Platinum Still Being Found in Northern California Streams (Part 1)

(N. California platinum nugget recovered back in the 1800s.)

Some of the Largest Platinum Nuggets Found

As far as historians are concerned, California remains the "Golden State" in terms of the sheer amount of lode and placer gold recovered from its mountains, slopes, rivers, creeks, dry washes, and arroyos. However, what many small-scale miners are not aware of is the fact that platinum has also been recovered in the state's alluvial or placer gravels, especially in selected locations in Northern California.

Gold Prospecting Books
Gold Pans

Some of the largest platinum nuggets ever found in California came from various locations in Trinity County, (especially near Junction City) way back in the mid-to-late 1800s. Exactly how large these placer platinum nuggets were is not known, but it's unlikely they could compete with the size and weight of many of the gold nuggets recovered in California at the time.

Platinum Group Metals
What the historical records do show, however, is that between 200-300 ounces of platinum were recovered annually during the heyday of California placer mining. Interestingly enough, platinum has dropped behind gold in terms of recent spot prices by at least $100.00 USD...not all that long ago you could expect the spot price per troy ounce of platinum to exceed that of gold by a decent margin...always. Not now, so go figure.

If you've been around the small-scale gold mining block for a while you've probably heard the term "platinum group metals" kicked around at one time or another. The platinum group metals are:

1) Platinum (Pt on the Periodic Table of the Elements)

2) Osmium (Os)

3) Iridium (Ir)

4) Ruthenium (Ru)

5) Rhodium (Rh)

6) Palladium (Pd)

(Rhodium nugget.)

"It Ain't All About Gold"

In case you're wondering why I threw this information in here it may interest you to know that all of these are valuable little items. Sure, platinum is worth the most, but the current spot price of rhodium is $1,350.00  USD per troy ounce (down from a 2009 high of $9,000 an ounce!) and Palladium goes for around $650.00 USD a troy once. - any strap, any length, any color!
So as you can see, "It ain't all about gold." There's money to be made in all the platinum group metals. Interestingly enough, with technology advancing at an ever-increasing clip, experts believe that gold and the platinum group metals will become even more valuable in the future.

That's all for now, but there's more to come on platinum on Northern California. Best of luck to you out there in the mean time.

If you liked this post, you may want to read: "More on Gold Prospecting: Modern Methods (Part 1)"

(c)  Jim Rocha (J.R.)  2012

Questions? E-mail me at


  1. A few years back I found a small piece of something silver colored about as long as a grain of rice, but not as thick. I knew it wasn't gold,or mercury coated gold, so like an idiot I tossed it back. Never thought about Platnum, thinking back on what it looked like, I think it and learn.....

    1. Ouch! If you were mining in N. California at the time that very well could've been platinum. Thanks for commenting my friend. J.R.

  2. I would like to know more and haven't found much. Like, what each of these look like thru a 10x Lupe, in what way can they be conglomerated within the "rocks", the relation between the Platinum group and gold, and the occurrences as inclusions on, let's just say Quartz? I've been doing extensive studying online and am having trouble finding much. I have a partial year creek and what seems to be a mine in the side of the ravine leading to the creek. Also there are 2 reported mines around me on the hill I live. Knowing they weren't so much looking for anything but gold. I believe there are some beautiful conglomerates of natural metals on property. Although I have been studying my but off and trying to ask questions, this isn't so much a Q&A feild nor do the "old timers" around want to be giving out info. That's absurd, don't ask, don't tell, and make the money, right?

  3. I have some nuggets found around trinity. Where do I look to have them appraised am currently in North Florida

  4. I need a reliable appraiser in North Florida. Any suggestions appreciated.

  5. I'd hit a geologist at one of the local colleges first thing. After that, your guess is as good as mine if you're looking to sell.


Post a Comment