The former “freelance diamond setter” has been collecting precious metals and gemstones from 47th Street since 1984. Or at least that’s what he tells the New York Post.
With a reporter in tow, Stepanian took his Styrofoam cup of mud to a friend’s polishing studio on 47th Street near Sixth Avenue and demonstrated how he “pans” the precious particles like an old-fashioned prospector — by hand, in a small metal basin with water and a strainer.
He brings the grit and grime from the street back to an apartment, where he uses water to separate gunk from gold, much like panning for gold in a river, except far filthier. It’s actually quite ingenious. But disgusting. I need to wash my hands now. [via New York Post]