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Share the Wealth:
How Online Resources are an Invaluable Source for Amateur Gold Prospectors

The continuing rise in the price of gold has inspired thousands of people to try their luck at the age-old practice of gold prospecting in a bid to get rich. But the traditional art of hunting for gold can take years to perfect, leaving amateurs hoping that “beginners’ luck” will help them on their quest. Luckily, the gold prospecting community is also one that is filled with like-minded and talented people who are willing to share hints and tips on how to search for the precious metal. In this digital age, it is even easier to find excellent advice on gold prospecting on the Internet, meaning that even novice searchers can get started armed with the best possible chance of finding gold.

Do your research 

For some, gold prospecting is a hobby, while for others it is a way of making a living. Whether you want to enjoy a weekend of hunting for gold or take a methodical approach to the task, it’s vital to do your research first. The Internet should be your first port of call before you make your first gold prospecting trip. Although in indirect competition, gold prospectors are bonded by a common passion, like any group who share interests, and are willing to share valuable information. Reading a gold prospecting blog, or becoming a member of the World Goldpanning Association (WGA) is a great place to start. Prospectors will share knowledge of where gold has been found in the past, where you can legally search for gold, traditional and modern prospecting methods, and will have a good knowledge of laws and regulations covering the subject. You may also want to find out more about gold and geology to help you in your search.

Laws and regulations

One of the most common pitfalls for amateur prospectors is ensuring that their search is legal. This is one area in which your fellow prospectors will be able to help you. You’d be right in thinking that most of the US is off-limits to prospectors because it is privately owned. You won’t be able to prospect here without express permission from the owner. However, the online gold prospecting community will be able to point you in the right direction for the best – and legal – places to go. Some owners of land where gold has been found will allow people to prospect on their land and keep their findings in return for a fee. This is ideal for an amateur prospector as it is a great place to meet other like-minded searchers and pick up hints and tips from more experienced prospectors.

Alternatively, online government records can tell you where gold has been found in the past but don’t think that because there are plenty of other searchers in the area that there won’t be any gold left for you. There are many high profile cases where gold has been found in areas that have already been a prospecting target for more than a hundred years. The US is one of the most heavily prospected countries in the world and various gold rushes mean that some of the popular gold prospecting areas, in particular in California and Colorado, have been searched many times before. However, there are also gold prospecting opportunities in other states including Arizona, Georgia, New Mexico and Pennsylvania to name just a few. Public records from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) of the US Department of the Interior will show you where you will be able to search.

Hone your technique

Once you’ve decided where to start your search, you’ll need the best equipment in the business to compete with your fellow prospectors. Luckily there are lots of advice guides online about the best methods for panning for gold. There are two different types of gold deposits, lode gold which is embedded in other rock and placer gold, which is typically tiny amounts of gold deposit. Panning aims to get the gold particles in your sediment to settle in the bottom of your pan, which will be easy to accomplish as they will be the heaviest material in there. It also helps you to skim off the sediment by washing off the top layer of the pan. As with any sport or hobby, one of the best ways to learn and improve is to pick up the techniques of experienced gold prospectors. Ask some of the people you meet on your expedition if you can watch how they pan for gold, or you can watch one of the many online videos which can give you a detailed overview of the correct technique. You might even want to watch the WGA’s world goldpanning competition which pits the best prospectors in the world against each other. Started in 1974, the championships aim to bring together panners from across the world, and there are also national championships in each country. This year’s world championship is being held in Sweden in August, with the US national championships in October.

Tools of the trade

The rise in popularity of gold panning has created a boom in the sales of gold pans and metal detectors. A metal detector is a big investment but is almost essential for modern-day gold hunters. Online metal detector specialists such as Nugget Shooter will be able to advise you on the best detector for your needs, depending on your budget, the type of terrain you hope to cover and what you hope to find. You’ll also be able to find tips and tricks from other users on gold prospecting forums, such as which sounds and alerts to be listening out for, and the best place to start searching once your detector has beeped.  

Sell your findings

Gold prospecting is not a guaranteed way to get rich quick, but if you find gold you’ll almost certainly find yourself a few hundred dollars better off. With the price of gold continuing to rise, even a small nugget can be worth the effort. Once you’ve found your gold, the first step is to get it certified as real gold. When it comes to getting the best price for your findings, look online for financial advice on how to get the most out of your gold. If you’ve put all that effort into finding it, you’ll want to get the best possible price. But don’t worry if you haven’t found anything just yet – your next big find could be just around the corner.   


Prospecting for Gold in the United States Accessed April 16, 2014

How to Pan for Gold Accessed April 16, 2014

Gold Prospecting in UK Accessed April 16, 2014

Achieving the best price for unwanted jewellery Accessed April 16, 2014

The World Gold Panning Association Accessed April 16, 2014

Are you Walking Past Nuggets? Accessed April 16, 2014

Gold Panning Accessed April 16, 2014

Where to Find Gold in the United States Accessed April 16, 2014

Recreational Gold Prospecting on Public Land Accessed April 16, 2014

How to get the best price when selling your gold Accessed April 16, 2014


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