Gold is a hidden treasure that takes work to discover, so it helps to have an idea of what you are doing when panning for the elusive mineral.
With the right skill, equipment, and know how, any enthusiastic gold prospector can turn their hobby into a profitable endeavor. You just need to know where to start.
To ensure you make the most of your gold-panning experience, there are several tips and techniques to consider when out in the field.
1. The correct gear — If you are new to panning for gold, it is essential to have the correct equipment and appropriate gear to ensure your experience is enjoyable. In addition to your gold prospecting pan, you should invest in a strainer (or classifier), glass vials to store deposits, tweezers to pick out gold flakes, waterproof boots, and a fold-up chair, according to LuckyPanner.com.
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2. Know where to look — It may seem counterproductive, but a good place to start your search is in areas where gold has already been discovered, RareGoldNuggets.com reports. Gold tends to be more abundant in places where it has previously been discovered.
3. Finding the right spot — Once you have established a location, you will need to find the best place to pan for gold. LuckyPanner.com recommends setting up by a slow-moving stream or river, and be sure to check that you are not trespassing or illegally prospecting.
4. Classify your material — Your gold-panning kit should include a classifier, which serves as a sieve to separate larger material. It will help your panning if you take the time to classify out larger rocks and gravel instead of wasting precious space in your gold pan with large items that do not contain gold, RareGoldNuggets.com noted. Remember, unless you are lucky enough to stumble upon a massive nugget, most gold tends to be tiny.
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5. Use a magnet— As you go about your panning, you will find black sand gathering at the bottom of your band. This is highly magnetic, LuckyPanner.com noted, and a magnet can help you quickly separate if from any gold flakes.
6. Invest in a metal detector— Gold and metal detectors can be used to enhance your experience, especially if you are looking specifically for larger nuggets, HowToFindGoldNuggets.com reported. The device is designed to locate metal buried underground but you can miss smaller gold flakes.
7. Don't get discouraged — Prospecting is about trial and error, but those who get discouraged and give up easily will never discover anything. As GoldGold.com notes, panning is about judgment, which comes with experience, and patience will go a long way in ensuring your hobby is fruitful.
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