PDN Photo of the Day

Gold Fever (9 Photos)

Gold Fever (9 Photos)

© Sarina Finkelstein.

Sarina Finkelstein’s work, The New 49ers, is an investigation of the re-emergence of gold prospectors in California during The Great Recession, while the price of gold is at an all-time high. Photographs from the series are currently on view at Newspace Center for Photography in Portland, OR.  She says, “Gold is the underlying theme and is the visual that ties the photos together, but it’s also a metaphor for something valuable we all seek, something for which we are willing to take a risk and gamble everything. What I’m interested in is a group of people living outside the social norm, united by their all-consuming quest [for gold] and the bravery inherent in the personal sacrifices they make in order to pursue it. People who—in a time of desperation—strive to be frugal and self-reliant. They enjoy the simple satisfaction of being able to pull something tangible like a gold flake or nugget from the ground with their own two hands. Every day is an adventure filled with hope and suspense, as each shovelful could become a potential moment of discovery.”

Above: “The Gold Pocket,” Ironstone Vineyards, Murphys, CA.  On December 26, 1992, excavators in the Crystalline mine of the Sonora Mining Corporation mine near Jamestown, California uncovered a “pocket” of crystalline leaf gold.  This largest piece, the Kautz specimen, weighs in at about 44 pounds of gold.  It is the largest single piece of gold mined in North America since the 1880s, the largest specimen of crystallized gold in existence today and is priceless.

 Adolf and Martin night prospecting by the Scott River, Klamath National Forest, CA.

 Avery digging by the Scott River, Klamath National Forest, CA.

 Rob’s gold pan, Klamath National Forest, CA.

 Suction dredge on the Scott River after the ban on dredging, Klamath National Forest, CA.

 Bernie McGrath, Unofficial Mayor of “Nugget Alley,” Angeles National Forest, CA.

 Gold Prospecting Adventures, LLC mining supply store (a family-owned store that has existed for three generations), Jamestown, CA.

 Rick at his second camp, Angeles National Forest, CA.

 Avery’s gold from Scott River, Klamath National Forest, CA.


  1. Hi Love the photos I had a 3 oz crystlzed gold nugget for a long time but sold it.
    I have claims in Oregon too. One is for sale.
    To all the miners that have seen these photo’s go for it! Its still out there.
    I have mined since 1977 and took out LBs too.

  2. Howdy! Lots of folks say the old timers wore out those famous areas back in the 1800’s.
    These photos are proof that this is not so! Keep hunting… out here in Colorado there’s tons of gold left to be found by the smart, educated, and lucky!
    Happy Trails,

  3. As far as the big nugget is concerned there is alot more to the story of the Crystaline pocket Kown to us who acctualy dug it up as the Christmas pocket.
    Many people try to tell the story on TV shows but nobody gets it right, It was a great day and a great story..

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