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Gold

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Formula:
Au
System:
Isometric
Colour:
Rich yellow, paling to ...
Lustre:
Metallic
Hardness:
2½ - 3
Member of:
Name:
Gold is one of the first minerals used by prehistoric cultures. The Latin name for this mineral was "aurum" and Jöns jakob Berzelius used Au to represent the element when he established the current system of chemical symbols. The Old English world "gold" first appeared in written form about 725 and may further have been derived from "gehl" or "jehl". May be derived from Anglo-Saxon "gold" = yellow. (Known to alchemists as Sol.)
Copper Group. Gold-Silver Series and Gold-Palladium Series.

A native element and precious metal, Gold has long been prized for its beauty, resistance to chemical attack and workability. As it is found as a native element, has a relatively low melting point (1063 degrees Celsius) and is malleable, it has been used by mankind for thousands of years.

Gold is used as a standard for international currency and is also widely used in jewelry, electronics (where its superb properties as a conductor help offset its tremendous cost), dentistry and in photographic processes.

Gold occurs in significant amounts in three main types of deposits: hydrothermal quartz veins and related deposits in metamorphic and igneous rocks; in volcanic-exhalative sulphide deposits; and in consolidated to unconsolidated placer deposits. It may also occur in contact metamorphic or hypothermal deposits (eg. Skarns), or epithermal deposits such as volcanic fumaroles. It is most commonly found as disseminated grains in Quartz veins with Pyrite and other sulphides, or as rounded grains, flakes or nuggets in placer deposits in recent to ancient stream and river deposits. Gold is often panned from such deposits by taking advantage of its high density to wash away the lighter sediments from a pan or sluice.

Nuggets are almost exclusively hypogene in origin, forming mostly in veins, but can be somewhat modified in form and chemistry by weathering, erosion and transport (Hough et al., 2007).

Classification of Gold

Valid - first described prior to 1959 (pre-IMA) - "Grandfathered"
1.AA.05

1 : ELEMENTS (Metals and intermetallic alloys; metalloids and nonmetals; carbides, silicides, nitrides, phosphides)
A : Metals and Intermetallic Alloys
A : Copper-cupalite family
Dana 7th ed.:
1.1.1.1
1.1.1.1

1 : NATIVE ELEMENTS AND ALLOYS
1 : Metals, other than the Platinum Group
1.5

1 : Elements and Alloys (including the arsenides, antimonides and bismuthides of Cu, Ag and Au)
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http://www.mindat.org/min-1720.html
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Occurrences of Gold

Geological Setting:
1) Primary hydrothermal veins
2) Volcanic-exhalative sulphide deposits
3) Alluvial and eluvial

Physical Properties of Gold

Metallic
Diaphaneity (Transparency):
Opaque
Colour:
Rich yellow, paling to whitish-yellow with increasing silver; blue & green in transmitted light (only thinnest folia [gold leaf])
Streak:
Shining yellow
Hardness (Mohs):
2½ - 3
Hardness (Vickers):
VHN10=30 - 34 kg/mm2
Hardness Data:
Measured
Tenacity:
Malleable
Cleavage:
None Observed
None
Fracture:
Hackly
Density:
15 - 19.3 g/cm3 (Measured)    19.309 g/cm3 (Calculated)
Comment:
Calculated density at 0° C. Depends on silver content (pure gold is 19.3).

Crystallography of Gold

Crystal System:
Isometric
Class (H-M):
m3m (4/m 3 2/m) - Hexoctahedral
Space Group:
Fm3m
Cell Parameters:
a = 4.0786Å
Unit Cell Volume:
V 67.85 ų (Calculated from Unit Cell)
Z:
4
Morphology:
Usually crude to rounded octahedra, cubes and dodecahedra to 2 cm. Often elongated along [100] or [111] directions, forming herring bone and dendritic twins. Flattened {111} plates with triangular octahedral faces. Rarely as wires ([111] elongation); reticulated; dendritic; arborescent; filiform; spongy; also massive in rounded fragments, flattened grains and scales (gold dust).
Twinning:
Common on (111) to give herring bone twins. Repeated on (111) to give stacks of spinel twins that form hexagonal wires.

Crystallographic forms of Gold

Crystal Atlas:
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Gold no.1 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Gold no.3 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Gold no.4 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Gold no.17 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Gold no.46 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Gold no.47 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
3d models and HTML5 code kindly provided by www.smorf.nl.

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Crystal Structure

Structure
Reference
Wyckoff R W G (1963) Second edition. Interscience Publishers, New York, New York Cubic closest packed, ccp, structure. Crystal Structures 1:7-83.

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More Crystal Structures
Click here to view more crystal structures at the American Mineralogist Crystal Structure Database
X-Ray Powder Diffraction Data:
d-spacingIntensity
2.355 (100)
2.039 (52)
1.230 (36)
1.442 (32)
0.9357 (23)
0.8325 (23)
0.9120 (22)

Optical Data of Gold

Type:
Isotropic
Type:
Isotropic
Reflectivity:
400nmR=24.9%
420nmR=26.5%
440nmR=28.1%
460nmR=31.6%
480nmR=39.0%
500nmR=49.5%
520nmR=57.8%
540nmR=63.4%
580nmR=67.8%
600nmR=71.0%
620nmR=73.8%
640nmR=76.1%
660nmR=78.2%
680nmR=81.9%
700nmR=83.6%

Reflectance graph
Graph shows reflectance levels at different wavelengths (in nm). Top of box is 100%. Peak reflectance is 83.6%.
Colour in reflected light:
Yellow to white with increasing silver, reddish with copper
Internal Reflections:
none
Pleochroism:
Non-pleochroic

Chemical Properties of Gold

Formula:
Au
Essential elements:
All elements listed in formula:
CAS Registry number:
7440-57-5

CAS Registry numbers are published by the American Chemical Society
Analytical Data:
Gold forms A complete series with silver (electrum, about 20-50 % Ag, and probably limited series with other metals including palladium (porpezite 5-10% Pd), copper, bismuth, mercury, nickel, platinum and iridium. The series with copper is broken by the intermetallic compounds auricupride and tetra-auricupride.
      1      2      3      4     5 
Au   99.91  85.21  90.99  94.22 73.54
Ag    0.09  14.71   3.53   2.84 20.92
Cu                  5.32   0.11  4.27
Fe                  0.07             
Bi                         2.82      
Sn                               0.28
Pb                               0.20
Zn                               0.77
Total 100   99.92  99.91 100.09 99.98
density     16.90 17.587  18.22

1)Sponge gold, 
2)Ostryi Bugor, Nagol'nyi Kryazh, Ukraina
3)Borneo,
4)Shilovoisetsky Mine, Ural, Russia,
5)Electrum, West Africa
Empirical Formula:
Au
Common Impurities:
Ag,Cu,Pd,Hg

Relationship of Gold to other Species

Series:
Forms a series with Silver (see here)
Forms a series with Palladium (see here)
Member of:
Other Members of Group:
1.AA.05AluminiumAl
1.AA.05CopperCu
1.AA.05Electrum(Au, Ag)
1.AA.05LeadPb
1.AA.05NickelNi
1.AA.05SilverAg
1.AA.05UM2004-08-E:AuCuPd(Cu,Pd,Au)
1.AA.05UM1991-06-E:AuCuAu3Cu
1.AA.10aAuricuprideCu3Au
1.AA.10bTetra-auricuprideAuCu
1.AA.10aCuproaurideCu3Au
1.AA.15AnyuiiteAu(Pb,Sb)2
1.AA.15Khatyrkite(Cu,Zn)Al2
1.AA.15IodineI2
1.AA.15NovodnepriteAuPb3
1.AA.15UM1985-02-E:AlZnZnAl2
1.AA.20Cupalite(Cu,Zn)Al
1.AA.25HunchuniteAu2Pb
1.1CopperCu
1.2SilverAg
1.6AuricuprideCu3Au
1.7Tetra-auricuprideAuCu
1.8ZincZn
1.9CadmiumCd
1.10DanbaiteCuZn2
1.11ZhanghengiteCuZn
1.12MercuryHg
1.13KolymiteCu7Hg6
1.14MoschellandsbergiteAg2Hg3
1.15EugeniteAg11Hg2
1.16SchachneriteAg1.1Hg0.9
1.17ParaschachneriteAg3Hg2
1.18LuanheiteAg3Hg
1.19Weishanite(Au,Ag)3Hg2
1.20IndiumIn
1.21AluminiumAl
1.22Khatyrkite(Cu,Zn)Al2
1.23Cupalite(Cu,Zn)Al
1.24DiamondC
1.25GraphiteC
1.26ChaoiteC
1.27LonsdaleiteC
1.28SiliconSi
1.29TinSn
1.30LeadPb
1.31AnyuiiteAu(Pb,Sb)2
1.31NovodnepriteAuPb3
1.32LeadamalgamPb0.7Hg0.3
1.33ArsenicAs
1.34ArsenolampriteAs
1.35PaxiteCuAs2
1.36KoutekiteCu5As2
1.37DomeykiteCu3As
1.38Algodonite(Cu1-xAsx)
1.39NovákiteCu20AgAs10
1.40KutinaiteAg6Cu14As7
1.41AntimonySb
1.42StibarsenAsSb
1.43ParadocrasiteSb3As
1.44HorsforditeCu, Sb
1.45CuprostibiteCu2(Sb,Tl)
1.46Allargentum(Ag1-xSbx)
1.47AurostibiteAuSb2
1.48DyscrasiteAg3Sb
1.49BismuthBi
1.50MaldoniteAu2Bi
1.51SulphurS8
1.52RosickýiteS
1.53SeleniumSe
1.54TelluriumTe
1.55ChromiumCr
1.56RheniumRe
1.57IronFe
1.58ChromferideFe3Cr1-x (x=0.6)
1.59FerchromideCr3Fe1-x
1.60WairauiteCoFe
1.61NickelNi
1.62Kamacite(Fe,Ni)
1.63Taenite(Fe,Ni)
1.64TetrataeniteFeNi
1.65AwaruiteNi3Fe
1.66Palladium(Pd,Pt)
1.67PotaritePdHg
1.68PaolovitePd2Sn
1.69Stannopalladinite(Pd,Cu)3Sn2
1.70CabriitePd2CuSn
1.71Taimyrite-I(Pd,Cu,Pt)3Sn
1.72Atokite(Pd,Pt)3Sn
1.73Rustenburgite(Pt,Pd)3Sn
1.74Zvyagintsevite(Pd,Pt,Au)3(Pb,Sn)
1.75PlumbopalladinitePd3Pb2
1.76Osmium(Os,Ir,Ru)
1.77Iridium(Ir,Os,Ru)
1.82PlatinumPt
1.83HongshiitePtCu
1.84NiggliitePtSn
1.85IsoferroplatinumPt3Fe
1.86TetraferroplatinumPtFe
1.87TulameenitePt2CuFe
1.88FerronickelplatinumPt2FeNi
1.89Rhodium(Rh,Pt)

Other Names for Gold

Name in Other Languages:
Afrikaans:Goud
Albanian:Ari
Amharic:ወርቅ
Arabic:ذهب
Armenian:Ոսկի
Asturian:Oru
Aymara:Quri
Azeri:Qızıl
Basque:Urre
Belarusian:Золата
Bengali:সোনা
Bishnupriya Manipuri:ঔরো
Bosnian (Latin Script):Zlato
Bulgarian:Злато
Catalan:Or
Chuvash:Ылтăн
Corsican:Oru
Croatian:Zlato
Czech:Zlato
Danish:Guld
Dutch:Goud
Esperanto:Oro
Estonian:Kuld
Finnish:Kulta
French:Or
Or natif
Friulian:Aur
Galician:Ouro
Gan:
Georgian:ოქრო
Guarani:Kuarepotiju
Haitian:
Hakka:Kîm
Hebrew:זהב
Hungarian:Arany
Icelandic:Gull
Ido:Oro
Indonesian:Emas
Irish Gaelic:Ór
Japanese:自然金
Javanese:Emas
Kapampangan:Gintu
Kazakh (Cyrillic Script):Алтын
Kongo:Wolo
Korean:
Kurdish (Latin Script):Zêr
Latin:Aurum
Latvian:Zelts
Limburgian:Goud
Lingala:Wólo
Lithuanian:Auksas
Lojban:solji
Low Saxon:Gold
Luxembourgish:Gold
Macedonian:Злато
Malay:Emas
Manx:Airh
Marathi:सोने
Min Nan:Au
Mongolian (Cyrillic Script):Алт
Norman:Or
Norwegian (Bokmål):Gull
Norwegian (Nynorsk):Gull
Novial:Ore
Occitan:Aur
Persian:طلا
Polish:Złoto
Portuguese:Ouro
Quechua:Quri
Ripuarian:Jold
Romanian:Aur
Russian:Золото
Scottish Gaelic:Òr
Serbian (Cyrillic Script):Злато
Serbo-Croatian:Zlato
Sicilian:Oru
Simplified Chinese:自然金
Slovak:Zlato
Slovenian:Zlato
Swahili:Dhahabu
Tagalog:Ginto
Tajik (Cyrillic Script):Зар
Turkish:Altın
Ukrainian:Золото
Uzbek (Latin Script):Oltin
Venetian:Oro
Vietnamese:Vàng
Welsh:Aur
Yiddish:גאלד
Zazaki:Zern
Zhuang:Gim
Zulu:Igolide

Other Information

Thermal Behaviour:
Melting Point: 1062.4° ± 0.8°
Other Information:
Completely soluble with Copper. Insoluble in acids except aqua regia, with incomplete separation if more than 20% of silver is present.

Reported as spongy alteration pseudomorphs after Calaverite (Cripple Creek).
Health Risks:
No information on health risks for this material has been entered into the database. You should always treat mineral specimens with care.
Industrial Uses:
Electrical conductor, transparent reflective coating, jewelry, dentistry, coinage, decorative coatings

References for Gold

Reference List:
Wibel (1852) Naturwissenschaftlicher Verein, Hamburg . Abhandlungen und Verhandlungen: 2: 87.

Hatch, F.H. and J.A. Chalmers (1895) The Gold Mines of the Rand. London: Macmillan & Co.

Scupham, J.R. (1898) The Buried Rivers of California as a Source of Gold. Mines and Minerals - Nov., 1898.

Outerbridge Jr., Alexander E. (1899) Marvellous Increase in Production of Gold. AP Popular Science Monthly, March, 1899.

Stone, George H. (1900) Gold Placers in Glaciated Regions. Mines and Minerals (June, 1900).

Krusch (1903) Zeitschrift für praktische Geologie, Berlin, hale a.S.: 11: 331 (Simpson analysis).

Spencer, Arthur C. (1904) The Geology of the Treadwell Ore Deposits, Douglas Island, Alaska. Transaction of the American Institute of Mining Engineers - Oct., 1904.

Douglass, Earl (1905) Source of the Placer Gold in Alder Gulch, Montana. Mines and Minerals - Feb, 1905.

Evans, Horace F. (1905) The Source of the Fraser River Gold. Mining World - Sept. 2, 1905.

Wilkinson, H.L. (1905) Deep Placer Deposits of Victoria. Engineering and Mining Journal - Dec. 30, 1905.

Hart, T.S. (1906) Victorian Auriferous Occurrences. Australian Mining Standard - July 25, Aug. 1, 1906. Serial. 2 parts.

Nenadkevwitsch (1907) Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg, Trav. Mus. géol.: 1: 81.

Gregory, John W. (1907) Gold Mining and Gold Production (Cantor Lecture). Journal of the Society of Arts - Sept. 13, 1907. Serial. lst part.

Tyrrell, J.B. (1907) Concentration of Gold in the Klondike. Economic Geology - June, 1907.

Garrison, F. Lynwood (1909) Nature of Mining and Scientific Press - May 29, 1909.

Samojloff (1909) Zeitschrift für Kristallographie, Mineralogie und Petrographie, Leipzig: 46: 286.

Cochrane, N.D. (1910) Geological Features of Fiji. Australian Mining Standard - Aug. 3, 1910.

Day & Sosman (1910), American Journal of Science: 29: 93.

Lincoln, Francis C. (1911) Types of Canadian Gold Deposits. Economic Geology: 6: 247.

Thomas, Jr., Charles S. (1911) The Bugbear of Gold. Mining and Scientific Press - May 13, 1911.

Chernik (1912) Imperial Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg, Trav. Mus. géol.: 6: 78.

Lakes, Arthur (1912) Geology of the Breckenridge Placers. Mines and Minerals - Feb, 1912.

Nenadkevwitsch (1914) Zeitschrift für Kristallographie, Mineralogie und Petrographie, Leipzig: 53: 609.

Ungemach (1916) Bulletin de la Société française de Minéralogie: 39: 5.

Goldschmidt, V. (1918) Atlas der Krystallformen. 9 volumes, atlas, and text: Volume 4: 75.

Doelter, C. (1922) Handbuch der Mineral-chemie (in 4 volumes divided into parts): 3 [2]: 187.

McKeehan (1922) Physical Review, a Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Physics: 20: 424.

Uglow, W.L. and Johnston, W.A. (1923)Origin of the Placer Gold of the Barkerville Area, Cariboo District, British Columbia, Canada. Economic Geology, vol. 18(8), Sept. 1923: 541-561.

Holgersson and Sedström (1924) Annalen der Physik, Halle, Leipzig: 75: 143.

Weiss (1925) Proceedings of the Royal Society of London: 108: 643 (artificial Au-Ag alloys).

Strukturber. (1913-1926): 504 (Au-Cu series).

Ballard, S.M. (1928) Geology and Ore Deposits of the Rocky Bar Quadrangle. Idaho Bureau of Mines and Geology - Pamphlet, no. 26, 41 pp.

Ferraz, L.C. (1929) Compendio dos Mineraes do Brazil en forma Diccionario 645pp., Rio de Janeiro: 326.

Freise, F.W. (1931) Transportation of Gold by Organic Underground Solutions. Economic Geology: 26, 421-431.

Kellogg, A.E. (1931) Origin of Flour Gold in Black Sands. Mining Journal, Phoenix, Arizona: 14(20)(March 15th): 3-4 and 49-50.

Schneiderhöhn, Hans and Ramdohr, P. (1931) Lehrbuch der Erzmikroskopie. 2 volumes: vol. 2, 714 pp.: 64.

Strukturberichte (1928-1932): 615 (Au-Cu series).

Drier and Walker (1933) Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science: 16: 294.

Holloway, H.L. (1933) Alluvial Gold. Mining Magazine: 49(2) (Aug): 82-85.

Lindgren, W. (1933) Mineral Deposits. ); fourth edition, 930pp. New York.

Owen and Yates (1933), Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science: 15: 472 (On spectroscopically pure gold).

Treskinsky, S. (1933) Desert Placers. Mining Magazine: 49(4) (Oct 1933): 219-223 [Description of type of placer deposit occurring in Persia].

Vegard and Kloster (1934) Zeitschrift für Kristallographie, Mineralogie und Petrographie, Leipzig: 89: 560.

Bürg, G. (1935) Die sekundaeren Umlagerungen und Anreicherungen des des Goldes in den Goldseifen. Zeitschrift für Praktische Geologie: 43(9) (Sept 1935): 134-139.

Fisher, M.S. (1935) Origins and Composition of Alluvial Gold, With Special Reference to Morobe Goldfield, New Guinea. Institution of Mining and Metallurgy - Bulletin 365, 366, 367, 369 and 370 Feb 1935, 46 p supp plates, (discussion) Mar p. 1-27 Apr p. 23-4, June p. 31-2 and (author's reply) July p. 5-14.

Heyerhoff, H.A. (1935) Do Gold Nuggets Grow or Are They Born that Way? Mining and Metallurgy: 16(no. 340, Apr 1935): 195.

Jurriaanse (1935) Zeitschrift für Kristallographie, Mineralogie und Petrographie, Leipzig: 90: 322 (Bi solubility in Au).

Fisher, M.S. (1936) Origin and Composition of Alluvial Gold, with Special Reference to Morobe Goldfield, New Guinea. Institution of Mining and Metallurgy - Bulletin 378, Mar 1936 p. 27-31.

Crampton, F.A. (1937) Occurrence of Gold in Stream Placers. Mining Journal (Phoenix, Arizona): 20(16): 3-4 and 33-34.

Emmons, W.H. (1937) Gold Deposits of the World. New York: McGraw Hill.

Van AUBEL, R. (1937) Sur l'origine de l'or et des pepites alluvionnaires. Chronique des Mines Coloniales: 6(64): 238-262.

Palache, Charles, Harry Berman & Clifford Frondel (1944), The System of Mineralogy of James Dwight Dana and Edward Salisbury Dana Yale University 1837-1892, Seventh edition, Volume I: 89-95.

Hoffman, A. (1947) Free Gold, Story of Canadian Mining Rinehart and Co. New York and Toronto, 420 p.

Gorbunov, E.Z. (1959) K voprosu o dal'nosti perenosa rossypnogo zolota ot korennykh istochnikov. Sovetskaya Geologiya: 2(6) (June 1959): 98-105. Transportation of gold during formation of placers].

Gorbunov, E.Z. (1963) Osobennosti razvitiya gidroseti i voprosy rossypnoi zolotonostnosti na Severo-Vostoke SSSR. Sovetskaya Geologiya n 4 Apr 1963 p 73-84 [Evolution features of hydrographic networks and problems of occurrence of gold, tin, and tungsten placers in northeast of the former Soviet Union].

Ivensen, Yu.P., Stepanov, A.A., and Chaikovskii, V.K. (1963) K probleme zolotonosnykh konglomeratov. Razvedka i Okhrana Nedr n 2 Feb 1963 p. 1-7
[Problem of gold-bearing conglomerates].

Sher, S.D. (1965) O sootnoshenii masshtabov korennoi i rossypnoi zolotonosnosti v razlichnykh zolotonosnykh provintsiyakh zemnogo shara. Sovetskaya Geologiya n 3 Mar 1965 p. 3-9 [Relationship between magnitude of primary gold deposits and gold placers in various gold-bearing provinces of world].

Hammett, A.B.J. (1966) The History of Gold. Kerrville: Braswell Printing.

Ferguson, S.A. et al (1973) Gold Deposits of Ontario (2 volumes); Ontario Division of Mines Circular 13.

Boyle (1979), The geochemistry of gold and its deposits.

Bache (1982): Les gisements d'or dans le monde.

Fleet, M.E. and Mumin, A.H. (1997): Gold-bearing arsenian pyrite and marcasite and arsenopyrite from Carlin trend gold deposits and laboratory synthesis. American Mineralogist: 82: 182-193.

Deksissa, D.J. and Koeberl, C. (2002) Geochemistry and petrography of gold-quartz-tourmaline veins of the Okote area, southern Ethiopia: implications for gold exploration. Mineralogy and Petrology: 75: 101-122.

Extra Lapis (English), No. 5 - Gold (2003).

Reich, M. Kesler, S.E., Utsunomiya, S., Palenik, C.S., Chryssoulis, S., and Ewing, R.C. (2005): Solubility of gold in arsenian pyrite. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta: 69: 2781-2796.

Frank Reith, Stephen L. Rogers, D. C. McPhail, Daryl Webb (2006): Biomineralization of Gold: Biofilms on Bacterioform Gold. Science 313, no. 5784, 233-236.

Hough, R. M., Butt, C. R. M., Reddy, S. M. & Verrall, M. (2007): Gold nuggets: supergene or hypogene? Australian Journal of Earth Sciences 54, 959-964.

Hough, R. M. et al. (2008): Naturally occurring gold nanoparticles and nanoplates. Geology 36, 571-574.

Hough, R. M., Butt, C. R. M. & Fischer-Bühner, J. (2009): The crystallography, metallography and composition of gold. Elements 5, 297-302.

Majzlan, J., Chovan, M., Andráš, P., Newville, M. & Wiedenbeck, M. (2010): The nanoparticulate nature of invisible gold in arsenopyrite from Pezinok (Slovakia). Neues Jahrbuch für Mineralogie - Abhandlungen, 187, 1-9.

R.M. Hough, R.R.P. Noble, M. Reich (2011): Natural gold nanoparticles. Ore Geology Reviews 42, 55-61.

Internet Links for Gold

Specimens:
The following Gold specimens are currently listed for sale on minfind.com.

Localities for Gold

map shows a selection of localities that have latitude and longitude coordinates recorded. Click on the symbol to view information about a locality. The symbol next to localities in the list can be used to jump to that position on the map.
Mineral and/or Locality  
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