Gold is where you find it.

Can someone please give me an example of how to use this expression?

4 Answers 4


The meaning of the phrase is that value is determined by each person individually. An expression used in a similar fashion is, 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder.' These expressions are similar in how they establish a connection between the item or condition of value, and the seeker.

An example of usage: Discussion between two job seekers

A: I heard about a job opening as an accountant in a small factory.

B: A job like that doesn't interest me, but gold is where you find it.

A: It might be a little boring, but I think I could get a lot of work experience there.

  • The meaning of this exchange would therefore be, that B does not want the accountant's job, but understands that it might interest someone else, especially A. A agrees that there are problems with the job, and explains what her interest in it is.

An important element in the usage of the phrase is that others do not see, or have not found value where the seeker does.

Examples from actual usage:

  • Actual Usage in Pop Culture (70's TV)

A reference from a hit TV series, can be found in an episode of Grizzly Adams. The meaning there is related to a discovery of benefit or value in an unexpected or overlooked place. The episode, called, “Gold is where you find it,” is related in this synopsis:

Four orphaned wolf pups....a man facing a lonely future...and the act of kindness that saved them all. It is a story that will touch your heart. Retired attorney Jim Crawford (Michael Flynn) has just lost his wife to cancer, tearing his family apart and leaving him utterly alone. While still lost in the depths of despair, help comes in an unexpected way. Jim discovers four orphaned wolf pups that need a friend just to survive. In spite of his own misery, he takes them in and learns to care for them. Unlikely friends have found each other, and discovered hope in an unlikely way. Soon it is time for the matured wolves to live on their own, and Jim returns them to the forest. Jim's legal help to the local townspeople becomes a barrier to Beddows (David Nibley), the unscrupulous developer who is trying to take over the town. Scheming Beddows plans to get Jim out of the way by putting his wolves in danger. While searching the forest to protect the wolves from Beddows, Jim is attacked by a grizzly bear. Without warning, the four wolves come to Jim's aid and fend off the angry bear. Jim realizes they have always been there...watching out for him...and the four wolves repaid their friend for his kindness.

  • Actual usage from sources interested in finding actual gold






Each usage essentially treats the phrase as an axiom, and uses it to refer to hidden value being uncovered by specific observers choosing to look, or chance discovery in unexpected circumstances.

  • 2
    I think you made that up. I made mine up, but at least I admit it. It doesn't mean anything, except what you choose to read into it, because it's not an established saying with an established meaning. It's hardly used, but when it is, it means different things to different people. Often it just means "You can make/find money anywhere" May 26, 2011 at 3:39
  • "gold is where you find it" could mean the same thing as "beauty is in the eye of the beholder": But i like how you made up your answer!:)
    – Thursagen
    May 26, 2011 at 4:05
  • 1
    @ FumbleFingers - I concede that it is not in common usage, but the meaning remains stable regardless. Your example of a person being able to make money 'if they look' does not differ from my explanation of finding value. Thanks for the comment, though. I will be more careful with future replies. May 26, 2011 at 4:15
  • Well you've done the donkey work of tracking down just about every occurence on the internet that isn't about the eponymous film, (unrelated) album, or a literal statement applicable within the mining industry (which some of your links are). It's a moot point whether such a rare phrase can be said to have a meaning other than its literal interpretation, but I guess your latest final paragraph is more favoured than either mine or the one in your first paragraph. wd for the assiduous research though! May 26, 2011 at 13:55

This is something related to Optimism. Consider you had this Dairy at your Farm and you sell the milk everyday. But suddenly from one odd day onward you find all your milk production gets Curdled due to some changes in the surrounding and the Dairy conditions. This certainly is gonna haunt you because its effecting your earning. You don't have any other option to earn your livelihood. So one day you get an idea to process this curdled milk and get some dairy products like Cottage Cheese , Curd , etc. and you again start earning more than what you earned from Milk Business. So finally you have found a GOLD


I wouldn't use it at all. It's just the title of a 1938 movie. I don't think it's a 'proverb' at all, and therefore any meaning you ascribe to it is somewhat arbitrary. There is no 'true' meaning to be gleaned from watching the film, I'm sure - it's just a B-movie western that didn't exactly go down in history, and the title was probably knocked out by the studio tea-boy.

It's rarely said, and because of the above there's no 'fixed' meaning. Sometimes people say it when they mean "You can make/find money anywhere".

Having said that, let's assume it is a good ole American proverb/homily...

Taken literally, it means the best way to live is to take pleasure or find value in what you actually have available, rather than being disatisfied and wanting things you can't/don't have.

It's not worth describing a whole context for when it would be appropriate to say this. We'll just suppose you know somebody for whom that sentiment would be good advice. Say it then, and everything will be fine.

Unless he doesn't understand you, in which case tell him to watch the movie.

  • Out of curiosity, why was this response down-voted? May 26, 2011 at 4:54
  • @Runeslinger: I'm guessing someone doesn't like my somewhat dismissive attitude. They'd like it to really be a "good ole American proverb". May 26, 2011 at 13:58

It's a long-winded substitute for serendipity.

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