Don't Think for a Minute I Don't Know Gold

 (Some rocks are...well...just rocks.)

Over the past few weeks I've received a spate of e-mails with accompanying digital photographs from folks who either have never seen gold in it's natural state or who know better but are probably trying to pull a fast one. Whatever the case, I mean no slight to anyone who has e-mailed me in this regard unless their hearts weren't in the right place...something I strongly suspect in one particular case.

Count on It

So I want to send a distinct message out to those people who've been sending me these e-mails, be those persons total newbies or greenhorns, or scammers looking to make some sort of quick score. You both came to the right place since I didn't fall off the turnip truck last week when it comes to gold and small-scale gold mining. If you're a ne'r-do-well looking for an uninformed dumb ass you just barked up the wrong tree, pure and simple. Conversely, if you're new to the mining game and you just don't know what placer or lode gold looks like, then I'm more than happy to point that deficiency out to you and set you on the right path. After all, I'm here to help newcomers and old salts alike when it comes to all things gold mining. One thing I'm not here for, however, is to bite the poorly baited hook of some thieving scammer looking to make a quick score off someone's ignorance or gullibility. In fact, I'll light your ass up in a can count on it.

Getting the Drift?

In e-mail number one I was sent a couple of photos of a fist-sized mustard yellow colored rock I guess the sender wanted me to believe was a solid gold nugget. In a second photo this same individual presented a gold pan filled with pieces of what I surmised to be the same rock after it had been busted apart. So the gold pan was filled with yellow colored pieces of rock ranging from fines to chunkers to nugget-sized pieces. The only problem was that the gold pan didn't contain gold, but yellow colored rock, many pieces of which were angular and shaped and sized just like the gravel in your driveway. Now at a quick first glance at an online photo, others might be fooled by what this sender was presenting in these two images. Almost immediately, yours truly smelled something fishy. This person exchanged a few e-mails with me about family property with gold on it, panning nuggets from tailings, and other high-falutin' claims. This person also queried me about how high my experience level was when it came to gold and gold mining expertise. When I replied "150%" and then asked if this person was sure that was gold in the photo (i.e., questioned what was presented in the photo) things went silent. No more e-mails from this person. Getting the drift here? I did a little research on this individual and lo and behold this person pops up on a state sex offender list! My read? This person was looking to perpetrate some sort of claim hustle or scam, maybe asking for money up front to develop the non-existent claim where the phony gold came from or, alternately, being bold enough to try and pass a sack load of worthless rock as gold to some unsuspecting buyer. Of course, there's a chance here I could be dead wrong and this person was on the up and up. I'll let you decide...

 (OK it's mustard yellow...and you're point is?)

God Only Knows

In another e-mail adventure, I was contacted by a seemingly earnest individual who claimed with great excitement that he'd hit the Mother of all Motherlodes while digging holes for fence posts on his property. Included in his "finds" was a nugget weighing over 40 pounds (Yes, you heard right!). To substantiate his claims this person sent me a series of photos of granitic looking (granidorite?), softball-sized rocks with some slight iron oxide stains on them. I was very gentle but blunt with this person in my first e-mail response. I said that what was presented in the photographs was NOT gold and in fact none of the pieces of rock constituted gold in any form, let alone a massive nugget (which would be worth a small fortune as a specimen today). I also mentioned I could see no evidence of free-milling gold in these very plain-looking rocks. I apologized for bursting this person's bubble and signed off with best wishes. Then I receive another e-mail from this same individual apologizing for not cleaning the rocks off first so I could get a better look at the gold. The second series of digital photos were even more telling than the first photos. There was absolutely nothing remotely resembling gold in them. So once again I repeated myself, told this person there wasn't any gold to be seen in the photos. I also suggested to this person that if my own appraisal based on 35-plus years experience wasn't enough that perhaps he'd be better off contacting a trained geologist at a local institution of learning. That or even a jeweler. Alternately, I suggested he crush some of the rock up into fine powder and pan it out to see if any very fine gold was present. After this reply on my part the e-mail line went dead as a door nail. What was going on here I truly can't say. Perhaps this person was so inexperienced or ignorant of gold and gold mining that he truly thought he'd stumbled on King Midas' riches in his own backyard. If that's the case I did my best to let him down softly. Another option is that he's a crank or a delusional of some sort. Perhaps, but I prefer to opt for the greenhorn tag. Then again, maybe this person wasn't so disingenuous after all and was testing the waters with something else in mind. God only knows.


The third e-mail along these lines I believe was a case of simple misidentification. Once again, I was sent a series of pyritic rocks with some oxidation or sulfide staining. What was visible in the photos of the rocks were small cubic crystals of iron pyrite (FeS2). The rocks were interesting from a mineralization standpoint but the sender believed the pyrite crystals to be gold. The greenest of greenhorn mistakes, to be sure. I set this individual straight on the subject at hand and explained some simple tests (hardness, malleability, scratch, luster, etc.) that he could use in the future to save himself some time and effort (not to mention embarrassment) in the future. So this is what I've been dealing with lately, more so than the average e-mails of similar theme.

 (It'd be very easy for a newbie to think this is gold.)

(Note: I'm not including any of the actual photos sent me in this post. Why? To be honest, I've been contacted by lawyers and threatened with legal action in the past by those affronted by my appraisal of their veracity or honesty. However, I'll retain the photos in question for a while. Who knows when they may come in handy?)

A Waste of Time

OK, if you didn't know it already, my main reason for spending my own money (not to mention time and effort) in writing and publishing Bedrock Dreams is a sincere desire to pass along what I know about gold and gold mining to you free of charge and to assist you in any way I can, including answering your questions. So I mean no harm to anyone, unless potential harm comes my way from others. I'm not here to ridicule anyone either...that or kick them down to the curb, including those examples mentioned in this post.

But get this and get it straight. I'm NO ONE'S fool. Got it? So if you're looking to blow smoke up my ass in some sort of nefarious enterprise you best be diddy bopping down the road a piece to easier, softer, more malleable ground. Additionally, if you don't want my honest answers to your questions, then by God DON'T ASK ME those questions. It's a waste of time for both of us. I'm no soft-soaper or BS artist looking to make you feel good even if you've got your head up your ass and won't listen when the truth is staring you straight in the face. If you don't want to learn or can't get over your own ego, same-same.

So man the ---k up, why don't ya?

(c) Jim Rocha (J.R.) 2016

Questions? E-mail me at


  1. Could be just a honest mistake thinking he/she found gold. Probably harmless. But I would be looking for rock like the second photo. So I'm fooled- looks like gold to me.

  2. I tend to agree with the mistake assessment overall. But staying wary is good business in mining and treasure hunting. I learned that fact the hard way. That's pyrite or "fool's gold" in the second photo, as you probably guessed.

  3. JR, Hard to know for sure what is going on here. I has a similar one yesterday. I had a neighbor stop by with a rifle scabbard for a 30-30. He said he bought it at the second hand store but wasn't sure what it was.....come on now....he's NEVER seen a cowboy movie?? He's in his late 60's early 70's. He claims to be a retired pilot from Alaska. Something just doesn't ring true and I don't think I like him very much,even though he has never given me reason to dislike him. I guess sometimes what seems so simple and obvious to us, might not be to them. Maybe some folks really are just this stupid,maybe they are up to something.....I dunno. Trust is a fragile thing. It never hurts to keep a wary eye open!

    1. I agree totally Gary. Keep one eye open at the very least.


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