The potential for finding gold in New Jersey is going to be highly dependent on the past glacial events that brought gold bearing material down from sources in eastern Canada. As these glaciers receded, they left behind auriferous gravels that can be found scattered all throughout the northern parts of the United States.
In many states, particularly in the Northeast and Midwest, there are almost no local sources of lode gold and most likely all of the gold that occurs in the states comes from these glacial deposits.
While the Abitiba is an extremely mineral rich area, when these gravels are scattered across such a large landscape it generally results in very small and isolated gold deposits. Thus, prospecting in New Jersey can be very challenging to locate any decent quantities of placer gold.
Some historic reports claim to have found gold around Franklin, although further information about these deposits is limited. There were dubious claims of gold being discovered to fool investors, and it may be possible that these lode gold sources never really existed. Some of these “mines” were located in Sussex County and Bergin County. Although rich mineral deposits can be found in many parts of New Jersey, gold has never attracted any attention to the region.
There has been no interest over the past century to focus on gold production in New Jersey.
Other minerals have been mined in New Jersey on a commercial scale, including silver, copper, iron, and zinc. Gold prospectors in New Jersey may benefit from searching in the more mineralized zones, as gold is certainly known to exist with these other minerals.
Despite the lack of lode gold sources, glacial gold deposits can be found in many creeks and rivers in the state. The difficulty of capturing this gold is due the extreme fine texture. Small particles of gold can easily be lost in the panning process, so extra care should be taken when exploring various areas to ensure that the small gold is captured.
Many prospectors that specialize in mining for glacial gold use specialized equipment to catch these fine gold deposits. Fortunately there are many types of equipment today that are specifically designed to retain fine gold. If you are serious about finding gold in New Jersey, it might be a good idea to invest in some of this gear.
Of course a trusty gold pan is still the best tool for sampling new areas, since it is small and portable.
Since the gold occurrences in New Jersey are relatively undocumented, a beginner prospector would likely benefit from joining a local prospecting club in the area to learn from locals who have been mining in the area. There are also active prospecting clubs in New York and Pennsylvania that you might want to check with.
U.S. Gold Map