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Monday, March 2, 2015

Sometimes, treasure is where you know it is.

After a hectic work week and an even busier family weekend,  I needed a metal detecting fix last night. 
I decided to follow up on a ring I knew was lost about a year ago after a party in the front yard of a house down the street. 
I had offered to recover the lost ring back when it was first lost, but I was told to get lost in no uncertain terms, thats putting it mildly. 
The house has been empty a couple of weeks, so I took our pit bull for a walk and took a metal detector with me. 
I remembered several people looking for the ring close to a cactus bush in the yard, and that is where I started my search. 
It is not very often you get a gold ring on your first signal, but that is exactly what happened last night. 
I used my Lesche tool to cut a plug in the grass and a gold sapphire and diamond band rolled out onto my lesche tool blade, it does not get any easier than that.


This story is a good example of how you can often find gold by just following up on stories of lost jewelry. 
I kind of use the same approach to Spanish treasure hunting, by following up on leads I hear about old coins or artifacts found or rumored to be found. 
The 1836 gold coin on my website was found after seeing a post on a detecting forum, and the Spanish silver religious artifact was found after reading about a rumored wreck site on the Treasure Coast. 
I have a few more leads I intend to follow up on soon, a 2 carat diamond ring lost in an overgrown parking lot and a mason jar of silver dollars buried by a friends grandparents back in the 1950s. 
The same guys grandparents remember picking up round black discs on the beach after a storm in the same area. 
I know many readers of this blog must have been told similar stories, when people find out you are into metal detecting. 







Thursday, February 26, 2015

High tide beach hunting

Heres a photo of a beach at high tide,  just in case you are a beach hunter who is wondering what the beach looks like at high tide. 



I rarely see other people with metal detectors on the beach at high tide, quite surprising when you consider the three lower beach hot spots in this photo. 
The three really good lower beach jewelry and coin hunting areas are, the towel line, high tide line and wet sand. 
All three areas of the lower beach can be very productive for jewelry and coin hunting, if you bother to show up to metal detect on the beach at high tide. 
Now most tourist beaches around the world are detected on a daily basis, why the heck would anyone wait until two hours before low tide to go metal detecting? 
The Minelab CTX 3030 in the photo is a good choice of metal detector for searching the lower beach, which is constantly changing thanks to the low and high tides. 
A good multi frequency metal detector will allow you to move freely between the wet and dry sand without suffering false signals or behaving erratically.
This smooth metal detector operation is also important when seaweed has washed up along the high tide line. 
Even on dry sand along a previous high tide line, seaweed can make your metal detector false because it may contain pockets of saltwater. 
Because the beach at high tide is less frequently searched, you may even eye ball jewelry, sunglasses or paper money washed up, which I have on many occasions. 
Being a high tide hunter lets you have the first crack at picking stuff up, detecting shallow targets washed up in the high tide line and searching the towel line. 
Another problem with going metal detecting two hours before low tide is assuming everything is in the wet sand and water, totally ignoring the high tide line and the easy to detect shallow targets washed up waiting to be found.   
Stop reading the tide charts and step outside the beach hunting box. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

How to find big rings

Heres a fool proof method of searching for big gold or platinum rings at the beach,  don't go looking for them! 
I find several really big diamond encrusted platinum or gold rings every year, but I never go looking for them.
Instead, I concentrate on finding small pieces of gold jewelry like stud ear rings and chains without pendants. 
My beach and water jewelry hunting strategy is simple, if you can find the small stuff, the big stuff will take care of itself. 
A good variety of jewelry hunting finds is proof that you have your metal detector fine tuned, it is also a sign you search a good variety of different beach sites. 
I have recovered a wide variety of metal detecting finds with my Minelabs in Florida,  1600 & 1700s Spanish treasure, 1800s Seminole Indian war relics, early 1900s to modern coins and jewelry. 
This heavy mans platinum ring with diamonds is the type of find you can find on a tourist beach, when you just concentrate on searching for smaller finds. 



I never get frustrated recovering small pieces of lead, silver ear ring backs or fishing trace wire.
Because I know when my search coil passes over a piece of platinum or gold jewelry, I am more than likely going to go home with it. 
Sometimes it fits like a glove and you get to wear a trophy find, a reminder of how important it is to test a variety of small pieces of jewelry with your metal detector at the beach. 
Read and reread your metal detector manual, but nothing beats taking a few small pieces of difficult to detect jewelry and seeing what your metal detector can really do. 
When your metal detector is fine tuned to detect those small test targets, you never have to worry about not finding big gold targets. 



Or in this case, a big platinum and diamond target. 





Friday, February 20, 2015

Go with the flow on heavily hunted beaches

When I took this photo of three designer rings, I never realized what the Rolex, Bvlgari and Cartier rings had in common.


All three rings were found because I was squeezed by the competition into searching a certain area at the beach. 
At south Florida beaches it is quite common to see several people metal detecting at the same site. 
The 18K yellow gold Rolex ring on the left, was recovered just inside the water, one of six gold rings I found in about an hour searching an eroded beach a few years back.  
Two full time beach hunters were already metal detecting at the site, one in the wet sand and the other in chest deep water. 
I went with the flow and worked the shallow water after seeing where the other guys were searching. 
The 18K white gold Bvlgari ring was another case of searching an area that other people metal detecting had no interest in searching. 
The busy Saturday morning at a tourist beach had at least twelve people searching in the water and dry sand. 
I took the wet sand and recovered two gold rings and one platinum ring, another case of going with the flow and finding jewelry. 
The 18K Cartier diamond & emerald ring was recovered at the base of a cut on an eroded beach, that had four people searching the lower beach by the water. 
I actually saw the gold ring sticking out the sand, just before waving my search coil over it. 
All of these examples of high end gold jewelry were found with people already metal detecting in the area.
Here's a few reasons why I found gold on all three occasions. 

1. I never believe I have to be the first one at the beach to find gold. 
2. I never go to the beach planning to search just one area of the beach, I can search anywhere.
3. I search areas that give me a chance of finding high end jewelry. 
4. I am not afraid of the competition
5. I use waterproof metal detectors, just in case I need to get in the water. 


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Stick to the jewelry hunting game plan

The story of this heavy 18K white gold ring with yellow sapphires and diamonds is in my "Hardcore Beach Hunting" guide to searching heavily hunted beaches. 


The $3600.00 ladies ring was found at a heavily hunted south Florida tourist beach a few years ago. 
I had only been in the water about 30 minutes, when five people from a local metal detecting club walked down to the lower beach, talked between themselves and watched me for about five minutes.
The five club members turned towards me and smiled as they spread out in a line in the water about 20 feet ahead of me.
The group put their headphones on and started heading in the direction they obviously knew I intended to search. 
Undeterred, I continued slowly searching in the same direction as the other water hunters,  who started to cover a lot of ground ahead. 
A couple of hours passed and they returned to the area we first saw each other,  I was still searching the same area and had not moved very far at all. 
One club member laughed and asked sarcastically if I had any luck, I just could not resist and did something I rarely do. 
I showed my finds from the previous two hours searching behind the group of water hunters, two gold rings. 
A 22K gold wedding band and the nice yellow sapphire ring, the look on the other water hunters faces made my day. 
From smiles to frowns in seconds, especially the person I was searching directly behind.
You know that must have been a long car ride home together, after I flashed the jewelry they did not detect. 
Todays blog just goes to show that high numbers of beach and water hunters in the same area is not important
Water hunting technique was a big factor that morning, slow and low got the gold as it so often does on popular tourist beaches.  
Speed will always kill your chance of detecting deep gold, walking too fast and sweeping too  fast. 
Both gold rings were whisper low tones, deep recoveries for my Minelab Excalibur with the 10-inch search coil.  
I figured there was not a lot of point in being frustrated or annoyed because other people had the same idea as me. 
I took my time and had the place to myself as the other water hunters disappeared into the distance, before returning. 
Sometimes, you do better just sticking to the jewelry hunting game plan. 




Monday, February 16, 2015

Keep a lid on golden opportunities.

Every once in a beach or water hunting blue moon,  a jewelry hunter will run across perfect jewelry hunting conditions. 
The photo in todays blog shows a portion of a 50 pieces of gold jewelry haul I recovered back in 2012,  after Hurricane Sandy brushed past the Florida coastline on its way north. 


50 pieces of gold jewelry over a 20 day period of beach and water hunting is not that impressive, but it is when you consider I was only able to search one or two hours a day, before or after work. 
I went metal detecting before dawn and after dark, so I was not seen at the site by the small army of full time beach hunters down this way. 
One morning I spotted three guys from the local detecting club passing through the area, luckily they were just passing through, but I still left the area just in case. 
Some of the best pieces of jewelry I recovered are on my recently revamped Jewelry Finds page at www.garydrayton.com
A vintage ladies Cartier emerald and diamond ring,  an antique mans 18K Jade & diamond ring and a beautiful 18K Amethyst ladies ring. 
As more popular local tourist beaches became hunted out because word spread of productive sites, the competition eventually made its way to the area I had been harvesting gold.  By that time, the beaches had been covered back over with sand and the door to Davy Jones locker had slammed shut. 
Back in 2012 I was still posting finds on detecting forums, and catching a lot of heat from forum "experts" who believed it was not possible to recover so much gold jewelry as word got out that all beaches down this way were already picked over. 
Word obviously did not get out about the location I was recovering multiple pieces of gold, silver jewelry and silver coins every day. 
And here you have todays blog title in a nut shell, silence can be golden when you run across an excellent jewelry hunting situation. 
At many heavily hunted tourist beaches around the world,  when beach erosion occurs news of holes in the water or cuts on the beach spreads fast and groups of beach or water hunters descend on the site. 
From past experiences dealing with perfect metal detecting opportunities, I can tell you I still get chills looking into my bank safety deposit box.  Seeing the best gold rings from late 2012, 1836 gold coin and Seminole indian war relics from late 2011, Spanish emerald treasure ring and far too many pieces of Spanish silver to mention from late 2004 early 2005. 
I remember all those memorable treasure hunting years, because I recovered many great finds over a period of several weeks.  You can only continue to recover great finds during excellent beach hunting conditions by keeping a lid on the situation. 
Many of my best finds came off productive situations a few days after the initial recoveries. 
If I was a part of the grapevine, many of my best finds would be in other beach or water hunters find of a lifetime stories. 
The internet is full of " Another beach hunter told me he found this, and I moved over and found this" stories. 
In my opinion, it is always better to make headlines in a beach hunting story, than be a part of another beach hunters story.  







Thursday, February 12, 2015

Never assume all encrusted objects are trash

A few years ago I was searching along the James river in Virginia, close to a US civil war fort. 
I found minnie balls, musket balls, uniform buttons with my metal detector, and broken pottery and clay pipes using my "Twin optical scanners" along the river bank. 
Just before calling it quits for the day, I recovered an encrusted iron object using my Minelab Sovereign GT in the all metals search mode. 
The encrusted object looked like a large old bolt or possible door handle, but like any other piece of trash I recover on a site with a little history, it was taken away for further identification. 
I always take my trash home, instead of dropping it back in the hole and covering it back up. 
This saves wasting valuable time digging the same trash target,  it also helps to cut down on the chances of trash targets masking good targets. 
In the case of the crusty and rusty looking bolt from the Virginia field, my choice to take trash home turned out to be the correct call. 
The longer encrusted iron piece crumbled off, after I accidentally dropped the encrusted object in a wash basin while rinsing it off. 
This US civil war iron canister shot popped out of the other encrusted round end, a sweet sight for sure. 



I could have easily thrown this cool civil war relic away when I first recovered it,  not knowing what was hidden in the encrusted outer casing. 
Previous experiences with finding encrusted gold class rings and Spanish treasure coins has taught me to always take any trash from the site for further inspection. 
I should also add that this is the reason why I always prefer to search in all metal at sites that may contain old coins or artifacts.