Can a magnet pick up gold?

Unfortunately not, it would be very convenient if one could pick up gold with a magnet. It could replace a metal detector in many cases when you metal detects for gold. Pure gold is not magnetic, and gold alloys are not magnetic unless they have magnetic impurities in them. It’s safe to say that for practical purposes, gold is not magnetic.

Can the magnets for magnet fishing pick up pure gold?

If you put gold in a magnetic field, it magnetizes a tiny bit.  However, only as long as it’s in the field, and the direction of the magnetization makes it weakly repel the magnet.  Magnets strongly attract materials (like iron) which already themselves have magnetic domains. They do not significantly attract many other metals like gold, aluminium, and silver.

Pure gold is slightly repelled, even in a strong magnetic field so that you can’t pick it up with a magnet. Sorry!

Magnet fishing for gold.

Most gold used in jewellery is a mix of silver and gold. However, like gold, silver isn’t attracted to a magnet. Silver is very similar to gold. It does not turn magnetic on its own. In a magnetic field, it magnetizes a very tiny amount, in the direction to repel the field.

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pirate-magnet pick up gold

It is not uncommon that some earrings and some bracelet have tiny parts made of iron/steel, especially in the locking mechanism. These tiny parts can display some weak magnetism. In those cases, a magnet used for example for magnet fishing can pick up jewellery like chains, bracelets and earrings. So if your “pure gold” is magnetic, then there is possibly iron inside. There may even be other metals like copper, platinum, or nickel mixed with the gold.

14kt gold

There are alloys of gold, for example, gold with more than about 20% of the atoms replaced by iron, which do magnetize on their own, at least when they are very cold, much colder than room temperature. 14kt gold is 58.3% gold and the rest “filler” metals that can range all over the place depending on who made the gold. 

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4 comments on “
  1. Magnet fishing says:

    Unfortunately not, would be quite more fun if our magnets could pick up some gold 🙂

  2. Grace says:

    Hello i leran how to magnent fish in North West Arkansas. I love going out an fine suff.

  3. David says:

    That maximov guy on YouTube is picking up his gold from the river with a magnet.

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