GOLD! The thrill of finding the precious yellow metal has lead treasure hunters to search for it for hundreds of years. Despite the large amount of gold that has already been recovered, geologists estimate that less than 20% of existing deposits has been found. With this fact in mind, one can see why a new "gold rush" is currently sweeping the country.
Garrett Electronics, one of the leading manufacturers of metal detectors, recognized this increased interest in prospecting and has put together a package designed to help both amateurs as well as professionals be more successful in the field.
Charles Garrett, founder and owner of Garrett Electronics, has been heavily involved in nearly all facets of prospecting ranging from panning and dredging to nugget-shooting with a metal detector and exploring deep shaft mines. This interest brought him together with Roy Lagal, an active treasure hunter with over 45 years of experience.
Roy and Charles forged a strong bond of friendship during their shared adventures and over the years a number of products have come out of this relationship including one of the first metal detectors designed specifically for electronic prospecting, several books that have helped thousands of people learn how to prospect successfully, and the Gravity Trap Gold Pan which has been awarded a patent for its unique design.
While there are several manufacturers of gold panning equipment, Garrett Electronics has spent a considerable amount of time developing and subsequently improving on the design of their products. Many of the improvements were a direct result of feedback from prospectors using their products under actual field conditions. The Gravity Trap Gold Pan kit comes with everything a prospector might need to locate and recover gold (except of course for detailed directions to the mother lode) including both a 14 inch and 10-1/2 inch Gravity Trap Gold Pan, a classifier sieve, a suction bottle, and a Highly informative how-to booklet.
The gold pans feature a patented 90-degree riffle design molded into one side. Unlike the old metal pans and many of the other plastic pans available today, the Gravity Trap's design holds the gold securely in the pan so that even beginners would find it difficult to inadvertently wash their gold flake or dust out of the pan. After a considerable amount of time soliciting input from experienced miners around the world, the particular shade of green was selected for the pans. The reason for using "Forest Green" over colors such as black or blue was that small flakes of gold and silver, as well as certain gem specimens were more easily identified even under conditions of limited light.
The classifier sieve is used to remove the larger rocks and other debris from the dirt which contains the gold. By initially separating the rocks and dirt, a considerable amount of time is saved in the actual panning process. The classifier has been designed to snap onto the top of the smaller gold pan which holds it securely in place during the separation phase. It also rests on top of the larger pan or a 5gallon bucket for processing larger quantities of material.
Another feature that indicates a considerable amount of thought went into the design of the pans and classifier sieve is the ability to stack the items inside of each other which conserves space. There are also small holes in the rim of the pans and sieve allowing prospectors to secure them to the outside of a back pack. This allows them to be carried into remote areas that others may not have explored for years.
The suction bottle, called the Gold Guzzler, is another tool that will greatly reduce the amount of time a prospector is forced to spend in recovering the gold from the pan.
Once the material has been panned down until only black sand and gold remains, the Gold Guzzler can be used to remove the concentrate for processing at a later time. This allows more material to be processed in the field which in turn results in more gold being recovered.
The kit includes a copy of Roy Lagal's pocket-sized reference guide entitled "You Can Find an Ounce of Gold a Day." Forty-five pages in length, it is well illustrated and provides a number of practical tips that will immediately improve your success. Some of the topics covered include wet and dry panning techniques, electronic prospecting with a metal detector, exploring old mine sites, and locating black sand deposits.
One point not discussed in the instructions is the need to remove the grease film on the pans resulting from the manufacturing process which will cause water to bead-up in the pan. By scouring the pans with some steel wool and dishwashing soap before using them for the first time, you will ensure that all of the fine gold will not be lost.
A few days after I received the kit from the factory, my sister-in-law Gina and her husband Frank Kahoe came down from Pennsylvania for a visit. Over the years they have both shown an interest in the finds my wife and I made; however. they never tried treasure hunting themselves. Frank was intrigued with the thought of trying his luck at panning for gold so I asked him if he wanted to help me in doing the product report by actually searching for gold. Needless to say, after I told him that we lived in the Dahlonega gold belt and that there had been several active mines within a few miles of our house during the 1800s, he was more than ready to give it a try.
Not wanting to influence him, I handed Frank the box and had him read over the illustrated instruction sheet and how-to booklet that came with the kit.
After reviewing the information we headed over to a nearby stream that had produced some flakes of gold for me in the past. Walking along the bank, we came upon a spot where an old dried-up creek had once dumped into the stream. Digging down about 10 to 12 inches, we began to see traces of black sand and wellrounded rocks indicating the bottom of the old creek bed.
Frank placed the classifier sieve over the 14 inch pan and filled it with dirt, gravel, and rocks from hole. By dipping the pan beneath the surface of the water and agitating it, he quickly separated the dirt from the larger rocks. Checking the sieve for any large nuggets or specimenquality pieces of quartz, he began to pan down the remaining material. After about five minutes of careful panning, he saw a few minute flakes of gold mixed in with the black sand that covered the bottom of the pan. Using the Gold Guzzler, he sucked up the black sand/ gold mixture and refilled his pan from the hole.
Over the next 20 minutes Frank repeated the process several times recovering a number of gold flakes and small garnets in each pan that he tried. The next pan of material came from the top of a clay layer that was almost two feet deep. As he panned it down, Frank commented on how much black sand was visible in the bottom of the pan. After several minutes of working at removing as much of the black sand as possible, he stood up and swirled the remaining mixture around in the pan looking for any sign of gold. Suddenly he stopped and reaching in, picked up a small, jewelry-grade nugget. As our wives came over to see what Frank had found, he stood there holding the nugget in his hand watching the sun glint off its jagged surface. The excitement that all of us experienced as we passed the nugget between us far exceeded whatever value could be placed on it. As we drove home, Frank was surprised at how easy gold panning had been to master, attributing much of his success to the design of the Gravity Trap Gold Pans and the instructions provided with the kit.
The design of the Gravity Trap Gold Pans ensures that virtually all gold, including fine flakes and dust, is readily retained in the pan. With just a little practice, beginners can quickly become proficient at panning and recovering gold in the field. Experienced prospectors will find that these pans will allow them to process their concentrates faster due to the patented riffle section. The classifier sieve substantially reduces the amount of time required to pan down bank-run material. The easy-tounderstand instructions and how-to booklet provide good information to both beginners and experts alike.
The complete Gravity Trap Gold Panning Kit sells for $24.95 and is available from any factoryauthorized dealer. The gold pans and classifier are covered by a lifetime warranty, so if any item is damaged through other than obvious abuse, the factory will replace it at no charge other than postage.
For the name of your nearest Garrett dealer or to request a copy of their highly informative buyers guide, call the factory at (214) 494-6151 or write them at 1881 Market Street, Garland, TX 75042 and be sure to mention that you read about the Gravity Trap Gold Panning Kit in Treasure Facts.