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Price Gold Or Pan for Gold?

panning-for-goldThe glimmer of yellow metal in the bottom of  a sluice pan is reflecting in eyes of the man holding the pan.

“This is like working for yourself,” says Mike DeMello.  “This is the only way to work.”

With the current economic downturn  hitting California extra hard, he may be right on the money.  Gold prices were near record highs earlier this year, and now have slid back below $900 an ounce, but the lure of gold is now attracting Southern Californians into the mountains again for gold panning.

It’s over 150 years after the first gold rush that propelled California’s rapid growth in the 1800’s, but the dream of “striking it rich” is drawing panners back to sit beside mountain streams sifting and sorting through muddy waters, hoping to see the golden glint.

Unemployment is at 10.5% statewide there, which also leaves people with a lot of time on their hands.

“There’s quite a bit of new activity,” according to Mark Springer, a U.S. Bureau of Land Management geologist based in Sacramento.   “A lot of people are out prospecting for gold in particular because the price is pretty high right now.”

With the market still on an apparent rollercoaster ride, it’s hard to be sure of what to do.  The price of gold fell last week as investors returned to the market, ready to risk again.  Will it pay off?  Whether the market is ready to straighten out remains unknown.  But panning for gold, in essence, finding or making your own fortune, can be a popular way to fill time while waiting, and those dratted Californians have it on us once again!  It could be found as close as in their own backyards.

Gold has been found in most locations around the state of California, from near the Oregon border to the Mother Lode near Yosemite across to the deserts of Arizona and down to Mexico.  The heavy seasonal rains and melting snow erode minerals, including gold, found in deposits at higher altitudes and wash them down the streams and rivers to the valleys below.

Most of the gold is found by professional mining companies.  In fact, in each of the last two years, mining claims in California have grown by more than 3,000.  In the first three months of this year, 1173 more claims were filed according to government figures.  As of the end of March, there were nearly 25,000 active claims in the state.

That doesn’t take into account the fact that anyone can mine gold without a claim and that miners are extremely secretive people.   They often won’t say where they found the gold as they bring it in to market.

But that’s okay with us.  As we all know here at Apples of Gold, the best place to find gold and invest in gold is at a reputable jeweler.

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