While researching for the site, I wanted to add a new tag for minerals and mineralogy and it left me wondering if gold was a mineral or not. I knew it was a metal but it had come up in conversations about minerals… so I looked it up and found this:
Minerals are generally defined in earth sciences as naturally occurring crystalline solids. This means that they are created without any interference from other lifeforms, like humans or animals, and form with a crystal structure.
Metals, on the other hand, are elementary substances that are crystalline when they are solid and naturally occur in minerals. What’s more, they are not mutually exclusive from being minerals. Gold, along with copper and silver, are metals that also occur in nature as crystalline solids.
Gold is an elementary substance—a pure substance made up of the same elements that can’t be broken into two or more different substances. Gold, as most gold buyers know, is produced by converting the material into the metallic ores with which we’re familiar. But given gold’s many valuable properties—including being very malleable and conducting electricity well—it is also used for technology and other industries that reduce it down.
In short, gold is both a mineral and a metal, making it a dynamic precious metal with a wide array of applications.
And then, there’s fool’s gold (pyrite) which is actually more gold than we first thought. Asked and answered.