Panning For Gold In Panama : Planet Money Weighing gold on a bottle cap scale. And making gold teeth from gold you've mined yourself.
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Panning For Gold In Panama

She mined that gold herself Sara Taylor hide caption

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Sara Taylor

Sara Taylor is a Peace Corps volunteer based in Panama. She wrote to us after listening to our first gold podcast.

...In "ancient" times, so say my elder village members, the Embera tribe panned for gold in the rivers and found it extremely plentiful. So plentiful in fact that it had very little monetary value to them and held more spiritual meaning ... All women had extravagant necklaces, earrings, tooth caps, bracelets, etc. made of pure gold ...

I currently live in a village of around 100 Embera residents and they still pan for gold in the river. They don't find a lot, and to be honest it's against national park regulations to even be doing it, but they recover enough to make a living to feed their many children in the off season.

... at the end of the day the people can take their findings to this gentleman named Aseroy who weighs out the gold and buys it ... The scale he uses appears rather crude being made out of two bottle caps he suspends on string from a delicately carved and balanced piece of wood. ... The price he sells it for in the city is $34 a gram, and he buys it from the people at $29 per gram. ...

I've included photos of a couple of women who have gold teeth from gold they've mined themselves as well as a photo of the scale ... Aseroy uses in his house.

Sara Taylor
Gold scale made of bottle caps.
Sara Taylor