Here are a couple of commercial sites, with standard panning
techniques. In addition, I have also gotten gold out of Clear Creek
and tributaries in the area when I lived in Idaho Springs.
Phoenix Gold Mine, Idaho Springs Admission Includes: A Mine Tour,
Gold Panning and Hiking Trails Adults $10 (12 & over), Children $5
(5 - 11), Seniors (over 65) - $8, 4 & Under Free, Panning Only - $5
Very friendly folks, outstanding mine tour, No Camping but they will
loan you a pan and show you how to use it.
Jesse over at Vic's Gold Panning near Blackhawk charges $8 for a
full bucket you can pan out in a trough. He keeps what you miss and
there is no camping. A good panner might be able to work through 4 or
5 buckets in a day thus $32 - $40 per day. Blackhawk is also a nice
area for 1 armed bandits and other games of chance.
The Country Boy Mine in Breckenridge charges Adults $16, Children
$11 (4-12) Children 3 and under are free. Gold Panning: $7 this
includes a pan of dirt and lessons on how to find your Gold. Open
from 10am to 4pm from May 23rd to August 15th, and from 11am to 2pm
from August 16th to October 15th. Additionally, as you will be near
the Blue river, give that a whirl, watch for fishermen though, they
get testy when you muck up the fishing.
I am afraid I am also a strike out on the diamond exploration. I
located the properties which have been published, and they are all
private on the Colorado side, I do not have maps to research the
Wyoming. About 2 years ago I spoke with one of the Colorado
Geologists during a class about the finds and he indicated that there
were unpublished locations but would not provide me an indication of
where they were until published, and I have not seen them published
Naja in Denver seems to have a fairly good selection of stones
pearls and tools, but it has been several years since I was there.
There is also a rock shop in Littleton which was wall to wall stones
and slabs with reasonable prices. Two good places which have a lot of
lapidary material are Buena Vista along the Arkansas River and
Salida, also along the river. The river canyon between Salida and
Canon City is well worth the drive for geologic interest, the folding
and mineralization in that drive is pretty spectacular.