In NSW you don’t need a permit to fossick, but there are rules and expectations nonetheless that need to be observed for the enjoyment of all involved. Here’s the low down.
- Use hand tools including a pick, hammer, shovel, sieve, pan, shaker, basin and metal detector
- Obtain permission before entering private land
- Leave property and gates as you find them
- Respect the natural environment
- Take all rubbish with you
- Leave the ground as you find it – fill in holes with original material
- Use power-operated equipment including jackhammers, dredges, spading tools and explosives
- Dig more than 1m below the line of the natural contour of the land
- Dig on roads
- Enter private land without permission
- Interfere with native wildlife and plant life
- Pollute the ground or water
- Disturb livestock
- Carry firearms or other weapons
How to Fossick
What you need: A pair of sieves (coarse and fine), a shovel, a bucket, tweezers for picking out gems, a plastic container for findings, old clothes, gumboots, sunscreen, fly spray and a first aid kit.
Where to look: Sapphires, gold and other gems such as zircon, black spinel, garnet, quartz and more can be found in the sides of creeks and in the creek itself.
1. Dig down through the topsoil until you find the gem ‘wash’, a stony gravel which could vary in depth from place to place.
2. Place the course sieve on top, fine on the bottom and shovel some wash into the top sieve.
3. Wash this in the creek water, then check all the large stones for a glossy appearance in the top sieve before throwing away those not required. Then wash the contents of the fine sieve separately, removing all debris and silt.
4. Tip the contents onto a cloth or hessian bag and closely inspect for gems.