Fool’s Gold, or Iron Pyrite, has fooled many prospectors over the years. It looks a lot like gold, especially at first glance, and so people think they’ve got a major payday on their hands. When they take it to a buyer, however, they end up leaving disappointed and broke because they’ve got a nice chunk of Fool’s Gold on their hands.

How can you tell real gold from Iron Pyrite? There are 4 key ways to tell if you’ve got the real deal or the imposter.

How Much Shine Does it Have?

When you take a look at Iron Pyrite, you’ll see that it tends to glisten instead of shine. You’ll be able to see greater amounts of light reflected based on how you are looking at the Fool’s Gold. When the light is right, it will seem to shine just like real gold tends to shine. The only problem is that gold shines in any light and at any angle. It has a consistent shine to it that Iron Pyrite just can’t replicate. If your “gold” looks brighter when you take a different look at it, then it might be trying to fool you.

How Hard Is It?

Iron Pyrite is actually harder than copper, so you can easily test your nugget to see if it is real if you’ve got an old penny. Pennies that were made before 1982 are 95% copper, so you’ll be able to use the penny to scratch the Fool’s Gold. If a scratch is left, then you’ve got something that is fairly worthless in your possession. If you don’t see a scratch, then there’s a good chance that you’ve got some gold on your hands! Just be careful when you do this so that you don’t damage the gold and limit the amount you can get from it.

What Type of Residue Does It Have?

One of the easiest ways to tell if you’ve got Fool’s Gold is to rub the nugget that you’ve got against a white porcelain sink. If you’ve got Iron Pyrite, then it will leave a powdery residue in the sink that can be either green, black, or some mixture of the two colors together. If you’ve got a gold nugget on your hands, then you’ll be left with a yellow residue instead. If you see yellow rubbing off, then stop because that gold dust is money that will get washed down the drain!

What Type of Edge Does It Have?

If you’re out prospecting for gold, then seeing what it looks like in its natural form can give you a hint as to what you have. Iron Pyrite tends to have very sharp edges. It has crisp, clean lines that make it have a geometric look. Gold, on the other hand, has rounder edges because it is a softer metal. It gets worn down by the elements more than Fool’s Gold, so it tends to be smoother as well.

Don’t get fooled like the prospectors of old! By being able to tell the difference between real gold and Fool’s Gold, you’ll be able to know what you have without having any false hopes of a large payday.