Dry Gold Panning
When dry panning the first thing you will need to make sure of is that the material that you are going to be panning is completely dry. Second thing would be not to fill the pan up too much; it is common for people to overload the pan and the job can’t get done this way. Obviously you are not going to be able to grab gravel from the beneath the water, however if you are in a dry stream bed you will need to shovel away the overburden or loose gravel and try to get as close as you can to the bed rock. This can be done by using a pick, rock hammer, screwdriver, or any type of small tool. Look for the crevices and dig into them as far as you can and if you can use a little whisk broom to sweep the contents onto the shovel or whichever digging tool you are using. Keep on filling your pan until it has the right amount inside of it.
For the people that are dry panning in the desert, you may want to consider using a metal detector so that you are able to find the heavier concentrates that form in the black sand pockets. While it is true that the black sand pockets do not always have gold in them, but it is known that the black sand and gold tends to get trapped in the same areas because they are heavier in weight. If you do not have a metal detector you can check the area by testing the bottom of dry washes and gravity traps that are naturally there. It is common for gravity traps to form in the desert and on some mountain tops as well. The gravel sometimes comes from ancient river beds or glacier moraines. Remember also that even though there is not any water in an area it does not mean there never was and this area may just so happen to be a rich deposit. There are many cases in which these places are full of gold because they were not tested by the prospectors in the past since they did not have any water to pan with and in the past panning was not done without water.
It’s pretty obvious why the old time prospectors did not pan in areas that did not have water; these people were panning in order to make a living and provide for their families and dry panning was a waste of time and simply too difficult so they naturally went for what was more profitable.
Try to find places that the old time prospectors may have missed or looked over. Although most places have been prospected these days, there are still places where new discoveries can be made. Gold can even be found in plain old dry dirt. Gold and gems are usually washed down from a vein that is higher up or a decomposed ore pocket.
So once you have placed enough gold bearing or gem bearing gravel in your pan, you will need to continue on with the next step.