The Art of Gold PanningWhile it is obvious that not everyone has the courage or desire to descend in gold mines to search for the precious yellow metal, there is one activity that nearly everyone can do to search for the metal. Called gold panning, this method of looking for gold in rivers and other places has been used since ancient Roman times and has proven to be one of the most effective ways to evaluate whether a given location has any gold. Whereas mining for gold uses lots of heavy and complicated equipment, panning is relatively simple and can be done with only some water and a pan.
To start, a person only needs to fill their pan with sediment form a place where they think there might be some gold deposits. Of course, knowing where to find gold is a completely different matter and most experts still have only a limited success rate. Once the sediment and water is in the pan, it is then gently stirred around. Gold has a much higher density than most rocks and other metals and will thus collect at the bottom of the pan. As some of the water and stones are allowed to come out of the pan, what is left will be any gold that was present in the sample.
Some of the physical pans used in gold panning have a complex design, but the majority are a basic pan. The trick of separating the gold from the rest of the sediment is found in the technique of swirling and removing the water. People that are experienced with this kind of treasure hunting frequently use a pan that is about 14 inches wide and is made from a stronger metal, such as steel. Also, the colors of the pans are most commonly blue or green as this causes the gold to be more vivid.