Panning for Gold in GA

By: Hubert Crowell

I have estimated that when I am working the streams in North Georgia for gold, I can earn about $0.50 an hour at the current price of gold. I understand completely how hard it was for prospectors to make a living looking for gold. However, there is something exciting about finding that shiny speck of metal in the ground. The gold of North Georgia has a deep golden color and is the purest found anywhere. The thrill of that gold appearing in the bottom of a pan of black sand can be addictive. Don't expect to get rich looking for gold, but you can easily collect some color for you home collection and maybe even a bragging nugget or two.

You may have heard the story about the man in Africa who went off looking for diamonds only to return home after many years to find a large diamond in his own back yard. My wife kept telling to check out the creek behind the house for gold, but I kept looking in the gold fields more to the north and even tried to find some out west. My best success was from buying dirt from a mine in Dahlonega which resulted in paying about what the gold was worth after panning it out.

Most of the gold in Georgia can be found along a line from Clayton in the northeast to Buchanan near the Alabama line. Along this line is Dahlonega, Canton, Allatoona, and Acworth. The gold belt is not well defined and spread out in places. We live just north of Marietta along a ridge that divides the waters of the Chattahoochee and the Etowah rivers. I like to think of it as our little continental divide. Behind our home we have a stream that flows toward the Etowah. The rock formations here are turned up on edge and at about midpoint along the back of our lot is a quartz vein that is being cut away by the stream.

I started panning for gold on the corner of the lot at the down stream end and planned to work my way up the stream and clean out all the gold I could find. On one of our trips to Colorado for a caving convention, my friend and I left a week early to pan for gold and bought a small 2 inch dredge. I set up the dredge in the creek and worked the sand all the way down to bed rock. The gold was very rough and beautiful. Nothing large just small pickers and flakes. I did fill a small locket with gold for a neckless that my wife wears and a small amount for a display case.

I have not yet worked the creek up to the quartz vein where I suspect the gold is coming from. It has not moved far in the water or the edges would be more rounded off. I guess I am saving the rest of the creek for the future.

We used to have gold panning parties when family or out of town friends would visit. They could not believe they could find real gold right there in our own back yard.

Subdivisions have taken over some of the old mines in the area. Sixes Mine in south Cherokee County produced $200,000 worth of gold in 1849 and now is part of Lake Altoona and a large subdivision. The Hadaway Mine near Acworth is also believed to have produced a sizeable amount. Ore samples from the Kemp property showed $2.50 to $7.50 worth of gold per ton of ore.

I will never get rich form panning gold, but it is nice to know that you can find gold in your own back yard. So when I get bored again I will drag out the dredge and dredge up sand for a few hours adding a few more specks of gold to my collection.



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hubertcrowell@comcast.net





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