Fool's Gold

Written By:
Paul Tracy
Updated August 5, 2020

What is Fool's Gold?

Fool's gold is a shiny mineral called pyrite which bears great resemblance to, and is often confused with, real gold.

How Does Fool's Gold Work?

Actually an iron-based mineral, pyrite is known for being yellow and shiny and appearing no different from real gold. But unlike real gold, fool's gold bears little, if any, intrinsic, social, or market value. Fool's gold has historically been found in mass quantities and mistaken for gold ore. Its name refers to those it "fools" into believing they have discovered a gold mine. 

Why Does Fool's Gold Matter?

Though it's no longer a term specific to mining, the term fool's gold is still often used to describe an investment that appears promising to the uninformed, but whose underlying value is actually nothing.