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by Michael Valadez
I have always been interested in gold, but an incident as a young man chilled my interest. I had just pointed to a floating speck in my pie pan and said "I think that's a piece of gold!" My dad, whom I loved dearly, quickly pointed out to me that "gold doesn't float!" And so, feeling pretty stupid, I gave it up. Now, course, I know better. I know that gold does float.
Anyway, fast forward fifty years and along came the Gold Fever TV show. It took a year of watching Tom Massey before I joined the GPAA and started actively seeking opportunities to go panning.
I discovered that Dahlonega Georgia was only three hours away and had a golden history. I soon made a trip to the Gold Museum there and ended up at the Crisson Gold Mine. There I was given an introductory lesson in panning by a young man and got my first color. I was hooked! I quickly moved to running trommel loads at Crisson, and then hauling 800 pounds of material from Crisson to my home in Grovetown, GA to pan out on my backyard patio. I now own several different gold pans and I have come to enjoy panning, spending many pleasant afternoons on my patio panning for gold.
I have found that purchased gold concentrates afford me the opportunity to refine my techniques, test and develop my equipment, and learn the characteristics of gold in different types of dirt. From the flat stamp-milled lode gold of Crisson, to the fine placer gold of Georgia, California, and Alaska. I have learned the challenges of working with a lot of black sand/magnetite, and the red clay of Georgia, from nuggets to -200 mesh gold.
Gold concentrates, to me, are an important means of developing my panning skills, learning the characteristics of gold itself, and testing and improving my equipment to be more efficient.