Art & Design Magazine

Treasure Hunting

By Mushir @Nethaat


We have seen the Indiana Jones movies and wondered or even acted out Treasure Hunting sequences from the movie. Let’s face it, treasure hunting is an exciting and interesting thing to do, no matter where you are.

But what is treasure hunting? Is it hunting for hidden pirate treasure or some old treasure of the kings? Not necessarily. The Biggest source of treasure is our Earth, Mother Nature, itself. There are tonnes of precious and semi-precious gems and stones buried and hidden in the ground right below our feet, including Diamonds and Gold!

But you can’t just go outside, dig through rocks and hope to find particular types of gems and crystals. You need to know where a particular gem and stone is found and how to find it and what to watch out for. Basically, you need to know the details thoroughly. Like if you want a specific kind of ruby or emerald, you have a good chance of finding it in Burma (Myanmar) which is rich in them, or Jades in Afghanistan.

If you trying to hit the jackpot and want to find a Diamond, because diamonds are created under extreme pressure, they form deep within the ground. They are most common in areas where deep mantle rocks have been pushed to the surface by geological processes. They can also be found in the alluvial deposits (rocks and soil deposited by water) along rivers that flow from these areas. Minerals formed in Earth’s mantle can find their way to the surface over the span of millions of years due to huge geologic effects such as tectonic plate movement. Earthquakes and volcanoes can bring deep rocks to the surface, while wind or water erosion gradually wears down surface soils to reveal buried bedrock. People can reveal the bedrock as well, which is why it can be very rewarding to hunt for gems near tunnels, railroads or construction sites (You should get permission first).

 Plenty of pocket guidebooks are available you amateur explorers to identify their gems and stones. Especially because the rough forms of gems look very different from the gleaming jewels we typically imagine. In rough form, gems are partly or wholly encased in other material, usually rock. They may resemble translucent lumps or have a more defined shape, depending on the structure of the mineral.  Taking help from an expert initially, is also recommended. For every gem in the world, there’s a different way to find it. Gem hunters dig through the gravel layer and filter the rocks by putting them in a pan and shaking them in water. Also some heavy gems like Sapphires settle at the bottom of the pan when put in with the dirt into the water.

One of the most common and sought after minerals is Gold. Flakes and pellets of gold can be found mixed with gravel and sediments. Gold is heavier than water, so shaking a pan full of dirt, rock and water settles any gold to the bottom. The other material can be washed over the side, leaving the gold behind. Sluices, which are long channels (like miniature waterslides) with ridges on the bottom. Large volumes of dirt, rock and water course down the sluice, leaving heavy gold caught in the ridges.

There are thousands of types of minerals in existence. And even though the varieties we would call gems are fewer, they’re created under combinations of conditions so vast as to be nearly infinite. Pressure, heat, location, the presence of other minerals and impurities, water, and geologic forces exerted all contribute to the hardness, clarity, crystalline structure and color of gems and minerals. That’s what makes them so rare.

Taking the proper Gem Hunting equipment for gem hunting is equally important. Using your bare hands to chip out specimens or haul gravel could cause serious damage. Fortunately, geologic tools aren’t expensive — items like gold pans and collection bags are very cheap.

Here’s the basic equipment needed for a proper gem-hunting expedition:

•   Rugged clothes: Climbing and digging requires clothes that can get dirty. Sturdy boots and pants are a must. Work gloves will save hands.

•   Rock hammer: A geologist’s hammer has a flat head at one end and a chisel at the other, perfect for splitting rocks. Longer hammers are better, while some gem hunters prefer to bring a selection of small chisels.

•   Shovel: A folding shovel will help you collect the most stubborn of gems.

•   Goggles: Hammering or chiseling rock can cause rock chips to fly up and enter your eyes. Wearing safety goggles can prevent this.

•   Collection bag: A sturdy collection bag will keep the findings safe. You also have to bring a newspaper to wrap each gem so they don’t bang together and break.

•   Labeling system: You can use a non permanent marker and labels to note each find. Once the gem is numbered, you can mark the location and date of where and when it was found. Mark any other information you’d like to later add into your gem-hunting diary.

•   Magnifying lens: A 10x magnification is very useful for examining and identifying specimens, especially once you gain some experience and know what to look for.

More advanced equipment is optional. A GPS instrument is helpful if you are hiking although a map is enough too. If you’re looking for a particular type of gem, you might need specialized equipment, such as a pan for gold. Also always carry sunscreen lotion and a large hat to be protected from the sun at all times as the heat and sun burn can ruin your experience. Carrying cold water and food is also important as it is a tiresome affair and you need to retain your energy.

But before doing all this, it is important to be careful about not encroaching on anybody’s private property. You need to do your research and ask around, so that you are not trespassing anywhere. There are some paid mining sites where you actually pay a charge to poke around. These sites usually have everything that you will need for your adventure. They sell accessories, have experts, guides etc. Apart from these sites, you can of course go to public areas which are historically abundant in minerals and carry on. But precautions need to be taken always so that you don’t disrupt the balance of nature while mining. Digging needs to be done in areas where vegetation, flora and fauna won’t be disrupted. Ethical mining is the need of the hour, as mining by big companies are under a lot of controversy and illegal mining has destroyed many a forest. We need to take it upon our own conscience to cover our exploits in the soil after we are done so that the land doesn’t get destroyed for our recreation.  Live Green!



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