You do not need to find massive gold deposits in order to be a successful prospector. Any seasoned pro will tell you it is not just a hobby, but a way of life, and enjoyment is the most important thing to walk away with.
Photographer and writer Sarina Finkelstein spent time in the creeks of the Sierra Nevada mountains chronicling modern prospectors and noticed this “intriguing” lifestyle.
“I think there is a new itch — a backlash against the corporate workspace,” she said, according to Wired. “A longing to break out of the cubicle and work with your hands. To explore, forage, take a gamble, and hunt treasure.”
Finkelstein said that, in an age when “so much business and commerce is based on abstract ideas, it's a beautiful thing.”
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Still, it helps when you actually come across gold during your escapades and some basic tips could make your gold prospecting more successful.
1. Pick your spot wisely— There are certain factors to take into account that could better your chances of finding gold. RareGoldNuggets.com noted that, due to its weight, gold gathers and settles deep down in spots such as inside bends of rivers and streams or behind boulders. These are good spots to set up camp.
2. Dig deep— As RareGoldNuggets.com pointed out, once gold settles, it moves downward in the strata of the gravel until it hits bedrock. It pays to dig deep in search of gold instead of just skimming the surface.
3. Be thorough— It takes some technique when it comes to gold sand and gravel panning, GoodMenProject.com noted. Try not to overload your pan after stirring water in, and make sure you carefully pour the water out over the grooved edge of the pan. Be slow and thorough with this process.
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4. Pan out lighter gravel— As you begin to sort through the material in your pan, make sure there is plenty of water to allow for heavier contents to move downward so that you can work through some of the lighter gravels, according to HowToFindGoldNuggets.com. Make sure you tip the pan and agitate the mixture to ensure all the gold stays towards the bottom of the pan.
5. Don't overlook small flakes— Jim Swinney, one of the world's most successful gold prospectors, suggested looking for the little pieces, which are the "bread and butter" pieces, according to an interview with GoldGold.com. "You can find the little pieces, you are not going to miss the big ones! Look for the 'ochre-colored (bright red dirt) pockets," he said.
6. Picking out the gold bits— there are a number of ways to separate the gold from other heavy minerals but a quick way is to use a small globule of clean mercury, which will pick up untarnished gold pieces when rolled around in a pan, said 911 Metallurgist.
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