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How to Pan for Gold


Well, you may not strike it rich like they did in California, but it sure is fun prospecting for gold. Now, you may think the first major Gold Rush was in California, but it wasn’t.

In 1828, in the foothills of the Appalachians in the northeast portion of Georgia, there was a town called Dahlonega that had experienced the first Gold rush, 20 years prior to California’s.

Benjamin Parks, a deer hunter, tripped over a large yellow metal object. It was gold. The word got out and you had about 15,000 miners in one year rushing to Dahlonega.

You can still visit a couple of restored gold mines, The Consolidated Gold Mine and Crisson Gold Mine to get some history of the area and to try your hand on panning for gold there.

So, that is a brief history how the gold was discovered. People still do recreational gold panning in the area.

You can even pan for gold or gems at other mines. The way that works is you have different qualities of gold nuggets you’re going for.

The higher the price you pay for a bucket of dirt, the better quality of gold you might find. You can also pan for gems.

Now, these could be seeded meaning they place the gold/gems in the buckets, but it is still fun to pan in hopes that you come across one or more.

For the real die hards who want to get out there and really pan for gold, you could join the Gold Prospectors Association of America for a modest yearly subscription.

You can go on trips throughout the US and pan with a group of people. What they do is for a small fee, you can pan in an for area that is suppose to be known for good panning.

You pool your gold finds together and divide them up at the end of the trip. We’re going on one of their trips in April. It will cost $100 for my husband and me.

All we have to do is go two half days out of the 3 day trip. Then on the last day we divide any gold everyone finds.

Or, you can pan on your own in an area like Dahlonega.

First, familiarize yourself with the area or nearby areas that are known for gold. Locals or park officials can give you an idea of where to look.

Choose an area around a creek or a river. Places where the water slows down like a sandbar or rocks are good areas to look for gold.

Then you should get some mining supplies like a pan with ridges, tweezers, and a sniffer bottle to collect any small amounts you might find. There are other supplies you can purchase but these are a good start to have.

Fill the top of the pan with sand from edge of the creek or river. Also, try sands from various depths of the river.

Next fill the pan with some of the water and swirl around. Gold will fall to the bottom. Tilt the pan away from you so some of the water is going out with the lighter sand.

Don’t swish to hard. Remember the lighter sand will float to the top and gold will sink to the bottom.

After you work it more, then swish a little harder and faster to work the sand out of the pan but making sure you aren’t losing any potential gold.

Keep your eyes on the pan. And don’t be fooled by the fool’s gold which is called Pyrite. If you can crush it, then it’s not gold. Remember, gold is shiny and heavy.

When you start seeing the black sand is when potential gold would be found. And keep all gold samples in little vial bottles.

You may not strike it rich but if you like fishing, you’ll like gold panning. And you won’t have to clean it because it will be nice and sparkling.