I've had people ask me about removing the quartz on Moore Creek gold specimens. Much of the gold found at Moore Creek has a lot of quartz attached. Some of it is very attractive as it, but much of it is just rocks with gold in it. I've thought that it would be unlikely that the enclosed gold would be continuous enough to end up with large gold nuggets but that instead you might end up with a pile of smaller gold. I have not bothered to ever put it to the test to find out.
Ken (he of the 32.2 oz nugget) had about a pound of Moore Creek specimens that he went ahead and had soaked in hydrofluoric acid. Before you think of doing this yourself this is some very dangerous stuff indeed. Ken paid to have it done by a professional. Much to my surprise nearly all the specimens proved to be solid gold inside. The quartz in most cases was hiding fairly solid gold cores. The gold was real rough after having the quartz removed, so Ken ran it awhile in a rock tumbler to smooth it up a bit. It came out looking great in my opinion.
Moore Creek gold specimens found by Steve Herschbach
He did end up with a some small stuff but not as much as I would have thought. Some formulations of Whink brand rust remover are a very weak solution of hydrofluoric acid, and I have been told that if you just let specimens soak in this long enough, refreshing the solution periodically, that similar results can be obtained. Whink is sold over the counter in grocery stores so can't be all that dangerous to handle, but still use appropriate caution if you attempt this. Acid is still acid, no matter how weak. More information on cleaning gold nuggets and specimens.
Moore Creek gold specimens treated with acid to remove quartz
~ Steve Herschbach
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