How Does a Metal Detector Find Gold?

Treasure hunters and amateur prospectors are always looking for effective gold detectors. In essence, gold detectors are specialized metal detectors. The specialization includes distinct calibrations and material parts for detecting gold. Metal detectors find gold by transmitting electromagnetic fields underground. The return signal provides data that is induced if gold is present.

When the electromagnetic field goes through conductive materials, it induces eddy currents within the metals and initiates the return signal.  Eddy currents are electrical loops that produce the return signal, which the detector analyzes.

Let me be honest; not all metal detectors can find gold. Over the years, I’ve learned to appreciate that gold prospecting demands effective equipment. Gold is a top target for treasure hunters, so it’s time you learned more about reliable gold detectors.


Can gold be detected by a metal detector?

Gold can be detected by a metal detector, but you’ll find inhibitive interferences as the detector picks up countless signals from other metals. Specialized gold-finding metal detectors filter out return signals from buried cans, metal scrap, old coins, rings, or rusting iron foils.

Metals vary in electrical conductivity. Thus, manufacturers of metal detectors specialize them by fine-tuning the sensitivity to the frequency of return currents.


What kind of metal detectors find gold?

The kind of metal detectors that find gold are those which measure inductance and conductivity. The detectors should gauge the amount of current a target produces, and they must also analyze the ease of current flowing.

I find that the best gold detectors apply either pulse induction or high frequency. You’re most likely to find gold nuggets with the highly sensitive 61kHZ detectors.

However, pulse induction detectors are your best bet if you’re looking for large, deep-set gold deposits.

When you’re looking for bigger gold treasures, the ball game changes. You’ll need to invest in deep seeking metal detectors. The best selections offer specialized concentric and wide-scan search coils.

I find it easier to cover more ground when the search coils are enlarged.

These deep-seeking gold detectors forego sensitivity to small gold nuggets. For clean sweeps, it could pay to combine them with VLF detectors.


How deep can metal detectors detect gold?

Metal detectors vary their sensitivity with depth. Some are highly sensitive to shallow deposits. Others look deeper in the ground to trace large deposits. For small nuggets, VLF detectors can find your targets hidden 2-5 inches from the ground.

Detectors can also find palm-size nuggets 9-11 inches into the ground.

The ultimate price you have to pay for sensitivity to small nuggets is depth. I never use any detectors that can’t detect half a grain of gold. However, that preference applies when I’m targeting shallow finds.

Metal detectors can find gold over one foot deep if the deposits are large. I always go with my pulse induction metal detector for such missions.

Specialized detectors can go as deep as 66 feet deep. However, I’d advise amateur treasure hunters with appliances capable of finding small nuggets at a depth of 2-8 inches.


How does a gold detector work?

Gold detectors are metal detectors with specialized tuning to alert you when you come across the jackpot. Gold detectors operate at a higher frequency to detect the low conductivity of gold.

True gold detectors produce high-frequency eddy currents, ranging from 45kHZ to 61kHZ. In contrast, general metal detectors apply frequencies of 6.5-14kHZ.

Unlike metal detectors, gold detectors measure conductivity and inductance. The accuracy yields from calculating the speed and size of eddy currents reflecting their high-frequency electromagnetic fields.

Gold detectors should be multi-frequency because gold deposits occur in areas of high mineralization. The detectors have to overcome the challenge of analyzing conductivity in such areas.


What is the best frequency for detecting gold?

The best frequency for finding gold is 14kHZ, and I always equip myself with 18kHZ gold detectors for clean sweeps. I’d recommend 14+kHZ detectors, which can trace minute gold nuggets.

However, the optimal operating frequency fluctuates depending on the mineralization of the area. Other variables include:

  • Target size
  • Target shape
  • Target orientation
  • Target composition
  • Target depth


Are gold detectors worth it?

Well, the answer to this question doubles up as my parting shot to this matter in its entirety.

Gold detectors are totally worth it if you enjoy finding hidden treasures and lost gems. They are also invaluable to professional relic hunters who find valuable items and reveal hidden details to past historical events.

I’d start with the basics if I were you. Find out if the area local authorities allow you to profit from your discoveries. If not, go hunting somewhere the law supports the ‘Finders-Keepers’ principle.

For amateurs, it’s better if you started by targeting gold nuggets. They are easier to find and still profitable. I built my gold-hunting skills by finding small and mid-sized nuggets, eventually picking up the confidence and equipment to dig deeper for richer golden discoveries.

Read my blogs and reviews if you want to increase your chances of finding gold.

How Does a Metal Detector Find Gold?
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Shimon Leizerovich
Shimon Leizerovich
I like to Find Gems and Treasures Around My Area, So Enjoy From My Biggest passion, Metal Detecting. I fall in love with the Metal Detecting area, and it connected with me to another hobby I had as a child, that to find gems and "treasures" around me and my area.