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The Mineralogy of Gold

General Properties
Atomic Number:79
Standard atomic weight (Ar):196.966569(4)
Electron configuration:[Xe] 4f14 5d10 6s1
Gold - Au
Atomic Properties
Electronegativity (Pauling scale):2.54
Atomic Radius:174 pm
Ionic Radius:137 pm (+1)
Van der Waals Radius:166 pm
1st Ionization energy:890 kJ/mol
1st Electron affinity:-223 kJ/mol
Oxidation States:-1,1,2,3,5
Physical Properties
Standard State:solid
Bonding Type:metallic
Melting Point:1337 K
Boiling Point:3129 K
Density:19.3 g/cm3
Metal/Non-Metal:transition metal
Main isotopes of Gold
Isotope% in NatureHalf LifeDecay typeDecay product
197Au100%-α ?193Ir
Main ions of Gold
NameIonExample minerals
Other Information
Year Discovered:before 6000 BC
Discovered By:In the Middle East
Named For:Anglo-Saxon: "gold" (ghel) - "yellow/ bright"
CPK color coding:#FFD123
External Links:WikipediaWebElementsLos Alamos National LaboratoryTheodore Gray's
Simple Compounds and Mineral Names
Sulfidesdigold sulfideAu2S+1
digold trisulfideAu2S3+3
Selenidesgold selenideAuSe+2
digold triselenideAu2Se3+3
Telluridesgold ditellurideAuTe2+4Calaverite
digold tritellurideAu2Te3+3Montbrayite
digold tetratellurideAu2Te4+4Sylvanite
Fluoridesgold trifluorideAuF3+3
gold pentafluorideAuF5+5
Chloridesgold chlorideAuCl+1
digold hexachloride[AuCl3]2+3
tetragold octachlorideAu4Cl8+1,+3
Bromidesgold bromideAuBr+2
digold hexabromide[AuBr3]2+3
Iodidesgold iodideAuI+1
gold triiodideAuI3+3
Oxidesdigold trioxideAu2O3+3
Mineral Diversity of Gold
1. Elements 10 valid mineral species
2. Sulfides And Sulfosalts 20 valid mineral species
Total:30 valid species containing essential Gold
Geochemistry of Gold
Goldschmidt classification:Siderophile
Elemental Abundance for Gold
Crust (CRC Handbook)4 x 10-9mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Kaye & Laby)2 x 10-9mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Greenwood)4 x 10-9mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Ahrens/Taylor)3.0 x 10-9mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Ahrens/Wänke)4.07 x 10-9mass fraction, kg/kg
Upper Crust (Ahrens/Taylor)1.8 x 10-9mass fraction, kg/kg
Sea Water (CRC Handbook)4 x 10-12mass per volume fraction, kg/L
Sea Water (Kaye & Laby)1.1 x 10-11mass per volume fraction, kg/L
The Sun (Kaye & Laby)3.0 x 10-7atom mole fraction relative to Si=1
Solar System (Kaye & Laby)1.9 x 10-7atom mole fraction relative to Si=1
Solar System (Ahrens)1.87 x 10-7 (15%)atom mole fraction relative to Si=1 (% uncertainty)
Element association of Gold in the Mineral World
This table compares the known valid mineral species listed listed with Gold and the other elements listed based on the official IMA formula. Note that unlike other sections on this page this includes non-essential elements.

The first data column contains the total number of minerals listed with Gold and the element listed for that row.

The second data column lists this number as a percentage of all minerals listed with Gold.

The final data column compares this percentage against the percentage of all minerals that contain the element listed in each row.

Click on a heading to sort.
ElementValid Minerals listed with element and Gold% of Au mineralsRelative to % in all minerals
Tellurium41 minerals with Au and Te42.71%1,246.94% higher
Silver33 minerals with Au and Ag34.38%891.36% higher
Lead28 minerals with Au and Pb29.17%182.91% higher
Sulfur26 minerals with Au and S27.08%28.35% higher
Copper23 minerals with Au and Cu23.96%80.96% higher
Antimony15 minerals with Au and Sb15.63%214.42% higher
Bismuth11 minerals with Au and Bi11.46%166.36% higher
Selenium9 minerals with Au and Se9.38%295.00% higher
Mercury5 minerals with Au and Hg5.21%183.72% higher
Thallium5 minerals with Au and Tl5.21%290.12% higher
Tin4 minerals with Au and Sn4.17%131.66% higher
Iron3 minerals with Au and Fe3.13%85.87% lower
Palladium1 mineral with Au and Pd1.04%20.88% lower
Platinum1 mineral with Au and Pt1.04%60.51% higher
Periodic Table
1H 2He
3Li 4Be 5B 6C 7N 8O 9F 10Ne
11Na 12Mg 13Al 14Si 15P 16S 17Cl 18Ar
19K 20Ca 21Sc 22Ti 23V 24Cr 25Mn 26Fe 27Co 28Ni 29Cu 30Zn 31Ga 32Ge 33As 34Se 35Br 36Kr
37Rb 38Sr 39Y 40Zr 41Nb 42Mo 43Tc 44Ru 45Rh 46Pd 47Ag 48Cd 49In 50Sn 51Sb 52Te 53I 54Xe
55Cs 56Ba 57La 72Hf 73Ta 74W 75Re 76Os 77Ir 78Pt 79Au 80Hg 81Tl 82Pb 83Bi 84Po 85At 86Rn
87Fr 88Ra 89Ac 104Rd 105Db 106Sg 107Bh 108Hs 109Mt 110Ds 111Rg 112Cn 113Nh 114Fl 115Mc 116Lv 117Ts 118Og
58Ce 59Pr 60Nd 61Pm 62Sm 63Eu 64Gd 65Tb 66Dy 67Ho 68Er 69Tm 70Yb 71Lu
90Th 91Pa 92U 93Np 94Pu 95Am 96Cm 97Bk 98Cf 99Es 100Fm 101Md 102No 103Lr
Default Categories CPK Electronegativity Atomic Radius Lowest Oxidation Highest Oxidation Crustal Abundance Goldschmidt Mineral Species Minerals with Au Relative Frequency
Platinum << Gold >> Mercury

Most widespread minerals containing Gold
This list of minerals containing Gold is built from the locality database. This is based on the number of localities entered for mineral species and is therefore slanted towards minerals interesting to collectors with less coverage of common rock-forming-minerals so it does not give an undistorted distribution of Gold mineral species. It is more useful when comparing rare species rather than common species.
NameFormulaCrystal SystemMindat Localities

Localities with greatest number of different Gold mineral species
map should go here
2Kockbulak mine (Kochbulak Au-Ag-Te deposit), Viloyati Sogd (Viloyati Sughd; Viloyati Khodzhent; Viloyati Leninabad), Tajikistan11 Au minerals
4Kairagach Au deposit (Kaygarach), Chatkal-Kuraminskii Range, Angren Region, Tashkent Viloyati (Toshkent), Uzbekistan10 Au minerals
7Aginskoe Au deposit (Aginskoye deposit), Central Kamchatka mining district, Kamchatka Oblast', Far-Eastern Region, Russia9 Au minerals
8Manka Au deposit, Altai Mts (Rudnyi Altai), Eastern Kazakhstan Province (Shyghys Qazaqstan Oblysy; Vostochno-Kazakhstanskaya Oblast'), Kazakhstan9 Au minerals

Spotted a mistake/omission? - These pages are a work in progress, so please send all comments/corrections to Thank you.

Constants and physical property data from:

David R. Lide (ed.), CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, 85th Edition. CRC Press. Boca Raton, Florida (2005).
Kaye and Laby Tables of Physical & Chemical Constants (2005). Section 3.1.3, Abundances of the elements
A. Earnshaw, N. Greenwood, Chemistry of the Elements, 2nd edition, Butterworth-Heinemann, (1997)
Thomas J. Ahrens (ed.), Global Earth Physics : A Handbook of Physical Constants, American Geophysical Union (1995)
L.B. Railsback, An Earth Scientist's Periodic Table of the Elements and Their Ions : Geology 31:9 p737-740 (2003)
Emsley, J. Nature's Building Blocks: An A-Z Guide to the Elements. New York: Oxford University Press (2001)
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