(Click to view full image)
My U.S. Favorite Find for April 2021 is the 999.9 24k Gold Ring from a Texas River, found by Zola T. from Texas with the AT Max.

Zola’s success story: I found this ring in the Guadalupe River, in the Hill Country of Central Texas, on Easter Sunday 4/4/2021. I was using my AT Max that I very recently purchased, in preparation for summer water hunting season. I stopped at the particular location because it is the pick-up spot for a canoe/kayak rental company in the area, so high traffic area. I was just hoping to find a few coins and maybe some “generic” modern jewelry, or even nothing at all. I really was just hoping to learn the “new sounds” on the Max since I normally swing an Apex, with very different sounds. I had no idea I would find something EPIC, on my 1st water hunt with this machine, on the very 1st signal!!

I believe after some research, the ring has the “Elephant God” (Ganesh) carved in it, and it’s stamped “999.9” inside, which “normally” means 24K gold. However, I was very skeptical about it’s authenticity, mainly because it rang up a screaming solid 87 on the Max (also 87-88 on my Apex in my yard), which is very unheard of for gold I thought. It’s also very rough around the bottom part of the ring, almost appearing plated in that area, even though there is no flaking of the gold at all. I was perplexed.

The following day, I took the ring to a local jeweler who specializes in antique and estate jewelry, as well as coins. After testing with 3-4 different fancy machines, the jeweler confirmed that the ring is indeed 999.9 pure gold. She told me the bottom is rough because 24K is extremely soft and scratches very easily, and who knows how long it was rolling around in the river before I found it.

The jeweler also said it’s most likely Indian in origin in her opinion, since India is well known for wearing only 24K gold up until “recently”, when they also started using 780 (18K). She wasn’t exactly sure of the age of the ring, but her guess was that is was probably more modern (although she didn’t give her definition of “modern”). She said that, in her experience, really old Indian jewelry is always stamped with an animal on the inside (i.e. a sheep, a rabbit, or some other animal). Since they only used 24K in India until recently, it really wasn’t necessary to specify the purity with a number. An animal stamp indicated the jeweler who made the piece (maker's mark), and with an animal stamp, it was automatically assumed to be 24K or 999.9, since there was no other options. It wasn’t until “recent times” that they started using numbers, rather than animals.

This find was not just unexpected and amazing, it is also a valuable educational experience, which I happily shared with the community in a post on the ‘Garrett Metal Detectors’ Facebook page.

1st Lesson: Since (I’ve been told) it’s super rare to ever dig jewelry marked 999.9, maybe we (the metal detecting community) just didn’t know that a fairly large chunk of pure gold WILL actually beep 87. I can confirm now that indeed it does. Now we know.

2nd Lesson: If any of us dig any really old gold jewelry in the future, with an animal stamped on it and no numbers, and it looks a little rough around the edges, we should not throw it out thinking it’s junk. Now we know.

Thank you for considering my entry for the “Favorite Finds”. Even if I don’t win, this will still possibly be the find of MY lifetime, and I’m thrilled I got to share the experience and knowledge gained.

Zola T. WINS an ACE Apex Metal Detector. CONGRATULATIONS!!!
Next month Vaughan will give away an ACE Apex. You could be the next winner. Submit your story.