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Panning for profit: Does Switzerland really contain the purest gold on Earth?

Panning for profit: Does Switzerland really contain the purest gold on Earth?

With the price of precious metals going from strength to strength, a new report by Watson has revealed that the purest gold in the world can be found right here in Switzerland. However, for those ready to don their explorer hats and head on a quest to find El Dorado in the Swiss mountains, there is a catch.

Purest gold in the world can be found in Canton Lucerne

From the rush to California in the 18th century to the covered bazaars of the Middle East today, gold has been a valued commodity throughout history, whether it be used as currency or simply a way to adorn fine jewellery. The last few weeks have seen the price of gold soar, peaking at 70.000 Swiss francs a kilo on May 28. 

With this in mind, Watson revealed that the purest gold in the world can be found in Switzerland, in the region around Napf in the “wild west” of Canton Lucerne and eastern Canton Bern. There, experts estimate the gold valued in the “millions” is present in the region today.

You always find some gold panning Swiss rivers, says expert

Speaking to the newspaper, Gsto - who has been offering gold panning tours around Entlebuch since 2000 - confirmed that the Napf region offers up gold between 23 and 24 carats, the purest gold on earth. He added that “Napf gold trades at a price approximately three times higher than the price of [regular] gold.”

What’s more, finding gold is relatively easy around Napf, with Gsto declaring that “you always find something” when panning the local rivers. The process of panning through water and rock is patient work, with the prospector declaring that “if you hurry, you won’t get anywhere.” 

Can you get rich panning for gold in Switzerland?

However, Watson noted that those hoping to get rich quick by gold panning in Switzerland are in for a disappointment: while it is very pure, Napf gold usually comes out as a “glittery substance”, with Gsto estimating that you would need “2.000 to 3.000 of these small pieces to obtain a gram.”

The newspaper estimated that one person would need to pan non-stop for three years and 10 months in order to get enough gold to earn 70.000 francs. Working eight hours a day, a million francs could be earned if you panned for 171 years. For Gsto, gold panning in Switzerland is more to “experience emotions here and go to bed happy at night," with each gold discovery bringing an enormous sense of well-being.

While you can’t become a rich mining magnate, Gsto concluded that the experience is rich "in itself."

Jan de Boer

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Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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