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Homepage Archives Open in new window Index (02/2002) AMP (01/2002) Featured Article (03/2002)   Vol. 36 February 2002 
This Month's Features
As seen in the February 2002 edition of W&ET Magazine

Those Elusive Diamonds

By: Bob Stover

Have you ever searched for something for years, until you began to doubt you'd ever find it? For many TH'ers, that "something" is a gold coin, and I must admit that it's right up there on my list, too. My wife, Linda, found one on the beach at Lake Tahoe only a few weeks after she began metal detecting- an 1889-S (San Francisco Mint) $5 gold piece. Me? I'm still waiting... and waiting... and waiting.

In fact, I've long since reconciled myself to the fact that it's probably not going to happen. So, with that goal seemingly out of reach, I set my sights instead on finding a nice diamond ring for Linda. As a first step, I invested in a water & beach detector, choosing a White's PI because of the black sand we often encounter. And sure enough, on the very first trip, it paid off. Sort of. I'd been hunting for quite a while and had decided to take a break and have some lunch when Linda said, "Let me try it for a few minutes." Of course, you've guessed the rest. I'd been relaxing for less than half an hour when she returned with an excited smile... and a lady's ring set with seven sparkling diamonds!

Now, I'd found my share of good things: a 24K gold bracelet, 14K rings and earrings, several dozen silver rings, watches, and over 26,000 coins. Once I even unearthed an ancient Parthian coin of Vologases IV, c. 147-191 A.D. But no diamonds. Not only my wife but all the friends I hunt with- Dave, Larry, and Robert- had found at least a few diamond rings apiece. Mine remained somewhere out there, like the gold coin I'd never find.

"When you do find that diamond ring, it's going to be huge!" Linda assured me, and I kept hoping and hunting.

I even had a hunch about how, or at least where, it might happen. "I'm not going to find it at a park or school or playground, or in someone's yard," I kept saying. "It's at the lake, in sand... by the water, or just in the water."

And it was.

Finally, last June, at one of my favorite beaches at Lake Tahoe, it happened. After finding my usual $5-6 worth of change, I headed back to the car and swapped my Bounty Hunter for the White's PI before moving on to the dreaded black sand section. I'd been scanning along the water's edge for 100' or so when I heard a nice "dime or quarter" signal. I pinpointed and dug the target, and saw a man's ring drop off the lip of the scoop and back into the hole. Eagerly running my fingers through the sand, I retrieved my prize and held it up to see five nice, lighter grade diamonds glinting against the gold!

And just think... it only took me 5-1/2 years.

Two weeks later, Dave and Robert phoned to invite me to join them on a trip to a bigger beach. I'd been there a mere 15 minutes when I brought up a heart-shaped pendant afire with 35 diamonds- 11 round ones, and 24 small baguettes. I then hastily headed off to my favorite jeweler, Hal, who confirmed that the stones were real. The gems in the gent's ring that I'd previously found were very good as well, he said.

Apparently, my luck had taken a dramatic upswing. My friends sensed it, too, and were starting to look at me funny. If I wanted to remain in their good graces, maybe I'd better slow down.

Another two weeks passed, and I decided to return to the area where I'd found the man's ring. Same spot, same machine, same scenario: one scoop, and my quest was over. Running a pattern in which half of each coil swing covered wet sand, and the other half dry, I quickly got a good hit. Up came a lady's ring of lovely yellow gold... and diamonds!

Thirty long minutes later, I was pounding on Dave's door. He stared at the ring, and then at me, as I breathlessly exclaimed, "I think I finally did it!"

"These are the real thing, all right," he replied, and off we headed to Hal the jeweler.

The diamonds include a 3/4 carat, VS-1 center stone, five smaller ones on one side, and ten on the other. The ring is 14K gold. For 5-1/2 years I'd waited to find my first real diamond. Now, for the third time in only five weeks, I'd located gold jewelry laden with those elusive stones. And at last I'd achieved my goal of bringing home a really nice ring for Linda. It fit her perfectly. When we got married, I'd given her a $500 ring. Nineteen years later, I proudly presented her with this one, appraised at $5,000. She's worth much more.

What next? I suppose there's always that gold coin I've given up on. But frankly, to keep peace in the family, I think I'd better stick with ring-hunting for a while. You see, I've got three daughters now dreaming of diamonds of their own. Oh, well... back to the lake!

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