Part of the fun of searching for gold in California is knowing just how rare it is. The history of gold points to a lot of other unique discoveries. After all, there are metals out there even more valuable than gold. Here are a handful that are even rarer!
Iridium: Iridium doesn’t share much in common with gold, but all the metals on this list are noble metals – meaning they resist corrosion. Iridium is brittle and shares none of gold’s softness and malleability. It’s most famous for so much of it marking the K-T boundary, a layer in sediment that marks 65 million years ago. Iridium is much more common in asteroids than it is here on Earth. It’s a major piece of supporting evidence that an asteroid had a hand in killing off the dinosaurs.
- Osmium: Osmium is two times denser than lead, and is the densest of all naturally occurring elements. It’s used in surgical implants and electronics where durability is crucial.
- Rhenium: This is a silver metal that is sometimes used in jet engines. Isotopes of rhenium are also used in the treatment of liver cancer.
- Rhodium: Gold and rhodium share a close relationship in jewelry, where some white gold is plated with rhodium. It improves the look of the gold. Rhodium is used in mammography systems and in aircraft parts.
- Ruthenium: Another silver metal, ruthenium is used to harden other metals that are similar in nature, such as palladium and platinum.
- Palladium: A component of emissions controls, electronics, and fuel cells, palladium is similar to the next entry, platinum, in many ways.
- Platinum: Platinum is sometimes used in jewelry, but it’s often used for more practical purposes: in electronics, and in car parts such as spark plugs or vehicle emissions controls. It’s even used in drugs that help treat cancer!
Now, you won’t find these panning for gold in a river, and searching for them can prove far more difficult and costly. That’s why gold is a more cost-effective metal to seek out – this and its appeal in jewelry, of course. Learn to pan for gold, and learn about the history of gold in California, at Roaring Camp Mining!