Friday, July 25, 2014

All That Glitters

All That Glitters



   Stanley was super excited when he dug this out of the river. The first thing he saw was the stained quartz with the vein of white quartz running through it. He didn't see the gold until he had dug it out and turned it over. At first glance he thought we were rich. That huge gold nugget at the top and the vein of gold running through the entire rock was enough to make anyone excited. However, as soon as he turned it and saw the color change he knew that all he had was a great looking specimen of iron pyrite, better known as Fools Gold. At least Stanley knew enough to tell the difference and didn't start yelling and start doing the gold dance (anyone other than me familiar with the gold dance?). Even if he had of believed it was a real gold nugget there were only the two of us up there and he had me sitting there to burst that bubble. He was lucky in that respect.

   On the other hand. I remember the first time I was out on my own and found the mother of gold nuggets. It was about the size of a softball and solid gold! The prettiest thing I had every laid eyes on and as I stood there staring at it I just knew I was standing on one of the richest gold claims in the whole state! I was so excited I didn't even bother to pack up my camp, I just hopped in the pickup and headed to town.

   I broke every speed limit there was on the way to the assayers office. I came sliding and squealing tires into their parking lot just missing another pickup and parked crossways of about three spaces. Jumped out of the truck and went running into the office. Between miners and the folks that worked there, there must have been a dozen people in the office. I didn't even slow down I went running up to the counter, plopped that giant nugget down on the counter and yelled "look what I got!!", stepped back with a huge smile on my face and waited for the reaction from everyone.

   I got a reaction alright but it wasn't quite the one I had been expecting. There wasn't a sound for a couple of minutes. I expected that because I was sure everyone would be so impressed over the size of the nugget that it would leave the speechless. I also expected everyone to start patting me on the back and congratulating me for the great find. What I did not expect was one of the miners to start laughing. Why was he laughing? Jealous because I had found such a big nugget. I looked around the office and noticed that the guy behind the counter along with everyone else was smiling and looking like he was trying hard not to laugh.

  He picked up the nugget, turned it all around to take a good look at it and kind of weighted it in his hand before he put it back on the counter. "That is one really nice nugget" he said and after a minute he added "of pyrite".

   As soon as he said that everyone in the office busted out laughing. They made so much noise that the folks working in back came out to see what was going on. The counter guy was laughing so hard he couldn't even tell them what was so funny, he just held my nugget up so they could see it. I felt about the size of a pigmy mouse. He finally calmed down enough to tell me that he was sorry but what I had was a nice chunk of fools gold that wasn't worth the gas money I had spent to bring it in. I hung my head, took my worthless piece of rock and left never to return to that office even after I started finding real gold!

   Back when I first started prospecting I knew about fools gold but I had only seen small specks of it in creek beds. I had never seen big chunks or veins and to tell the truth I didn't even know it came like that. I had no one around to tell me about it or show me the difference so when I saw that huge nugget my eyes saw what I wanted to see instead of what was there

   I have introduced lots of folks to prospecting and rock hounding over the years. I have seen lots of people get really excited of chunks of fools gold and after what happened to me, I have never laughed or made fun of them when they mistook it for real gold. I never will!