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Is panning for gold worth it? Can you make money?

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Raw gold is gold in its natural state, usually in the form of gold nuggets, flakes or dust.

Just like you can sell your unwanted gold jewelry and other items, you can make money selling raw gold you’ve found, inherited or purchased. Now is a good time to sell, as gold prices surpassed $2,300 per troy ounce this month.

Here's what to know before you sell:

What is raw gold? Is it the same as natural gold?

Best raw gold buyer

Other places to sell raw gold

How to sell raw gold or panned gold

Types of raw gold

Is panning or mining for raw gold worth it?

What is raw gold? Is it the same as natural gold?

The term raw gold, also known as natural gold or gold ore, refers to any gold alloy (mixture of gold and other metals) that is found in nature and that has not yet gone through a refining process. It can come in many forms, including gold nuggets, gold dust, and gold flakes.

You can calculate the value of your raw gold using CashforGoldUSA's online calculator:

CashforGoldUSA informational gold calculator
CashforGoldUSA informational gold calculator

What does gold look like in raw form?

Raw gold is typically bright, shiny, and dark yellow in color. The yellower the metal, the more gold it likely contains; the paler or whiter the metal, the more silver or other metals it likely contains. Raw gold with other impurities can appear in other colors, as well.

Raw gold nuggets sold to raw gold buyers.

Where can you find raw gold?

Gold can be found all over the world. China, Australia, Russia, the United States, Canada, and South Africa are commonly mentioned as top gold-producing countries.

The creator behind Fishngold, a YouTube channel on gold prospecting with nearly 600K subscribers, says to find places to prospect for gold, you should search for old mines in your area or check mindat.org, a database of minerals, rocks, meteorites and the localities they come from.

He says to look in riverbeds and streams or search the dirt in the crevices of bedrock. Gold can also be found encased in hard rock, and is often found in Quartz veins.

People on the r/prospecting offered these suggestions for finding raw gold:

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Fishngold recommends starting off with a gold pan and snuffer bottle to gather your gold. He put together this video to show different methods of prospecting:

Within the United States, gold has been found across the country. While California is well-known for the Gold Rush of 1848, today Nevada and Alaska account for much of the gold produced in the United States.

Fishngold says Virginia (where he lives), North Carolina, South Carolina, and Pennsylvania are also good places to look for gold deposits.

How pure is raw gold?

Raw gold is not 100% pure and always contains some kind of impurities. The more yellow its color, the more gold it likely contains.

What carat is raw gold?

When these impurities consist of other metals, the gold is considered to be an alloy. The most common metal to be found with gold is silver, but gold can also be found with copper, iron, and lead impurities.

Raw gold is commonly found as 18 karat (18K) gold. It can be as low as 14 karats in purity.

How can you tell real raw gold?

Real raw gold is very heavy, has a deep yellow luster and is not magnetic.

This video does a good job explaining how to identify real raw gold vs fool's gold:

Can you sell pure gold?

Pure gold is most often found in the form of gold bullion bars or gold coins, which are worth nearly the market value of gold.

Learn more about where and how to sell gold in our comprehensive guide to selling gold.

Can you sell gold that you find?

You can typically sell your raw gold the same way that you would sell refined gold products like jewelry, coins, or bullion — though keep in mind that gold found through prospecting, or other raw gold does not fetch the same high price as government-backed gold products. Pawnshops, gold exchanges, and online gold buyers all purchase raw gold, though certain establishments may have their own policies.

Best raw gold buyer: CashforGoldUSA.com

CashforGoldUSA is the only online gold buyer we could find that accepts all weight and quality of gold — no minimum.

Read our review of CashforGoldUSA, or get an immediate, free estimate now >>

Other places to sell raw gold:

For reviews on other top gold buyers and options for selling gold locally, check out our post on the best places to sell gold.

How to sell raw gold or panned gold

1. Test and weigh your raw gold

Here’s how to test raw gold at home:

First, determine how much you have. We recommend investing in a high-quality digital scale (like this one on Amazon that sells for about $16) that will give you an accurate reading. Keep in mind that raw gold is not 100% pure, and its value will be determined by how much gold is actually present in your sample. 

2. Check raw gold prices

You can see the value of your raw gold using CashforGoldUSA's gold calculator, based on the current price of gold.

Types of raw gold

Gold nuggets

Most gold nuggets are between 85% and 95% pure gold, which means you’ll get a higher price for nuggets than most other forms of raw gold. 

As of , the spot gold value in the United States was trading at $ per ounce, or $ per gram. 

A gold nugget that weighs 1 troy ounce at 88% pure gold would be worth about $2,000 today.

Gold flakes

Gold flakes are also a form of high-purity raw gold, but it takes a lot of gold flakes to reach a substantial amount of gold. 

Some experts suggest selling gold flakes in vials or jars on sites like ebay because they often have a higher value as a souvenir or keepsake than they do based solely on gold content.  

Bottom line: Is panning or mining for raw gold worth it?

As a hobby, it can be a fun way to get outdoors and, if you’re lucky, find something of value. But don’t expect to be able to retire based on what you find panning for raw gold. You might have more luck treasure hunting in your own jewelry box or local thrift shop.

If you do have raw gold or other forms of gold, silver, or platinum jewelry to sell, you can get a free FedEx mailer from CashforGold and qualify for a 10% bonus now >>

How much does raw gold sell for?

The value of your raw gold depends on the same factors as other types of gold: How much gold you have, and how pure it is. Most raw gold is about 18K and is often combined with other metals like silver, copper, and lead.

Can you sell gold that you find?

You can typically sell your raw gold the same way that you would sell refined gold products like jewelry, dental scrap, coins, or bullion, though keep in mind that gold found through prospecting, or other raw gold does not fetch the same high price as government-backed gold products.

Can you sell pure gold?

Pure gold is most often found in the form of gold bullion bars or gold coins, which are worth nearly the market value of gold.

How pure is raw gold?

Raw gold is commonly found as 18 karat (18K) gold. It can be as low as 14 karats in purity.

Where is raw gold found?

Gold can be found all over the world. China, Australia, Russia, the United States, Canada, and South Africa are commonly mentioned as top gold-producing countries.

What does gold look like in raw form?

Raw gold is typically bright, shiny, and dark yellow in color. The yellower the metal, the more gold it likely contains; the paler or whiter the metal, the more silver or other metals it likely contains. Raw gold with other impurities can appear in other colors, as well.

What is raw gold?

The term raw gold, also known as natural gold or gold ore, refers to any gold alloy (mixture of gold and other metals) that is found in nature and that has not yet gone through a refining process. It can come in many forms, including gold nuggets, gold dust, and gold flakes.

How much are gold flakes worth?

Gold flakes are a form of high-purity raw gold, but it takes a lot of gold flakes to reach a substantial amount of gold.

How much are gold nuggets worth?

Most gold nuggets are between 85% and 95% pure gold, which means you’ll get a higher price for nuggets than most other forms of raw gold.

5 Comments

So do I attempt to extract the gold from the rocks or do I just send in the whole thing? I’m a little confused?

How can I find the price you will buy gold nuggets for on a given day. I know it’s not spot price but what is the discount price per oz if I sell my raw gold nuggets?

I have raw fine to extremely fine gold and a few nuggets . I’m new at this so I have little experience with doing something on line

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