold is a dense, valuable, yellow metal, highly malleable and ductile, used in jewelry and as an investment; Pyrite, also known as fool's gold, is a less dense, brass-yellow mineral with a metallic luster, commonly mistaken for gold.

Key Differences

Gold, known for its captivating, bright yellow sheen, has been a symbol of wealth and beauty for centuries. Pyrite, on the other hand, often fools the inexperienced eye with its similar brass-yellow hue, but it lacks the same richness and depth of color.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 11, 2023
The density of gold is significantly higher than that of pyrite. While gold is one of the densest metals, easily malleable and ductile, pyrite is harder, more brittle, and cannot be reshaped as easily as gold.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 11, 2023
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and is highly unreactive, resisting tarnish and corrosion. Pyrite, composed of iron and sulfur (FeS2), is prone to oxidation and degradation, especially when exposed to air and moisture.
Sara Rehman
Dec 11, 2023
Gold's value, both monetary and cultural, has been unparalleled, often used in jewelry, currency, and as an investment. Pyrite, despite its deceptive appearance, holds little intrinsic value and is often collected as a novelty or used in industrial processes.
Janet White
Dec 11, 2023

Comparison Chart

Color

Bright yellow
Brass-yellow
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Dec 11, 2023
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Hardness

Soft and malleable
Hard and brittle
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Dec 11, 2023

Chemical Composition

Elemental metal (Au)
Iron sulfide (FeS2)
Sara Rehman
Dec 11, 2023

Market Value

High, used as currency and investment
Low, mostly collected as a novelty
Aimie Carlson
Dec 11, 2023

Reaction to Air

Does not tarnish or corrode
Prone to oxidation and degradation
Aimie Carlson
Dec 11, 2023

Gold and Pyrite Definitions

Gold

Gold has been used as a form of currency and investment.
Countries often hold reserves of gold to back their currency.
Harlon Moss
Nov 24, 2023
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Pyrite

Pyrite is often called fool's gold due to its deceptive resemblance to real gold.
The novice prospector was disappointed to find pyrite instead of real gold.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 24, 2023

Gold

Gold refers to a bright yellow color, often associated with wealth and success.
The sunset painted the sky in shades of gold.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 24, 2023

Pyrite

Pyrite is chemically known as iron sulfide (FeS2).
Pyrite, or iron sulfide, is often found in sedimentary rocks.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 24, 2023

Gold

Gold symbolizes something of the highest quality or value.
Their team is the gold standard in customer service.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 24, 2023

Pyrite

Pyrite is a common sulfide mineral known for its metallic luster.
He found a piece of pyrite while hiking in the mountains.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 24, 2023

Gold

Gold is a highly valued, precious metal used in jewelry.
The gold necklace she wore was a family heirloom.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 24, 2023

Pyrite

In historical contexts, pyrite was used to create sparks for starting fires.
Before matches, pyrite was used with flint to light fires.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 24, 2023

Gold

Gold denotes the highest achievement, as in a gold medal.
She won gold in the Olympic swimming competition.
Janet White
Nov 24, 2023

Pyrite

Pyrite forms in distinct crystal shapes, adding to its appeal for collectors.
The pyrite crystals in the museum were beautifully formed.
Sara Rehman
Nov 24, 2023

Gold

Symbol Au A soft, yellow, corrosion-resistant element, the most malleable and ductile metal, occurring in veins and alluvial deposits and recovered by mining, panning, or sluicing. A good thermal and electrical conductor, gold is generally alloyed to increase its strength, and it is used as a common monetary standard, in jewelry, for decoration, and as a plated coating on a wide variety of electrical and mechanical components. Atomic number 79; atomic weight 196.967; melting point 1,064.2°C; boiling point 2,856.0°C; specific gravity 19.3; valence 1, 3. See Periodic Table.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 23, 2023

Pyrite

A brass-colored mineral, FeS2, occurring widely and used as an iron ore and in producing sulfur dioxide for sulfuric acid. Also called fool's gold, iron pyrites.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 23, 2023

Gold

Coinage made of this element.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 23, 2023

Pyrite

(mineral) The common mineral iron disulfide (FeS2), of a pale brass-yellow color and brilliant metallic luster, crystallizing in the isometric system.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 23, 2023

Pyrite

(usually as a plural: pyrites) Any metallic-looking sulphide, such as the above, which is the most common.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 23, 2023

Pyrite

(usually as a plural: pyrites) Any metal dichalcogenide that is isostructural to the common mineral.
Copper diselenide can occur both as a marcasite and a pyrite.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 23, 2023

Pyrite

A common mineral of a pale brass-yellow color and brilliant metallic luster, crystallizing in the isometric system; iron pyrites; iron disulphide.
Hence sable coal his massy couch extends,And stars of gold the sparkling pyrite blends.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 23, 2023

Pyrite

A common mineral (iron disulfide) that has a pale yellow color
Sumera Saeed
Nov 23, 2023

FAQs

What is pyrite?

Pyrite is a brass-yellow mineral, also known as fool's gold, composed of iron sulfide (FeS2).
Sara Rehman
Dec 11, 2023

What is gold?

Gold is a precious metal known for its bright yellow color, malleability, and use in jewelry and currency.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 11, 2023

Is gold used in electronics?

Yes, gold's excellent conductivity and resistance to corrosion make it valuable in electronics.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 11, 2023

Does gold tarnish?

Gold does not tarnish or corrode, maintaining its luster over time.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 11, 2023

Why is gold valuable?

Gold is valuable due to its rarity, beauty, and historical significance as a form of currency and symbol of wealth.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 11, 2023

What are the industrial uses of pyrite?

Pyrite is used in the production of sulfuric acid and in the paper industry.
Harlon Moss
Dec 11, 2023

Where is pyrite commonly found?

Pyrite is commonly found in sedimentary rocks, coal beds, and as a replacement mineral in fossils.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 11, 2023

What is the chemical symbol for gold?

The chemical symbol for gold is Au.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 11, 2023

Can pyrite be mistaken for gold?

Yes, pyrite's similar color can lead to confusion, earning it the nickname "fool's gold."
Sumera Saeed
Dec 11, 2023

Does pyrite have any historical uses?

Historically, pyrite was used in flintlock firearms and to start fires before the invention of matches.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 11, 2023

Does pyrite have any value?

Pyrite has some industrial value and is collected for its aesthetic appeal but is not valuable like gold.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 11, 2023

Is pyrite used in jewelry?

While not common, pyrite is sometimes used in costume jewelry for its unique appearance.
Harlon Moss
Dec 11, 2023

What is the chemical formula for pyrite?

The chemical formula for pyrite is FeS2.
Harlon Moss
Dec 11, 2023

What is the historical significance of gold?

Gold has been historically significant in many cultures as a symbol of wealth, power, and beauty.
Janet White
Dec 11, 2023

How can you distinguish gold from pyrite?

Gold is denser, softer, and has a different color sheen compared to the harder and more brittle pyrite.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 11, 2023

Where is gold commonly found?

Gold is often found in alluvial deposits, veins, and sometimes in association with quartz.
Harlon Moss
Dec 11, 2023

How is gold extracted?

Gold is extracted through mining and refining processes, including panning, sluicing, and chemical extraction.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 11, 2023

Can gold be artificially created?

Gold cannot be economically synthesized, but minute quantities have been produced in particle accelerators.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 11, 2023

Is pyrite magnetic?

Pyrite is weakly magnetic, unlike gold.
Harlon Moss
Dec 11, 2023

How is gold purified?

Gold is purified through processes like smelting and electrolysis to achieve high purity levels.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 11, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.
Edited by
Sara Rehman
Sara Rehman is a seasoned writer and editor with extensive experience at Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Information Technology, she combines her academic prowess with her passion for writing to deliver insightful and well-researched content.

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