With money tight and the price of gold soaring, some people are grabbing gear and taking up the old trade of gold prospecting in Ohio.
The price of gold has been breaking records, selling for more than $1,300 an ounce, and with the economy pinching pocketbooks, many people treasure hunt at home, 10TV's Jerry Revish reported on Wednesday.
Some sell old or unwanted gold jewelry to stores and prospecting companies but others are treasure hunting the old fashioned way.
Ohio was never gold country, not like the legendary strikes in Colorado or California, but it has always had small amounts.
"That's placer gold," said Buckeye Gold Prospectors Association spokesman Jerry Cline. "That means that it's gold that's been brought down by the glaciers through Ohio."
Whether it is gold flakes, or the occasional nugget, the high price makes the search attractive for many people, Revish reported.
A rush of people has joined the Gold Prospectors Association of America.
"Their membership went from 30,000 to 45,000 members in one year," said Buckeye Gold Prospectors Association member Patrick O'Masters.
O'Masters said he and his fellow prospectors see this as an outdoor hobby, like fishing, but with a financial kick.
"If you want to find gold, go where it's already been found," O'Masters said. "You don't always find gold with black sand, but you always find black sand where you find the gold."
Prospector Dennis Staskiewicz found a nugget in Circleville.
"The river was fairly dirty," Staskiewicz said. "There was garbage in it. I didn't think I'd find anything, and that was my best find in Ohio in 10 years."
It takes a trained eye to know what to look for. Prospectors have found gemstones like garnet and amethyst, but it is gold that keeps them searching.
"Gold is a tangible asset," O'Masters said. "You can't print more of it."
You need a landowner's permission to search for gold on private property but the Gold Prospectors Association has access to 18,000 sites around the country, some of which have richer deposits than here in Ohio.
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