Make Money with Gold: 12 Creative Ways for Prospectors to Cash In

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Written By Monica

Gold prospecting is like a thrilling treasure hunt, where the glint of gold can ignite a spark of excitement and possibility. While the most obvious way for prospectors to cash in on their hobby is to sell their gold, there’s a whole world of creative opportunities out there that can turn your passion into profit.

In this guide, we’ll explore a treasure trove of innovative ideas that not only let you sell your gold in unique ways but also show you how to make money from your hobby without parting with a single flake. So, grab your trusty gold pan and let’s embark on this golden journey together, uncovering the secrets to turning your love for prospecting into cold, hard cash.

Sell Raw Gold

Selling your raw gold might be the most obvious way to cash in on your discoveries, but being creative with where you sell can make a big difference in how much money you make. By selling your gold online, you can usually get more than what a traditional gold buying business would pay. 

And remember, don’t sell your gold nuggets by weight just yet – we’ve got some tips later on for getting the best prices for those. For now, let’s focus on how to sell your smaller gold finds, like flakes, flour gold, and fine gold.

Real World Story

Judy’s (JudyJudyGold on eBay) a gold prospector from Alaska who knows the value of her gold finds. Instead of letting her flakes and fine gold collect dust, she started selling her gold on Ebay in 2009. Her listings showcased her gold’s purity, uniqueness and the story of where it was mined. 

She soon found herself with a growing number of eager buyers, turning her once overlooked gold dust into cold, hard cash. 

Getting Started

a. Understand your gold: Know the differences between flakes, coarse gold, and gold pickers, and how their size and purity affect their value.

b. Choose the right platform: Take advantage of online platforms like eBay and Etsy, where you can reach a wider audience of gold enthusiasts who appreciate the beauty and value of smaller gold finds.

c. Make it look good: Create attractive listings that highlight your gold’s unique characteristics, where it’s from and emphasize its purity, making it more appealing to potential buyers.

By focusing on the value of your smaller gold finds and using the power of the internet, you’ll be turning your flakes and fine gold into sweet profits in no time. And don’t forget to stick around for our tips on getting top dollar for your gold nuggets!

Create Gold Jewelry

Transform your gold finds into wearable art by crafting unique, handcrafted jewelry pieces like rings, necklaces, and bracelets. Envision your gold as raw material for a blacksmith, forging one-of-a-kind items that carry the story of their origin. 

We have a great video that shows you how you can melt gold with a TIG Welder to get yours into a state where you can start making jewelry with it.

Real World Story

Gold Smith Jack on Youtube makes gold jewelry out of his gold. He shows how he melts it down and makes rings and other pieces of gold jewelry from it using basic tools. He has almost 250k subscribers on his channel. Millions of viewers watch as he turns gold dust into beautiful jewelry that he sells.  

Getting Started

a. Partner with local artisans or learn the basics of jewelry making. Many local community centers or libraries offer classes on how to make jewelry. 

b. Create one-of-a-kind pieces that carry the story of their origin.

c. Sell your creations through platforms like Etsy, local markets, or gold prospecting events.

Each sale contributes to your growing reputation as a creator of exclusive, gold-infused jewelry that have a story behind them.

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Offer Gold Panning Experiences

For gold prospectors who want to share their passion with others, offering gold panning experiences can be a fun and rewarding way to do it. You don’t have to start your own camp – you can offer day tours much like a hunting or fishing guide, or even work part-time as a guide at existing gold mining operations or camps. By providing a hands-on adventure for visitors, you can create unforgettable memories while educating them about gold prospecting. 

Real World Stories

Our friends at AKAU Alaska Gold & Resort (and Hosts for our 2023 Gold Rush Get Away) the Krutzsch family mined their claims near Nome, Alaska for many years under the name of Krutzsch Mining. With a rich history in gold and a deep love for Alaska, Augie Krutzsch decided to carry on his family’s legacy by offering visitors a rare opportunity to not only experience the breathtaking beauty of the Alaskan landscape and tundra but also immerse themselves in the historic past of Nome, Alaska.

By providing gold panning experiences, Augie introduced guests to the art of gold prospecting, allowing them to try their hand at finding gold while learning about the region’s history. This unique offering quickly became a hit, attracting tourists from all over who wanted to dive into the exciting world of gold hunting and stay at their camp.

gold prospecting vacations

Kim Rodman and her family have been teaching people how to find and pan for gold for over 3 generations at their Roaring Camp Mining Company located in Pine Grove, California. They offer gold prospecting tours, camping and various family friendly activities for guests in the Mokelumne River Canyon. 

They turned their love of prospecting into a fun adventure they can share for generations and make money.

Getting Started

a. Assess your knowledge and experience: Before offering gold panning experiences, make sure you’re well-versed in gold prospecting techniques and the history of your chosen location. This will ensure you can provide a fun, informative, and safe experience for your guests.

b. Choose a suitable location: Select a location that is not only rich in gold but also easily accessible and safe for visitors. Be sure to research and obtain any necessary permits or licenses for conducting gold panning tours in the area.

c. Develop a tour plan: Outline your gold panning experience, including the duration, activities, and information you’ll share with your guests. Consider incorporating lessons on gold prospecting techniques, equipment, and the history of the area.

d. Set your pricing and create promotional materials: Determine the cost of your gold panning experience, taking into account expenses such as equipment, transportation, and insurance. Develop promotional materials like brochures, business cards, and a website to showcase your offerings and attract customers.

e. Network with other businesses: Reach out to local gold mining operations, camps, and tourism agencies to explore opportunities for collaboration. By working together, you can increase your exposure and tap into a larger client base.

f. Advertise your gold panning experience: Use online platforms, social media, and local tourism outlets to promote your gold panning tours. Encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews and share their experiences with friends and family to help grow your business.

Promote your workshops or tours through social media, local event listings, or by partnering with travel agencies and tour operators. As you inspire and educate others, you’ll cultivate a new generation of gold prospecting enthusiasts and simultaneously turn your passion into profit.

Partner with Local Businesses

For gold prospectors looking to diversify their income, partnering with a local business can be a fantastic way to create unique, gold-themed products. By combining your gold expertise with their production know-how, you can develop items that appeal to a wide range of customers.

Real World Story

Parker Schnabel, well-known gold miner from the TV show Gold Rush, partnered with his cousin, Jacob, who owns Alaska Creations. Together, they created handmade candles with gold that Parker had mined mixed into the candles. They made two different scents, pine and cinnamon, which quickly became a hit and sold out.

While not everyone has the reach of Parker Schnabel, this example illustrates the potential of partnering with a local business to create popular, gold-themed products. Candles are always in demand, and by incorporating gold into them, you can create an appealing and unique item that customers will love.

Getting Started

a. Identify potential local businesses: Look for businesses that produce popular products that could be enhanced by incorporating gold, such as candles, soap, or artwork.

b. Pitch your idea: Present your gold prospecting background and propose a collaboration that highlights the unique qualities of your gold finds, explaining how they can add value to the business’s existing product line.

c. Develop a product together: Work closely with your chosen business partner to create a gold-themed product that appeals to your target market. Ensure the quality, design, and pricing align with both of your brands.

d. Promote and sell your product: Utilize both of your marketing channels and networks to showcase the product, highlighting the story behind the gold and the partnership.

Work with local artisans to craft these exclusive offerings, then collaborate with nearby businesses to sell them. This symbiotic relationship not only generates income but also strengthens ties within your community and showcases the allure of gold prospecting.

Create Gold Art

Gold prospectors with a creative side can use their gold finds to make stunning pieces of art. By incorporating gold into your artwork, you can elevate its value and appeal, attracting customers who appreciate the beauty and uniqueness of your creations. Let’s look at a real-world example of an artist who successfully uses gold in his paintings.

Real World Story

Meet Swarez, a UK-based artist from Gloucestershire, who creates amazing paintings by mixing gold into his paint and adding it as a finishing touch to some of his works. His art is sold all over the world, and he offers both original and commissioned pieces. Swarez began his artistic journey ten years ago after working as a delivery driver. He discovered his passion for art and has since built a successful career around it.

By incorporating gold into his paintings, Swarez not only adds a touch of luxury and uniqueness to his work but also captivates his audience, making his art highly sought after. This is a brilliant example of how gold prospectors with an artistic flair can transform their gold finds into mesmerizing works of art.

Getting Started

a. Develop your artistic style: Experiment with various mediums and techniques to find your unique artistic style that complements your gold finds.

b. Incorporate gold into your artwork: Use your gold in creative ways, such as mixing it into paint or applying it as a finishing touch to your pieces.

c. Build a portfolio: Create a collection of your gold-infused artwork to showcase your talent and the unique appeal of your creations.

d. Promote and sell your art: Use online platforms, art galleries, and social media to promote and sell your artwork. Attend art shows, craft fairs, and other events to showcase your gold-infused art to potential buyers.

e. Consider commissions: Offer custom, gold-infused artwork for clients looking for unique, personalized pieces.

By using your gold finds in your artwork, you can create distinctive, valuable pieces that will not only showcase your artistic talent but also celebrate the beauty and rarity of your gold.

Teach Gold Prospecting Classes

If you’re passionate about gold prospecting and have a knack for teaching, you can share your knowledge by offering classes. Teaching gold prospecting classes can be both rewarding and profitable, as you’ll help others develop valuable skills while generating income. 

Real World Story

Jim, the owner of American Gold Prospecting Adventures in Arizona, offers gold prospecting classes that cater to beginners and experienced prospectors alike. In these classes, participants learn about the sources of gold specific to the area they’re in, how it moves, and how to choose a good spot to prospect. They also discover how to read a river or desert landscape, apply effective digging techniques, master critical panning techniques, and use other prospecting equipment to refine and extract the gold. Jim’s classes provide a comprehensive, hands-on learning experience that equips participants with the knowledge and skills they need to become successful gold prospectors.

make money with gold prospecting

Getting Started

a. Develop your curriculum: Design a gold prospecting course that covers essential topics, such as gold geology, prospecting techniques, equipment, and safety.

b. Choose your teaching format: Determine whether you’ll offer in-person classes, online courses, or a combination of both.

c. Obtain necessary permits: If you plan to teach classes outdoors, research and secure any required permits for the locations you’ll use.

d. Promote your classes: Use social media, local advertising, and gold prospecting forums to reach potential students. Offer introductory or discounted classes to attract first-time participants.

e. Continuously improve: Gather feedback from your students and adjust your teaching methods and curriculum as needed to provide the best possible learning experience.

By offering gold prospecting classes, you can share your expertise and passion with others while making a profit. With the right approach and dedication, teaching gold prospecting can become a rewarding side hustle or even a full-time career.

Promote your classes through social media, local event listings, and gold prospecting forums. As you educate and inspire others, you’ll expand your network of prospecting enthusiasts and create a new income stream from your gold hunting skills.

Write Articles or Books

If you have a talent for writing and a wealth of gold prospecting knowledge, you can turn your experiences and expertise into articles or books. Sharing your stories and insights can help educate and inspire others while generating income from your writing.

Real World Story

Chris Ralph is a professional prospector with over 30 years of experience in mining and individual prospecting. He has searched for gold and staked mining claims throughout the western United States. Chris has written articles for ICMJ’s Prospecting and Mining Journal and authored a book called “Fists Full of Gold.” His writing showcases his extensive knowledge and passion for gold prospecting, making him a respected figure in the community.

Fist full of Gold Chris Ralph

By sharing his experiences and expertise through articles and books, Chris Ralph has made a significant impact on the gold prospecting community while generating income from his writing endeavors.

Getting Started

a. Identify your niche: Determine the specific aspects of gold prospecting you want to focus on in your writing, such as techniques, equipment, geology, or personal stories.

b. Develop your writing skills: Hone your writing skills to effectively communicate your ideas and engage your readers.

c. Submit articles to publications: Research publications in the gold prospecting and mining industry, and submit your articles for consideration.

d. Write a book: If you have enough knowledge and experience, consider writing a book on gold prospecting. Self-publish or seek a traditional publisher to reach a wider audience.

e. Promote your work: Use social media, online forums, and industry events to share your writing and connect with potential readers.

Submit your work to relevant magazines, websites, or consider self-publishing an e-book to sell on platforms like Amazon Kindle.

By writing articles and books about gold prospecting, you can share your knowledge, inspire others, and generate income from your writing. With dedication and persistence, you can establish yourself as an expert and respected voice in the gold prospecting community.

Become a Gold Prospecting Consultant

Embrace the role of a seasoned advisor by offering your services as a consultant to other gold prospectors, mining companies, or even landowners interested in exploring their property for gold potential. Provide guidance on prospecting techniques, equipment, and best practices, much like a coach offering wisdom and expertise to a dedicated team.

Real World Story

Chris Paulick is a gold prospecting consultant and radio talk show host for the United We Stand Gold Show. For many years, he has consulted with mining companies to help them find rich gold deposits. Chris’s expertise has taken him all over the world, and he’s currently staking his own gold claim at the Solferino Gold Mine in Colombia, South America, with other investors. His years of consulting have given him the experience and knowledge to successfully stake his own claim and pursue his passion for gold prospecting.

become a mining consultant

Getting Started

a. Establish your credibility: Build a strong reputation in the gold prospecting community by sharing your expertise, participating in events, and showcasing your successes.

b. Identify your target market: Determine whether you’ll focus on individual prospectors, small-scale mining operations, or large mining companies as your primary clients.

c. Offer specialized services: Develop a suite of consulting services tailored to your clients’ needs, such as claim evaluation, geological analysis, regulatory compliance, and operational optimization.

d. Network and build relationships: Attend industry events, join online forums, and engage with the gold prospecting community to build relationships and establish yourself as an expert in the field.

e. Market your services: Use social media, industry publications, and word-of-mouth referrals to promote your consulting services and attract clients.

As you help others succeed in their gold hunting endeavors, you’ll build a reputation as an expert in the field and create a new revenue stream for your prospecting passion.

Rent Out Your Equipment

If you have a collection of gold prospecting equipment that you’re not using all the time, you can generate some extra income by renting it out. While many gold prospecting attractions offer equipment rentals, you can provide a more personalized experience for prospectors in your area. 

Real World Story

Wayne Alton, an avid gold prospector, found himself unable to get out and prospect due to health issues. Instead of letting his equipment gather dust, he decided to rent out his drywasher, metal detector, and other equipment to those who were either visiting the Arizona area or just trying out gold prospecting as a hobby.

Not only did Wayne make money from his equipment, but he was also able to introduce his favorite hobby to others and give them tips and pointers on how to be successful in their prospecting endeavors.

gold prospecting equipment

Getting Started

a. Assess your equipment: Take inventory of the gold prospecting equipment you have available for rent and ensure it’s in good working condition.

b. Determine rental rates: Research local competition and set competitive rental rates for your equipment.

c. Create a rental agreement: Draft a rental agreement that outlines the terms and conditions, including rental duration, fees, and liability for any damages.

d. Advertise your rentals: Promote your equipment rental services through social media, local classifieds, gold prospecting forums, and word-of-mouth referrals.

e. Offer guidance and tips: As an experienced gold prospector, provide tips and pointers to your clients to help them have a successful and enjoyable experience with your equipment.

By renting out your gold prospecting equipment, you can generate extra income while introducing others to the exciting world of gold prospecting. With some effort and dedication, you can turn your unused equipment into a profitable side hustle.

Create a YouTube Channel, Podcast or Vlog

There are many successful gold prospecting YouTube channels, podcasts, and vlogs that have attracted large audiences. Dan Hurd, Ask Jeff Williams, PioneerPauly, and Vo-Gus Mining are just a few successful Youtubers. Each format has its unique advantages – YouTube is generally more action-based and visually appealing, while podcasts are usually more conversational and interview-style.

Despite their differences, all formats offer the opportunity to share your passion for gold prospecting, educate others, and build a community. 

Real World Story

Kevin Hoagland, Executive Director of Development for the Gold Prospectors Association of America (GPAA), is a prime example of someone who has successfully created both a popular podcast and YouTube channel. His podcast, On the Gold with Kevin Hoagland, features in-depth interviews and discussions about gold prospecting.

He also hosted the TV show Gold Trails in 2005, showcasing his expertise in the field. In addition to his podcast, Kevin has a successful YouTube channel where people can watch his in-the-field gold prospecting demonstrations.

Getting Started

a. Choose your format: Decide whether you want to create a YouTube channel, podcast, or vlog based on your strengths and interests.

b. Plan your content: Develop a content strategy that covers various aspects of gold prospecting, such as techniques, equipment reviews, interviews, and success stories.

c. Set up your channel or platform: Create a professional-looking YouTube channel, podcast, or blog using user-friendly tools and platforms.

d. Promote your content: Share your content on social media, gold prospecting forums, and through word-of-mouth referrals to attract an audience.

e. Engage with your audience: Respond to comments, questions, and feedback from your audience to build a strong and loyal community.

By creating a YouTube channel, podcast, or vlog about gold prospecting, you can share your passion and expertise with others and build a community.

Once you’ve built a following, monetize your content through advertising, affiliate marketing, or sponsored content. As you captivate and educate your audience, you’ll simultaneously generate income and establish yourself as a trusted voice in the gold prospecting community.

Collaborate with Jewelry Makers

If you don’t want to make jewelry yourself you can still get top value for your gold nuggets and pickers. Transform your unique gold pickers and nuggets into wearable art by collaborating with jewelry makers and designers. Picture your distinctive gold finds becoming the centerpiece of striking, handcrafted creations that intrigue collectors and buyers alike.

Real World Story

Grant from Nuggets by Grant started his journey by selling gold nuggets to jewelers he knew. He reached out to jewelry makers in his area and began creating relationships with them. Before long, they were calling him to see what gold nuggets he had available.

With the demand so high, he expanded from selling his own nuggets to buying gold nuggets directly from other miners in regions like Alaska, Canada, and Australia. Eventually, he created a website to reach more jewelers looking for unique gold nuggets in their pieces.

gold nugget necklace

Getting Started

a. Do some research: Look for local artisans, jewelry makers, or boutiques that have experience working with gold. Explore online platforms such as Etsy or Instagram to find potential collaborators.

b. Showcase your gold: Create an impressive portfolio or collection of your gold finds to showcase their unique qualities. Take high-quality photos of your gold nuggets, pickers, or other interesting pieces, emphasizing the origin and story behind each find.

c. Attend events and network: Participate in local markets, craft fairs, or jewelry trade shows to connect with jewelry makers and potential collaborators. Bring your portfolio (or even a few nuggets) with you to showcase your finds and share your passion for gold prospecting.

d. Develop a clear proposal: When approaching potential collaborators, present a well-thought-out proposal detailing how your partnership could work and the benefits for both parties.

e. Establish a business arrangement: Once you’ve found a compatible jewelry maker, work out the details of your collaboration, including commission or profit-sharing arrangements, responsibilities for each party, and a timeline for creating and selling the jewelry.

By collaborating with jewelry makers, you can unlock the full potential of your gold finds and generate income through the sale of custom-designed pieces with a real story behind them.

As you foster connections and enjoy success with your one-of-a-kind jewelry, you’ll discover that gold prospecting is not just about unearthing those glittering treasures, but also about creating lucrative opportunities and personal satisfaction.

Sell Paydirt

Embrace the role of a gold merchant by offering bags of paydirt for sale. Paydirt, rich in gold-bearing material, provides an exciting opportunity for fellow gold enthusiasts to experience the thrill of panning for gold in the comfort of their own homes  and experience the thrill of the hunt.

Consider it as selling bottled excitement, a chance for others to immerse themselves in the gold prospecting adventure.

Real World Story

Bering Sea Paydirt was born from the creative minds of Alex and Emily, who were looking for a way to connect with fans and offer them a chance to buy gold they had seen on the TV show Bering Sea Gold. Emily Riedel has been featured on the show for over 15 seasons, and together with her husband, Alex, they started selling paydirt in 2021.

Their paydirt not only boasts a high return on investment (ROI) but also carries a unique story behind every bag. Every speck of gold dust and picker in their paydirt comes directly from the sluice box of the Eroica Gold Dredge, captained by Emily Riedel and Alex Trokey. This connection to a popular TV show and the gold’s origin adds an extra layer of excitement for fans and customers.

Real Bering Sea Gold Paydirt from Emily Riedel Eroica

Getting Started

a. Determine your paydirt composition: Decide on the gold content and type of dirt or sand you’ll use to create your paydirt mixture. Ensure a consistent and satisfying gold-finding experience for your customers.

b. Package and brand your product: Design eye-catching packaging that tells the story of your gold and its origin. Create a memorable brand that highlights the uniqueness and quality of your paydirt.

c. Market your paydirt: Reach out to fans of gold prospecting shows, local hobbyists, or prospecting clubs to promote your paydirt. Utilize social media and online platforms to showcase your product and engage with potential customers.

d. Set up an online store: Create an online store or utilize existing e-commerce platforms such as Etsy, eBay, or Amazon to sell your paydirt to a wider audience.

e. Provide excellent customer service: Ensure your customers have a positive experience by offering panning instructions, responding to inquiries promptly, and sharing tips or stories about gold prospecting.

By following these steps and using the unique story behind your gold, you can create a successful paydirt business that allows customers to connect with you and share in the excitement of gold prospecting.

By implementing these practical and creative strategies, you can turn your gold prospecting hobby into a profitable side hustle. Embrace the spirit of innovation and determination that defines gold hunters, and transform your passion for gold into a thriving, profit-generating endeavor.

The road to gold monetization is like a river full of golden opportunities—now it’s up to you to grab your pan and start sifting.


Real Gold by Emily Riedel from Bering Sea Gold

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