Start by selecting the beach where you intend to pan for gold. White, sandy tropical beaches will not serve your purpose – instead, look for a beach that is located near mountains that are known for producing gold. The gold from these mountains is often washed down to the beach via water.
Once you have decided which beach you will be trying your luck at, go out and purchase the required equipment for panning for gold. The main tool you will require is a gold panning kit – this includes a pan, a classifier to sift out bigger rocks and debris, tweezers and a magnifying glass to examine smaller pieces of gold, and a snuffer bottle and a clear vial to keep the gold in. Once you have purchased the kit, clean the equipment thoroughly with a dish detergent and scouring pad – pans tend to have leftover oil and grease on them from the manufacturing process, and this could interfere with your attempts to pan for gold.
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In addition to the gold panning kit, you will need supplementary equipment to aid you in the task. Purchase rubber gloves and boots to protect your hands and feet from the water and sand, and a shovel and spade, to help you in moving the sand and dirt around.
Once you are armed with the proper equipment, it is time to hit the beach. Once you are at the beach, look for patches of black sand – this is often a mix of minerals, which could very well contain placer gold, or point at the presence on gold on that particular beach. However, make sure you do not confuse dirty sand for black sand – the former is simply dirty, while the latter is rich with minerals and can be picked up with a magnet.
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It is now time to start panning for gold. Fill your pan with sand from the beach, and pick out the larger debris and rocks. Next immerse the pan in water – move it back and forth to swirl the sand around, and tilt it to make water wash over the top of the sand. This will eventually cause the dirt to wash out and any gold to remain at the bottom of the pan. Suck the remaining gold into the snuffer bottle (partially filled with water to clean to gold), and then place it in the clear vial for safe-keeping.