Streams of Gold: A Beginning Prospectors guide to alluvial deposits

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By doing this, you will educate yourself with the different types of precious metals and minerals you may find while prospecting for gold. Good news.

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The cost of getting started and obtaining your own set of necessary gold prospecting tools is not going to break the bank. Technically, you could use an old frying pan to pan for gold.

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Is this the best idea? No…probably not. But for not a whole lot of money, you can by the right equipment and get started right away. The gold pan is probably one of the first things people think of when it comes to gold prospecting for beginners. Modern day gold pans are made out of lightweight plastic and are really inexpensive. The deep riffles or gravity traps help keep the gold in the pan.

Keep in mind that steel gold pans are much heavier, more difficult to use and can easily rust out. Gold pans are a very portable gold prospectors tool. A must have for beginner gold prospectors. A 5-Gallon bucket is very convenient for carrying and organizing all of your gold prospecting tools.

It also can be used to carry the material you intend to pan. These buckets are very inexpensive or even free at some stores.

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You can also concetrate your material down to just the heavy black sand and take it home with you. By doing this, you can use your time on the river to gold pan and use your time at home to actually get all the fine gold out of your black sand concentrate! A magnet can be used to remove the magnetic black sand you accumulate in your plastic gold pan. Using a magnet makes cleaning up significantly easier.

The miners did not want to collect pebbles, only to find out that their big lot of "finds" contained just a few specimens of value. Numerous sapphires of obvious gem quality were found in many Montana streams. Some of these were cut into gemstones.


However, in the late s very few people were faceting gemstones in the United States , so a demand for rough gem sapphire had not been established. A small market for industrial sapphire did exist in the late s. Some was used to produce abrasive granules. Larger pieces without obvious fractures or inclusions were used to manufacture wear-resistant bearings. Much of the bearing material was sold to watch factories in Europe. In the early s, synthetic sapphire producers began forcing natural sapphire out of the industrial market. They produced a steady supply of synthetic sapphire with a uniform and predictable quality.

Manufacturing solved some of the problems characteristic of the natural sapphire market.

Then, in the s gem treaters in Thailand discovered how to heat white and yellow sapphires to a commercial blue color. Heat treatment of sapphires became such a common practice that most sapphires entering the gem market today had their color improved by heating. These advancements in gem treatments converted many of Montana's previously worthless sapphires into gems of commercial quality.

These were quickly mined during the s, and several million carats of Montana sapphires entered the gem marketplace. Sapphire mining continues in Montana today, and much of the mining is done by hobbyist miners. Corundum gneiss with sapphire: Host rocks for Montana sapphires include schist , gneiss , and igneous dikes. Most mining is confined to alluvial deposits because hard rock mining is much more costly and many of the sapphires are destroyed during extraction.

This is a specimen of corundum gneiss from Gallatin Valley, Montana. This specimen is about twelve centimeters across and has a round blue sapphire crystal on the left side.

What’s The Best Gold Prospecting Metal Detector? |

In , prospectors found small amounts of gold in Yogo Creek, a small stream in central Montana. They didn't find a lot of gold, but many panners noticed bright blue pebbles in the stream and an unusual rock formation a few feet in width cutting a limestone unit in the lower part of the drainage.

Fossicking for gold

These prospectors didn't realize that the blue pebbles had the same hue and saturation as the most highly desirable blue sapphires. Perhaps they heard that the sapphires found in other parts of the state were not worth collecting. Nevertheless, when they left Yogo Creek they walked away from what would later be described as the greatest sapphire deposit in the western hemisphere. In , a property owner sent a small box of blue pebbles panned from Yogo Creek to a gold assayer, who didn't know what to do with them, so he forwarded them on to Tiffany's in New York City.

At that time Tiffany's was considered to be the scientific authority for gemstones in the United States. George Kunz, the chief gemologist at Tiffany's, called Yogo Sapphires "the finest precious gemstones ever found in the United States. The unusual rock formation that cut the limestone unit was later determined to be a vertically dipping dike of sapphire-bearing igneous rock.

At the surface it weathered into a soft mud that was favored by gophers, whose burrows made the dike easy to trace across the landscape's surface for a distance of a few miles. The sapphires of Yogo Gulch have now been famous for over years. Millions have been produced, and although the deposits have been heavily prospected, production continues today. Yogo Sapphires have been produced from both rock and alluvial deposits and in a wide range of colors which include blues, blue-greens, greens, pinks, pale reds, purples, yellows, and oranges. Much of the production is from dig-for-fee operations.

Some gem-grade garnets are also produced from alluvial deposits, but most are industrial quality. In addition to the igneous dike at Yogo, Montana sapphires are hosted in schist and gneiss in several parts of the state. These rock units are rarely mined because they are very hard and costly to excavate. In addition, the work of excavation damages many of the sapphires.

Gold Mining course, Alluvial vs Eluvial deposits

Montana Moss Agate is a transparent to translucent chalcedony found in the Yellowstone River Basin of southeastern Montana. It is often clear but can have a translucent white, gray, yellowish, or reddish brown base color. Similar material is found in northern Wyoming and it is often called "Montana Moss Agate. Montana Moss receives its name from its black dendritic to mossy to geometric-shaped inclusions. This distinctive appearance is what makes Montana Moss Agate recognizable and popular. Just wanted to thank all involved in a recent shipment to me that was a gift for my grandkids.

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