Is gold paydirt worth it? (5 reasons it is, 2 reasons it’s not)

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Written By Alex

“My passion for gold prospecting/mining started out with buying Paydirt.”

Christian from Rocky Mountain Sportsman

Nothing is more disappointing than when someone buys paydirt and feels like they got a bad deal.

We want everyone to be happy and, with 4.8/5 stars over hundreds of reviews, we feel we’re doing a solid job.

People often ask us if it’s “worth it” to buy real gold paydirt. The answer, like most things in life is, “it depends.”

After talking to hundreds of customers and testing different offers, I can confidently give you five reasons gold paydirt IS worth buying, and two reasons it is NOT.

Reasons gold paydirt IS worth buying

If you love gold prospecting and want to do it from the comfort of home

The number one reason people buy paydirt is that they just love the experience of prospecting for gold.

Here’s what our customer Richard C. from Florida had to say:

“The anticipation of getting the bag, then spending the time figuring the best way to use my gold pan was the best. Seeing those specs of gold, then hearing a clunk in the pan was the best of all.”

chunky eroica paydirt gold from Emily Riedel
“Nice picker in there!” – picture of Eroica Paydirt from customer Ray L. from New York

People who are afflicted with gold fever (like Richard and us) just know there isn’t anything like the feeling of panning back that pile of sand and seeing that gold line reveal itself along the top edge.

Unfortunately gold is challenging to go out and get, which is why it’s so valuable.

Some folks don’t have the time or the energy to go on a prospecting trip, especially if they don’t live near any historical gold-bearing areas.

Some folks might have disabilities or health issues that won’t allow them to go prospecting at all!

Whatever the case, buying real gold paydirt is the only economical option for those people to feel the joy of prospecting for gold from the convenience of their homes.

If you want to practice your panning skills or test a new gold recovery device

“After buying several hundred dollars of Paydirt, I noticed two things. Number one, my panning skills had improved significantly.”

Christian from Rocky Mountain Sportsman

Buying real gold paydirt is virtually the only way to practice panning different kinds of gold deposits from different types of soils at home.

Even if you have some placer gold at home and can mix it with some dirt from your yard to make your own paydirt, you may not have the heavy mineral concentrations that gold is found with to replicate the conditions you’ll encounter in the field.

results from panning Eroica Paydirt
“More than just big easy flakes, also nice small gold that takes skill and patience to pan and clean!” – Customer Brett F. from Washington State on panning Eroica Paydirt

Our Diver Dirt, for example, is guaranteed to have MORE THAN 1 gram of gold. That means if you recover 1 gram of gold or less, then you know you lost some gold and need to continue to practice your panning skills.

If you do recover more than 1 gram you’ll know, since it’s mixed with real black sand and heavy minerals from the beaches and floor off the Bering Sea, that you can recover gold in some of the challenging conditions you’re likely to encounter.

For the same reasons buying gold paydirt is a great way to test a new gold recovery device before you take it into the field. It gives you a good control input to know if your new device is stratifying gold from other minerals quickly and efficiently.

bering sea gold diver paydirt

We risked our lives for this dirt.

Real gold, magnetites, sands, and garnets dredged off the Bering Sea floor.

Free Shipping to USA!

If you want to give a unique gift with lasting value

After ordering myself pay dirt and panning it I thought what a great gift experience this would be. I purchased Diver Dirt for my nephew along with panning accessories and he had so much fun and excitement from it! Thank you Emily and crew for giving us a glimpse into your adventures and world of gold!!

Cheryl L. from Texas
kids love learning to pan gold from Bering Sea Paydirt
Cheryl L. from Texas and Steven N. from California shared pics of some kiddos panning paydirt on our reviews page

As Christmas rolls around I’m starting to feel the pressure of buying gifts for my family and friends.

To add to the challenge, I married into a big family a year and a half ago and I have all these nieces and nephews and in-laws to think about as well.

What do kids even like these days?

We get a lot of messages from people who buy bags of paydirt as gifts for family and friends, young and old.

Panning for gold is a skill that you can teach older kids while sharing an experience together that doesn’t involve looking at a screen.

Lauren shared some pictures on our reviews page of her learning to pan with her son.

teaching a kid to pan gold paydirt

This was probably one of the funnest activities we’ve done! Thank you SO much Bering Sea Paydirt!!

I got a pan on Amazon and we tried our hand at it, and let me tell you…it looks SO much easier on TV! It’s definitely an art form, but we started to get the hang of it!

It’s so fun and rewarding at the same time. I have so much more respect for gold miners like Emily , knowing how difficult a small amount of dirt is to pan!

You don’t have to be a gold expert or exactly know how to pan to have fun with this!

Lauren H. from Nevada

For the young-at-heart it’s a great way to bring the adventure of gold prospecting home for Christmas or a birthday.

The nice thing about paydirt is that when all is said and done you’re left with something of lasting value: gold.

While we’d never recommend paydirt as an investment (in fact it’s one of the reasons NOT to buy paydirt), it holds its value better than almost anything you’ll get on Amazon these days.

Most gifts eventually break, degrade, or become outdated or unfashionable.

But gold is timeless.

Besides being unique and beautiful, it’s retained its value for centuries, and will continue to do so.

If you like to take a little gamble

“I like the gamble of panning paydirt. I find it as a emotional release from the stress of life.”

Mike D.

Let’s face it, there’s no denying that gold attracts some, uh, speculative activity.

Take a walk around Nome and you’ll see dozens of monuments to miscalculated risks in the form of homemade dredges that are rusting in yards. Some of these dreamers spent all their hard-earned savings on commercial gold mining operations that met a truly tragic end.

There is something fundamentally different about buying gold paydirt than gold bullion, and that’s the thrill of the hunt. You may come out with a little more gold in one bag and a little less in the next.

It’s an undeniable part of gold prospecting.

That said, if building a dredge to find gold in Nome is a “10” on the gambling dial, buying gold paydirt is a “1.” You’re not risking much and, when you buy our bags, you’re guaranteed to get a certain amount of gold in each.

But there’s always that possibility of doing a little better or worse each time.

If you, or someone you know, loves Bering Sea Gold

Totally seems silly until you’re actually holding the gold in your hands from Nome, Alaska. The fever is for real people! In that little isolated moment on the fan level, opening [the bag] up and realizing you and your crew totally pull through is Awesome! Gold, stickers, certificate of proof is as big of a collectible treasure some of us fans can get. Not to mention every episode you and your crew bring us on Emily. Thank you so much!

Toscano from New Jersey

Not to toot our own horns, but this is a reason to buy Bering Sea Paydirt that no other paydirt seller can offer.

Let me tell you a story about how we met our writer Monica.

Emily and I put a notice out on her Facebook page looking for writers. Monica messaged us and told us about how she loves the show and loves building websites.

What we didn’t know was that she became a fan by watching Emily’s adventures on Bering Sea Gold with her father.

Emily Riedel shooting Bering Sea Gold
See above: Emily’s adventures on Bering Sea Gold

Monica’s dad was a big fan of many of the gold shows on Discovery Channel and watching Bering Sea Gold together was a way for them to connect and deepen their relationship with each other.

For those who feel a special connection to Bering Sea Gold, whether it’s through connecting with family or just being a big fan of the characters and stories, we can offer a real Bering Sea dredger experience for you at home.

You probably can’t eat a crab you know was caught on Deadliest Catch or a steak from one of the cows on the Kilcher Homestead in Alaska: The Last Frontier. You probably won’t get a chance to drive a car you see in Street Outlaws.

Emily Riedel packing bags of paydirt
Emily packing bags of paydirt in the “dirtbag factory” in Nome

But you CAN pan real gold paydirt mined by Emily and the crew on Bering Sea Gold. We sell Eroica Paydirt which is gold and concentrates that came straight out of The Eroica’s sluicebox.

Emily Riedel Real Gold Paydirt

Shop real gold paydirt dredged on The Eroica as seen on Bering Sea Gold!

Real Bering Sea minerals, magnetites, and garnets.

Free Shipping to USA!

Each bag comes with a guarantee of 1.5 grams of gold and a certificate of authenticity signed by Emily Riedel herself (along with a couple of waterproof vinyl decals from our store).

Reasons gold paydirt IS NOT worth buying

If you want to make an investment in gold

Look, if you want investment-grade gold you should buy bullion!

You know exactly what you’re getting and it’s easier to value an American Gold Eagle than an ounce of raw placer gold. I would NEVER tell someone that paydirt (even ours) is a superior investment.

I could end the section here, but I want to talk a bit about how much gold you should realistically expect for your money when buying paydirt.

The most common reason people are disappointed by paydirt is that they’re comparing it to an investment in gold bullion, or expecting a “100% ROI.”

I think the whole paydirt industry is damaged by the prolific use of the term “return on investment” or “ROI.”

Traditionally “ROI” is a financial term used to calculate the amount of profit made on an investment.

Why is this applied to paydirt? Are customers expecting an immediate profit from their paydirt? What product do you expect to buy from a retailer that’s consistently worth MORE than you paid for it?

“ROI” in the world of paydirt is the term used to measure the value of the gold received in the paydirt versus the price paid for the product.

The way ROI is calculated in paydirt is this: let’s say you spend $100 on a bag of paydirt and you recover 1.4 grams of gold.

So you would take the spot price and divide it by 31.1 grams in order to get a value of gold per gram. At $1,718.10 per troy ounce, one gram of gold is worth $55.15. So 1.4 grams is worth $77.21, which paydirt customers would consider a 77.21% “ROI.”

Let’s take a look at bullion as a comparison.

An American Gold Eagle coin from JM Bullion today costs $1,962.32 if you pay with a credit card. It’s a few % less if you pay with an ACH transfer. Shipping is free.

The price of gold today according to Kitco is $1,631.50 if you split the bid and the ask.

By paydirt logic the “ROI” on buying American Gold Eagle coins with a credit card today is 83.14%.

ROI of American Gold Eagle gold bullion

Bullion dealers and paydirt sellers, like all retailers, need to make a profit. And if paydirt sellers are good to their customers they, like bullion dealers, are making pretty thin profit margins.

That said, some paydirt buyers are still obsessed with getting a “100% ROI.” It’s a strangely high bar that’s held up for this business that isn’t for others, and actually could set you up for getting a low quality product.

So what’s normal? I’d say anything below a 60% “ROI” is definitely subpar for a bag with a guaranteed amount of gold.

The one exception is if you’re buying a bag with an element of chance where a few bags have a LOT of gold then it’s going to fluctuate dramatically and ROI could be below, or way above that.

What’s high? I think an 85-90% ROI is EXCEPTIONAL and is probably the result of getting a bonus bag, spending a LOT of money on a huge purchase, or getting some very low-grade placer gold.

A lot of people don’t know that the purity of placer gold can fluctuate dramatically. Some placer gold is as low as 65% pure, while gold from the Bering Sea is consistently over 90% pure.

As a paydirt company, to ship a $100 bag of gold paydirt, we’re looking at $3-5 for shipping, $3 for packaging and vinyl decals and a glass vial, and $3 for credit card processing fees for every order. A 90% ROI would mean selling our gold at spot price.

That said, it’s important that buyers know they’re getting a decent amount of gold, because there are some bad actors out there…

If you don’t know if the paydirt seller has a bad reputation/is scamming customers

To be fair to customers and their use of the term “ROI,” it’s been important for folks to communicate which paydirt sellers are giving a fair amount of gold and which ones aren’t.

Paydirt can be an expensive item and bad actors will trick customers, essentially sell them a bag of worthless dirt for a lot of money.

Look at this list from of the worst ROIs from paydirt sellers. Five of these companies sent customers bags of dirt with ZERO gold in it at all!

Some bad actors will keep starting different paydirt websites over-and-over when the scam gets recognized on the previous one!

If a company has a new website, no reviews, or really bad reviews it’s really a good reason not to buy the paydirt.

That’s why we’re proud of our 4.8/5 star reviews and hundreds of satisfied customers.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article. You can shop paydirt and gold-by-the-gram in our shop here!

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