Gold prospecting is a traditional and common way of finding the possibility of locating gold reserves in a particular area. The process of gold prospecting came up in the early to mid 19th century and, since then, has remained exactly the same. From gold pans to sluice boxes, we have always used the same tools, the same techniques and the same principles to carry out gold prospecting as a hobby or profession.
There are plenty of reasons why people would take gold prospecting up as a hobby.
It is Cheap!
If you are looking to prospect gold, then you do not need any fancy equipment to get started. A gold pan costs around 10 to 15 dollars and can come even cheaper than that. The sluice box, in itself, is slightly more expensive but you won't feel too bad if a $50 box throws up a massive nugget that's worth 10 times.
There are other tools that can enhance the way you use the sluice box - the dredging tool, for example. This is an additional attachment to the sluice box wherein you can plug in a hose, with a dredging mouth, to scrape up soil from the river or creek bed. The suction mechanism pulls the soil up, through the pipe and throws it onto the sluice box. After that, the running water part can be done on a floating sluice box, with a jet of water sprayed onto the box or just manually throwing water down the box.
One of the best aspects of gold prospecting is the number of Do-it-Yourself projects that are thrown up from it. The gold pan is nothing but a plastic, metallic or wooden pan that has a small depth along with ridges running all around it, on the inside, or on a particular side. You can easily find something that does a similar job, like a soup-plate or even a regular plate. The ridges are optional but if you can find something with that included - nothing better!
Building the sluice box is slightly more complicated although you can do it at home too. All you need to do is find a long box, something like an old guitar case, and remove the top. Then remove the front and back "walls" along the length and start putting in the ridges. You can put in whatever you want - wire mesh, ridges, bumps or even magnets, as long as they are big enough to catch the gold.
Throughout your building process, the one thing that you need to be sure of is that everything is waterproof and can take a bit of beating from the water. Since you will be dipping your sluice box, and gold pan, in water and there will be flowing water, in the form of a jet or the river/creek itself, running through it, your architecture project may get washed away as well.
Gold prospecting is a beautiful hobby but there are certain rules that you need to know before heading out there. The first and most important thing is to know where you are prospecting for gold. If you are out on somebody's private property, then you need permission to go prospecting on their lands.
As long as you are using the gold pan and sluice box, you are fine. Dredging tools require special permission so if you are planning to use them, think ahead and get all the required documentation done. However, remember that you can only and only use hand tools in prospecting - that's non-negotiable!
There are limits to how much gold you can remove from the property as well as the amount of soil you can remove. You need to leave the lay of the land as you found it. That doesn't mean that every rock or pebble needs to go back to where it was, just that you cannot destroy the top-soil or cause any untoward damage to the natural environment.
Relive your Childhood
Gold prospecting is a fantastic way to spend time with the children. If you have the means to head out to the countryside, then there is no better way to take your prospecting hobby to the next level. All children love rummaging through mud, hoping to find some treasure. You can make your kids' dream come true by prospecting for gold.
Whether you find gold or not, the entire experience is breathtaking. You are out in the countryside, living on freshly-caught fish or wild berries; whether you are camping or not, the scenery is just fantastic, and then there's the prospect of finding gold. There are few hobbies that can give you so much for so little investment - gold prospecting is right up there on that list.