Columbian Gold Panning
The Colombia program on the National Mall will include a feature on gold panning from Andagoya, a village in west central Colombia, where gold is panned from the San Juan River.
Gold panning at riverbeds is a traditional and effective method of gold collection, though its yields are small. Panning is most suited for remote locations, and is a more sustainable option compared to dredging equipment that destroys the environment. The work is solitary, repetitive and long, and women panning for gold often sing during their work.
The flecks of gold are collected, traded and brought to cities like Istmina and Quibdó where gold jewelry is made.
Van Luong is the festival blogger at the 2011 Folklife Festival.