If you know me, you know that when I put my mind to something I dive in head first and go full force. I’ve not captured the spirit of the Frontier West, but I will effort my chance and try some luck if you will of rediscovering anything remotely close to “the gold rush.”
I’m no expert by any measure of the word, but I am learning and gaining a lot of wonderful knowledge of the vast treasures hidden beneath our feet. I have made mention before about my fascination with rocks and gems and after long conversations with a few people who have agreed to team up with me, we are on a mission to find such treasures. Today was supposed to have been our first expedition, but we were rained out. Fortunately, I took it upon myself along with my oldest son to try a practice run in my back yard, in the woods. A couple days ago, we headed downtown to shop for mining tools, which is always a good place to start if you are planning to dig. After returning home, we wasted no time heading for the woods.
My son began digging and he went four feet into the ground. We noticed that the dirt was very sparkly which was kind of odd, but the digging proceeded. Now theoretically speaking, digging in your backyard for gold is highly unlikely, but one never knows until they try. We live at the base of mountains and gold is no stranger in these parts.
Our curiosity was getting the best of us and we decided to take some dirt into our little homemade panning area on the patio. I sat and sifted through the soil searching for nuggets and found many and the specs of gold were so tiny we had no idea how to pan that and clean it up for inspection. But prior to our find, we both learned that these tiny particles are called micro dust of gold and is very difficult to clean up unless you are a seasoned miner which we are not. When it comes to sorting your gold from the dirt, water is your friend and you have to know how to channel the water through sluicing.
The sluicing began. Frustrations grew stout as our inexperience was proving the truth of itself. I sluiced and sluiced and sluiced for hours. However, the very shiny gold specs motivated me to keep going, but we were not able to sluice expertly and it showed. The nice mud we had created we packaged in sandwich baggies and I had my own stash I put in my purple Smile Direct aligner container. I was so proud of what we pulled from the ground I planned to keep my stash in the container and put it in a safe deposit in the bank for retirement.
The pictures do it no justice, but the shiny area is my gold. Or so I thought…..
The next morning, we headed to a gemologist to have our gold tested for grams and karat ratings but most of all to see the value of our gold. My son and I were smiling big, making big plans for future mining trips even out of the country. We both stood nervous as the two men looked at our gold. I stood there heart beating fast so anxious to here number values. After taking one look at our gold, we saw the gentleman raise his eyebrows. I just knew we had struck it big. I saw a big smile quickly form his new expression and then that word spilled from his mouth. “Mica!” I looked at my son who was shaking his head and laughing and I took that as something spectacular as my ignorance started showing. The gemologist and my son were laughing and carrying on, oh how happy that made me. Finally, I asked, “what is mica and how much is it worth?” I knew if the gold was pyrite which is known as “fool’s gold” would still carry a small value, but value it is.
After asking about the mica, I was quickly schooled that the mineral is used to condition the soil, it’s used in some cosmetics, and it glitters like sequins in the sunlight just like gold and anyone would think it’s gold at first sight. In other words, mica is nature’s glitter and it is hot harmful to humans and you will find mica in Chanel’s Gemstones cosmetics and the Lumiere Platine as well as Revlon who use mica. Thus my gold rush rushed out the door in the form of mica and I did come up with an idea about my quilling artwork to use the mica in some of my pieces meaning it’s not a total loss for me at all. I did learn from the experience and gained wonderful knowledge of the mineral and came up with a brilliant idea.
Does this mean our mining days are over? Absolutely not. We are just beginning and the backyard discovery was practice and a fun learning experience. When the rain subsides, we will continue with our planned expedition and a video of our efforts and of course lots of photos. Realistically, I’m not expecting riches, but I am expecting to gain knowledge and of course there will be some profits from the different stones we uncover and if fate is on our side, we might find a good batch of gold. From my mouth to your ears, or my hands to your eyes, never say never!!!