Tips for Cleaning Gold Nuggets
June 2019 by Ron Kliewer
I pulled out the nuggets I had worked on previously and looked at the size of the wire basket that the items to be cleaned are placed into. It looks much like a miniature french fry deep fryer.
The excavator or backhoe has become the tool of choice for testing placer ground. These machines are the best way to explore and sample a placer deposit if the ground is not too wet or frozen and bedrock is not beyond the reach of the machine.
The first experience involved an overgrown gold mine operated during the 1880s. A razed mill adjoined the mine and could be glimpsed from the isolated public dirt road I was traveling.
My first personal experience with placer diamonds was on a gold prospecting trip in Indiana about 8 years ago, when a fellow prospector was cleaning his gold concentrates.
I returned to the WSPA claim. Still smug from my previous success, I was thinking I could not fail. However, the gold gods had other plans.
Back at the entry point of the mine, we took turns slowly crawling down the slope leading into the mine portal with our metal detectors, hard hats and flashlights. The mine was hand dug and is about 75 yards long.
While the bullion value of the nugget is already substantial, the size and rarity of the Ausrox Nugget combine to make its worth invaluable in the collector market.
Unfortunately, not all the gold that we prospectors find is pretty, or appealing to the eyes. They are not all nice, bright, shiny nuggets with lots of character that carry high collector value.
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