California Gold
(Written by Colonel J.C. Fremont in 1847 (and updated in 1852) about his explorations and observations of California during the Gold Rush.)


The numerous analyses which have been made show that the gold dust of California is remarkably pure. The editor of the Buffalo Commercial Advertiser, under date of December 20th, 1848, says:--

"A small quantity of California gold was shown us this morning. It was in grains, about the size and shape of flax seed. Altogether there was half an ounce. It was received by a gentleman of this city, who, last year, left a quantity of goods in California for sale on commission. A few days ago he received advices that his goods had been sold, and the proceeds remitted in gold dust to New York. The receipts from the mint show its great purity. The weight before melting was 428 ounces; after melting 417. Nett value, $7,685.49."

Gold is seldom found, in any parts of the earth, more than 22 carats fine: and it will be seen by the following report lately made by an experienced smelter and refiner, Mr. John Warwick, of New York city, that the gold dust of California is as pure as that found in any part of this country. Probably there is none in Europe purer:

"I have assayed the portion of gold dust, or metal, from California, sent me, and the result shows that it is fully equal to any found in our Southern gold mines.

I return you 103/4 grains out of the 12 which I have tested--the value of which is 45 cents. It is 211/2 carats fine--within half a carat of the quality of English sovereigns or American Eagles, and is almost ready to go to the mint.

The finest gold metal we get is from Africa, which is 221/2 to 23 carats fine. In Virginia we have mines where the quality of the gold is much inferior--some of it as low as 19 carats, and in Georgia the mines produce it nearly 22 carats fine.

The gold of California which I have now assayed, is fully equal to that of any, and much superior to some produced from the mines in our Southern States."