California Gold


The price of gold is slightly down today, but anyone seeking to dive into the gold market need only look at the trends as gold inches toward $2,000 per ounce. Who could imagine that this precious metal would be so valuable? The 49'miners knew it and they didn’t hesitate to try to find gold. Gold fever helped build and shape modern day California when gold was found in the Sierra Nevada mountains and foothills, and people from around the globe rushed to this far away land to strike it rich in 1849.

Gold continues to fascinate the traveling public, and California’s got it! Two of the finest gold specimens in the world are worth seeing during Gold Country trips in California.

Seeing Gold in California:

  • Largest Crystalline Gold Leaf specimen in the world – weighing 44 pounds, it was discovered in 1992 on Christmas Day, just fifteen miles from its current home at Ironstone Vineyards and Winery’s Heritage Museum (
  • The Fricot Nugget – weighing 13.8 pounds, this specimen is comprised of crystallized gold, making it the largest remaining intact mass of crystalline gold from 19th century California. It can be seen at California State Mining and Mineral Museum in Mariposa, Calif. (
  • Gold Bug Mine – Hangtown’s Gold Bug Park & Mine in Placerville is the only gold mine in California that is open to visitors.
  • Panning for Gold – there are many places to pan for gold in California. You can try your hand out in nature, or kids and adults can get a feel for gold panning at Knotts Berry Farm in Buena Park and Roaring Camp Railroads in the town of Felton in Santa Cruz County.
  • Gold Rush Town – Columbia, California is an authentic Gold Rush-era business district preserved with shops, restaurants and two hotels. Visitors have the chance to time-travel to the 1850s, staying in the hotels, watching proprietors in period clothing, riding a 100 year-old stagecoach, panning for gold, and taking a tours of the old gravesites or enjoying special events that bring the California Gold Rush to life (

Photos, left to right: Gold Rush town of Columbia, California offers a variety of experiences, including stagecoach rides, and Crystalline Gold Leaf weighing 44 pounds on display in Murphys.

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