Our 29-Troy-Ounce Golden Blessing
December 2013 by Kevin Hamel
After twenty-plus years of metal detecting in the gold country, I thought I had seen just about everything, including coins, gold nuggets, and some very nice relics.
With summer winding down, my wife and I decided to go try our luck detecting at some old, family-owned private property east of Sacramento. I took along my conventional VLF detector, my Pro-Spector Gold Locator, and Accumeter Pro resistivity meter in the SUV as we headed for Highway 49 via US 50 to the property.It was a perfect, sunny day with warm September temperatures. The general area we would be searching is close to 3,000 feet in elevation. I found plenty of evidence of historic mining in the immediate area, including rock piles, drill bits, rock hammers, trenches for diverting water, old water pumps and parts of crucibles.
I also found an 1848 dime near an old cabin on the property, which led me to further investigate this area.
In the past, I located some nice two- and three-gram nuggets and even a 3/4-ounce nugget in a nearby creek with my detectors, so I knew our property had potential.
We unloaded our equipment upon arrival and I decided to start working with the Accumeter on the east side of the property and work my way west. After about an hour of setting up and sending carrier waves, I got a hit in the area of my number 2 rod. At this point I got a little excited and knew I needed to box in the target. Using the Pro-Spector Locator, I was able to confirm a hit in the same general target area so I got a bit more excited. I called my wife over and explained to her that I had a potential target in a particular area. We had been praying for several years for God to bless our efforts when we went out detecting and treasure hunting!
In an area of about 10 or 12 feet, I boxed in the target. I was anxious to pinpoint the target, so I decided to give my conventional detector a shot.
After about two or three minutes, the detector screamed with a good, non-ferrous signal. I dug down about a foot and a half with my pick and shovel when I found the target. I picked up a noticeably heavy, fist-sized chunk of what I thought was a heavy piece of iron. After wiping some dirt and clay off, I still didn’t know what on earth this object was. A few minutes later, I told my wife I would leave the chunk over by the tree and look at it closer later on. She decided she would carry it in her pocket so we wouldn’t have to go back and retrieve it. Later on, we were both getting hungry and tired so we decided to wind things up.
Before walking the equipment back to the SUV, I decided to look at the chunk a little closer. I carefully scraped off the top and noticed the yellow, metallic color—I think my blood pressure went through the roof! I told my wife that I thought we should head for home so I could check it out further there.
Once we got home, I carefully washed off the dirt and red clay and, to my surprise, I could see gold metal all through this object. After examining it more closely I noticed that it was in the shape of a crucible.
The clump is definitely gold! It appears that some old-timer had poured his gold into a crucible and somehow it was left behind! It’s total weight is over twenty-nine troy ounces!
From previous experience, I know that gold recovered in the general area is well over 90% purity, though we haven’t had this piece tested yet.
We were both completely overjoyed and thankful to God for this unique blessing!
I hope this story motivates others as much as it does my wife and me. Good luck out there!
I worked my way to a flat area along a ridge where I could see a quartz blowout. As I got within 100 feet of it, I started seeing rock that I knew to be associated with gold.
• Drones for the independent prospector
I didn’t think too much of our dredge hole and we were both considering a move when we hit bedrock. There was a good quantity of flakes and fines, but no nuggets.
If you do the math, it equates to about $1,500 of heavy metal value per three-hour dive. This is good wages, and you are doing a service to the environment by removing this toxic metal.
The fine art of panning heavy sands requires a measure of patience. If you enjoy panning gold, you ought to enjoy this too, once you get the hang of it.
It’s not easy to figure out what is best without testing, and so a certain level of confusion has developed about how small the ore ought to be crushed.
Some experienced panners with the vigor and longevity to spend a full day panning in the small creeks and ravines can possibly find as much as a gram or more on a good day.
The Bawl Mill • Ask the Experts • Ask the Experts • Ask the Experts • Sierra County Gold—Part I • ICMJ's Annual Index • Ophir—Possibly the Best Kept Secret in Alaska—Part II • Hunting for Hardrock: The Basics • Gold in the San Francisco District Oatman, Mohave County, Arizona • Heavy Glacial Rocks and Gold in the Midwest • Strategic Metals—Part II • The Amazing Mineral Tourmaline • Melman on Gold & Silver • Mining Stock Quotes and Mineral & Metal Prices