sign for gold starts with a loose index-finger handshape pointing at
the earlobe and then you shake a "Y" handshape.
But this is a
"flexible" sign. While most people use an index-finger or "L"
hand as the first
handshape in the sign for California; some people use a "five
I tend to just sign "gold" using
the index finger and "y" handshape to mean, "California."
Model: Byron Cantrell (Native Deaf, Deaf
School/Georgia, Deaf wife, Deaf kids, long-time ASL instructor.)
In everyday usage the sign CALIFORNIA "actually" starts with
somewhat of a loose "L" hand (rather than a "tight" "index hand").
Quite often it starts with an "ILY" (I love you) handshape!
Memory aid: California is the Golden State.
The non-initialized sign for GOLD (the version
that uses a "Y" hand) is the basis of the sign for California.
You will also see quite a few people starting the sign for
California with a "5" handshape rather than an "1" or "L" handshape.