Gold panning isn’t all that hard. With some basic instruction and a small amount of practice, it’s not too tough to learn enough of the basics to find some gold if you are in a good area.
There are still a handful of very simple tools that will not only make the gold panning process easier, but will also help you to increase your recovery rates and capture even more fine gold.
Here are some simple tools that I would recommend every gold prospector add to their arsenal.
Classifiers help to separate out bigger rocks and gravel from the finer sand and gravel that contains the gold. They are made from a variety of screen sizes and you simply shovel material into the classifier and then shake it over your gold pan so that the fine material falls through.
You can buy a set of classifiers of various different screen sizes, but if you are just a casual prospector you can easily get by with just having one ¼” screen classifier.
Black Sands Magnet
We all know that the separation of black sands from gold particles is one of the bigger challenges that placer miners have to deal with. Black sands are made up of both hematite and magnetite. Not all of it is magnetic, but some of it is, and using a powerful magnet can really help remove some of it.
Any strong magnet will do the job, but for not much money you can get one that is specifically designed for gold prospectors that work really well.
When get down to the final stages of the gold panning process, you will probably see a few tiny specks of shiny material and you may not be certain what you have. A high-powered jewelers loupe can help you evaluate those tiny bits of shine in the bottom of the gold pan and determine if it’s gold or not.
If you are lucky enough to find some gold, you are going to need to get ahold of it somehow! Small “pickers” might be a little too small to pick up with your fingertips, but they can easily be collected with a fine pair of tweezers.
The final collection of gold dust in the bottom of your pan can be a little tricky, especially if the gold is extra fine textured. This is where you need the miner’s best friend… the simple snuffer bottle!
Snuffer bottles allow you to gently use water pressure to blow away the lighter material like garnets and black sands, and then suck up the fine gold dust that is left behind. The gold is sucked back up into the bottle for safe storage and later transport into your vial.
Gold panning is a fun activity for all ages and skill levels. Even the most inexperienced panner can easily find some gold with just a small amount of simple instruction.
Using a few of the extra tools summarized in this article will not only help make the gold panning a simpler and more fun process, but it can also increase your recovery rates and help you add more gold to your collection!