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Gold Ore! What is it?

Updated on February 5, 2013

What Is Gold Ore?

With the price of gold, everyone is scrambling to buy or stockpile it as a hedge for the future and it seems that quite a few people think that buying gold ore is one way to do this. It is not!

The easiest way to explain this, is that gold ore comes from a mine and consists of a rock with tiny specks of gold. Usually, this "rock" also has traces of silver and platinum. The problem is that this gold silver and platinum are usually found in such small amounts that it takes an average of three tons of gold ore to obtain one once of gold.

To make mining gold ore profitable, it takes a lot of heavy equipment to remove tons of it from the ground and more equipment to separate the precious metals from the rock or waste material.

Mojave Nugget, a gold nugget weighing 156 ounces.
Mojave Nugget, a gold nugget weighing 156 ounces.

Buying Gold Ore!

Should you buy gold ore as an investment? I would have to say, NO!

If you're interested in a piece of gold ore as a curiosity or collectible, you can buy a piece on eBay (there's a link below), but don't buy it with the idea that you are going to get enough gold out of it to make it worth the money.

Think about it! Selling gold ore on eBay is more profitable then smelting it down for the gold.

Pieces of gold ore are selling on eBay like crazy. They can be bought for anywhere from a few bucks to twenty or thirty bucks a piece. These pieces can vary in weight from about 15 grams to about 100 grams.

At this time, gold is selling at approx. $1700 an ounce. There are just a little over 31 grams in an ounce.

It takes about three tons of gold ore and a lot of work to obtain one ounce of gold or to make $1700. Figure it out. How many forty or fifty gram pieces of gold ore can you get in three tons? How much money can you make selling three tons worth of these pieces on eBay at ten or twenty dollars a piece? A lot more then $1700!!!!!

Now, think about how much gold can be found in a 50 gram piece of ore if it takes three tons of ore to get 1 ounce of gold! Still think that gold ore is a good investment?

gold price charts provided by

Gold Nuggets!

Gold nuggets can be a good investment if you can buy them at the right price.

Gold nuggets are different then gold ore. Nuggets can be found using a metal detector or panning from a stream and they can be nearly pure gold. They can assey out as much as 20 to 22 carat.

Again, you can buy gold nuggets on eBay (you can find a link below), but you still need to use caution when buying. Gold nuggets can reach higher prices then what the actual gold value is simply because some people like the idea of owning a gold nugget.

When bidding on gold nuggets, there are a few things to remember:

1. A gold nugget is not worth any more then the spot price of gold.

2. The carat of a nugget is important because the spot price for gold is for 24 carat gold.

3. Pictures of a gold nugget make the nugget seem a lot bigger then it actually is. One gram of gold is very small and most of the nuggets that you'll find on eBay are only a fraction of a gram. Know what size nugget you are bidding on.

4. Some of the "gold" that is listed on eBay is not even real gold. Check out the sellers feedback to see if the person that you are buying from is reliable.

1 troy ounce = 31.1 grams. This means that at $1,700 an ounce, one gram of pure gold is worth approx. $54.66. Gold nuggets (high grade nuggets) will only test at about 20 to 22 carats while pure gold tests at 24 carats.

Here's An Idea!

I've bought six of these pieces of gold ore through eBay myself. Not because I thought that I was going to get rich, but as keepsakes. It might just be something that you might like to do yourself once I explain.

I have five grandkids and I've made a small "treasure chest" for each of them. Over the years, I've picked up little items to put in the "treasure chests" so that when I'm gone, they'll each have something from Grandpa. Mostly it's just odd-ball things that they would probably never pick up for themselves. Things like rough rubies and emeralds, sports autographs, each a set of the state quarters and yes, a piece of gold ore.

I know! I said five grandkids, yet I also said that I had bought six pieces of gold ore. Guess I'm still a kid at heart because I had to get one for myself while I was at it.

There are also a few things in the chests that have special meanings for us, but you get the idea. I don't know what anyone else thinks of the idea, but I'm hoping the grandkids will like it.

Gold Ore On Ebay!

If you're still looking for gold ore, you can find it here.

Gold Ore Won On eBay!
Gold Ore Won On eBay!

My Gold Ore From eBay!

I said earlier that I was buying six pieces of gold ore to put in my grandkids "treasure chest", but today I found a couple of auctions that I should have seen earlier.

The 2lbs of gold ore shown in this picture was offered at a starting bid of $5! This was just one of the pictures. From seeing the other pictures, there should be about six pieces. Instead of bidding on six different auctions, I could have gotten my six pieces out of this one auction. Now, the auction title says "Gold Ore" and in the discription, it says "ASSAYER LOT 2 POUNDS FROM THE HEART OF THE CALIFORNIA MOTHER LOAD"!

Anyway, I went ahead and bid on it, winning the auction for $6 with free shipping. Pretty cheap, and the seller has 100% positive feedback, so I'm anxious to see what arrives in the mail.

Will I get some good gold ore or will it be just some rocks that I could pick up out in the field behind the house? Stop back later to find out because once it gets here, I'll let you know what I end up getting. I may have wasted $6 but it will be worth it just to find out what is being sold as gold ore.

UPDATE! 12/23/12

My two pounds of gold ore was shipped really fast as I already received it. I would imagine the ore did come from a gold mine but it was pretty much what I had expected. Two pounds of rock with some quartz running through the pieces. Definitly no gold though.

Just remember, if you're bidding on a piece of gold ore on eBay, do it because you just want to own a piece of ore. Not because you expect to find a bag of gold dust!

Photographer: Nate Cull from Christchurch, New Zealand
Photographer: Nate Cull from Christchurch, New Zealand

Gold Paydirt!

Are the auctions that are selling "gold paydirt" ripoffs?

I guess the first thing to question is, just what is paydirt? According to Wikipedia, paydirt or pay dirt may refer to: Pay gravel, a nickname for gravel with a high concentration of gold and other precious metals.

I'm afraid that any "paydirt" that you buy from eBay will not meet this discription! You will find auctions where you can buy anything from a few ounces of so-called "paydirt" that are called samples, for a few bucks to auctions that offer five or ten pounds of "paydirt" that are selling for big bucks. Chances are almost 100% sure that all you'll receive is a bag of dirt or rock.

This so-called paydirt will never have a high concentration of gold and other precious metals! While I wouldn't bet on it, these bags of dirt may well have been removed from a real gold claim, but if there was ever any decent amount of gold in them, that gold is long gone before the bag is shipped to you.

Some sellers will even tell you that they "salt" the bags with a few specks of gold just so that you'll be sure to find some. Even then the specks of gold are so small that you need a magnafying glass to find them.

If anyone has bought one of these bags of "paydirt" with enough gold to even pay the postage, I have never heard of it!

If you have bought one with actual gold in it, please by all means, let us know about it in the Guestbook!

Gold Nuggets On eBay!

You can get some great buys by bidding for gold nuggets on eBay but know what you are bidding on.

Gold Mining in the 21st Century: The Complete Book of Modern Gold Mining Procedures
Gold Mining in the 21st Century: The Complete Book of Modern Gold Mining Procedures

This one book outlines EVERYTHING a beginner will need and want to know about getting started at gold mining today, either as a hobby or as a small-scale commercial activity. In easy to understand language, supported by clear photographs and graphic demonstrations, this book covers all of the important subjects-including what gold is and looks like, where it comes from and where to find it, how gold deposits and how to find and recover it, and also touches on the legal aspects of how to claim the gold for yourself. The book covers up-to-date mining procedures of panning gold, sluicing, dredging, high banking, drywashing, electronic probing, hardrock mining, basic refining techniques, cleaning procedures, selling gold, and much, much more. Herein lies the most comprehensive and thorough work on electronic prospecting techniques (locating gold with metal detectors) available in a publication on the market today.


Have you had any experience with gold ore or have questions about buying it? Have you bought gold on eBay only to find out that it isn't really gold?

Do you have any questions that are not answered here? Maybe one of our visitors can give you an answer if I can't.

Share with the rest of us!


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    • Brewsterboy profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      I just lost a bid on eBay! My bid would have been the Spot price for the gold today but the winning bid was about twice that. Be careful bidding on gold! You may win your auction, but paying twice the going price is rediculous.


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