Hunting Beaches and Parks for Gold Jewelry

03 Aug 2017

Metal detecting for rings and other jewelry is tough.  Unlike coins, which for the most part are uniform in size, shape, weight and metal content, jewelry doesn’t have consistency. That’s why we’re able to recognize coins by the tone and target ID numbers when we’re detecting.  Rings, bracelets, necklaces, earrings, and other jewelry on the other hand, are made up of all shapes, sizes, weights, and karats.  These inconsistencies are what make jewelry hunting so difficult.

There’s no set tone or target identification display number for gold.  Pure gold is an excellent conductor but gold jewelry is seldom 24k.  This means that gold is going to be giving you low to medium tones and TID’s that are associated with pull tabs, foil gum wrappers, can slaw (when a lawn mower hits an aluminum can), bottle caps, and all sorts of other unwanted targets.  If you want to get out and score some nice gold rings and other jewelry, be prepared to dig a ton of trash.  It’s a numbers game, though.  Eventually, you’ll hit a nice ring.  Follow these steps to help increase your odds and decrease your unwanted targets.  We’ll keep it brief - the main takeaway is, if you want jewelry, DIG IT ALL.


Parks are an excellent place to find rings and other jewelry.  Unfortunately, they’re also a great place to find pull tabs, foil, and can slaw left behind by groundskeeper Willie.  If it’s gold rings that you’re a after (which it should be), you’re going to need to make a few minor adjustments to your metal detector to help put the odds in your favour.  Since ring/jewellery hunting is a numbers game, the first thing I recommend is to reduce the sensitivity of your metal detector.  Yes, gold is heavy.  Yes, gold sinks pretty damn fast.  But, if we’re playing the numbers game, we don’t have time to excavate every target at depth.  The more targets we retrieve, the better our odds become.  Focus instead on targets that are within 1 to 2 inches of the surface.  You know, targets that your handheld pinpointer can reach without digging.  Focusing on targets that you don’t have to chase after will keep you from wasting time on deep garbage.  Otherwise, you’ll waste 5 minutes retrieving a pull tab when you could have retrieved three to four surface to slightly subsurface targets instead.

If your detector has discrimination capabilities, it would make sense to make adjustments that tailor to the numbers and tones associated with your machine’s foil, nickel, pull tab, and can slaw range.  In other words, make a backward coin program.  Instead of accepting high conductors associated with copper and silver coins, try inversing the program to block out high conductors like coins and big, high-tone targets, while accepting everyday garbage targets.  This will keep you from diggin’ those sweet-sounding signals that we associate as being coins.  Again, this is strictly if you’re going for some jewelry.  Keep your eye on the prize.  Remember that you’re out there looking for some GOLD!


I’m not an expert beach hunter by any means, but I’ll give you some advice that I’ve learned and experienced over the years.  Saltwater beaches are often more problematic than freshwater beaches.  When we introduce salt, an alkali, into an otherwise normal environment and add water, we experience a huge loss in sensitivity.  The extra mineralisation acts as a masking agent and hampers your detector’s ability to punch through the ground.  Some higher tech, more advanced machines have built-in algorithms that are specifically designed to handle saltwater environments.  If you have cutting-edge technology at your disposal for saltwater detection, or a pulse induction machine impervious to mineralization, use it!

Depth on a beach can be crucial!  Things on sandy beaches sink at incredible rates.  Unless you’re hunting daily at ridiculously populated beaches, you’re going to need to make some adjustments to your hunting programs and/or habits.  Depth is the key.  Adjust your sensitivity to the highest possible STABLE setting.  If you’re experiencing a bunch of chatter, back off the sensitivity a bit until it’s tolerable and remember to constantly check your ground balance.

When working ocean beaches, you’ll want to focus on the cut.  The cut is basically a sand shelf made by the high water mark.  The cut can change with each new high tide, or it can remain the same until acted upon by large swells from off shore storms.  Working the cut will give you access to goods that have been redeposited by the motion of the ocean.  New cuts also expose older items at depth that have been out of detecting reach. Some of the best times to go beach detecting are after big storms like hurricanes.  The excessive water movement stirs up the ocean floor and exposes/redeposits new material.

Just like jewelry hunting in parks, the more targets you can retrieve on the beach, the better your odds are of striking gold.  A nice, solid sand scoop can speed up your recovery process exponentially.  I prefer the long-handle scoops because you don’t have to kneel down or bend over to retrieve targets.  Digging a hundred-plus targets to find one gold ring can be hard on the back.  Spend the extra forty bucks and get yourself a decent scoop.  You’ll thank me later.

Don’t forget to check out my latest videos at

For a more in depth look at these topics, check out my book, “The Metal Detecting Bible” available at


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