Fine Gold and Mesh Sizes – Part One

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This is PART ONE of a three part series on FINE GOLD.
Part one: Will deal with the GOLD itself.
Part two: Will deal with proportional force and exchange issues in sluices.
Part three: We will break down the SuperHog as an example.

Part One – Fine Gold Let’s Take a Look

Most of the images in this article can be clicked to view larger.

REMEMBER… this is Part One of a three part series on Fine gold.

Trust me……….I get it……… there is and always will be an obsession with fine gold with prospectors; probably because fine gold is so prevalent in so many fine placer gold areas and for so many people.  Often prospectors and miners are in areas where fine gold makes up 99% of the gold they see in a given season.  I spent last week working with a crushing / milling operation that dealt with only 400 – 500 mesh gold and at that point you are talking about gold the size of a white blood cell.  So, please…  don’t “lecture me” about how fine your gold is. Instead let’s take a look at gold sizes and terms.

Fine gold is often called “Flour Gold” and is very fine gold that looks like “baking flour”.  For most it’s in the 100 – 200 mesh range.  Most “fine gold” that prospectors deal with is in the 50 – 100 mesh range.

There is a pretty common rule I use about fine gold.   The bigger the water… the more fine gold you’ll

fine yukon gold
Fine Gold from the Yukon

have.  That rule applies about 80% of the time.  The biggest water… the ocean.  Beaches usually have nothing but super fine gold in the 100 – 300 mesh range.  Large rivers or WHERE LARGE RIVERS USED TO BE… lots of fine gold.  When you get into areas like the south east you see less and less “concentrations”  of fine gold.  Yes, you’ll find a few areas where it’s prevalent, but it’s not like Canada and BC where LARGE rivers create vast amounts of super fine gold.




How many pieces of fine gold make up a gram?
counting fine gold

Rather than base our numbers on someone else’s results, we did our own count.  We took ½ grain of SUB  -100 mesh gold.  Within that total count we found just over 750 pieces.  Do the math, and that gives you roughly 23,145 pieces of gold in one gram.  Do more math and that’s 719,809 pieces in an ounce.

It’s important to KNOW these numbers when doing testing. You’ll need to know piece counts when performing controlled tests.





Mesh Sizes

I shot these pictures yesterday just for this article. I REALLY think they help someone get a good visual feel for fine gold. I want you to better understand 200 mesh gold.

-200 mesh gold
-200 mesh gold
Table Salt on 200 Mesh Screen
Table Salt on 200 Mesh Screen
-200 mesh gold next to salt
-200 mesh gold next to salt



Thanks to Utah Bio Diesel Supply  for letting us grab some of these images.

mesh weaves types
mesh weaves types


As prospectors and miners we usually use only the straight weave on meshes.






fine gold 400 mesh
An Approximate Comparison Above

Conversion Chart for Microns to Mesh

micron to mesh chart












Mesh Pictures

Other fine gold pictures.

3 grams sub 100 mesh gold.

Fine gold in GoldHog mats.


Roughly 58 grams of fine gold.

Fine Gold Video

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20 Comments on "Fine Gold and Mesh Sizes – Part One"

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Great Article. I usually only screen down to twenty mesh, so i have a lot of larger piece’s in my fines.


Nice video doc


Great Article Doc. I too only screen down 20 mesh before running it thrown washer mat for the last time.


Good stuff, EXCELLENT recovery #’S and percentages! Very Nice..


That was a really great and informative article and I enjoyed the video as well.

Lord Hyatt

Awesome article. Always good info to have. Thanks


Very well explained and easy too follow

Doc you got me into enjoying -100mesh and smaller. Thanks to Micron fuel screens and you I have a 200mesh screen but it’s only 4″ dia. but since it’s cons I figured it was okay…. I’m not made of $ so I make most of my own tools after I… Read more »
Very illustrative and compliments on finding relevant resources to do so. Are we going to get into the economics? For example, the common story is that hydraulic and doodlebug dredge operations are/were engineered to chase the prevalent gold size in an area and as such tailing piles can be a… Read more »
Personally I rarely go past 30 mesh with my cons. That’s about as fine as I can wet classify my ore. I do save what’s left for further treatment later down the road. I think mainly it’s been due to high losses in traditional gravity based systems. After watching the… Read more »

Something I just realized. Years ago we would use mercury to recover those kinda fines. So think of the live this man is saving by finding these alternate ways to recover the fine gold


great job on this video

Michigan Gold Digger
Michigan Gold Digger
Here in Michigan, fine gold is what you’ll find. We call it fly poop or mosquito poop. I’m surprised, actually, to see how well the mats in the pics capture the fines. There are a few flakes around here but the fine stuff is most prevalent. Great article, awesome photos.… Read more »

Great article. I also screen to 20 mesh. I use a multi sluice so I am cartching 200 mesh gold but I keep my black sands as I am probably not panning it all out.


Yikes , how do you clean black sand from such fine material. Is it possible to pan it?


after you have recovered as much as you can is there still gold in the black sands? would it not then be time to use a borax flux and smelt it to melt the last and then it will pool in the bottom as a button of pure gold

Joe Cooper

Great article Doc. This was really helpful to understand the mesh sizes. The pics from Utah Bio Diesel Supply was awesome. Looking forward to part 2.

Great topic and information. I just shake my head though when I see the pictures. The piles of fine gold are great but I get maybe 20 pieces each time I go out, so at that rate it will take me 100 years to get a pile that comes close… Read more »

GPA – only down to 20 mesh? Would you consider anything finer? – why not? Something like the Fine woven or twilled seen here in stainless steel:

Was up in Michigan recently – and took in a LOT of flakey “fly poop” – very successful trip.


that’s great. thanx I do live in alberta and I tell you we have very fine gold some is smaller than you can see in the pan. but with what I learned from you ill be able to recover more of it