Ever have those days when you want to be treasure hunting, but you do not have the time? You have 45 minutes to spare and want to do something, but know that if you grab your detector and head to a local park you will invariably end up getting dirty from digging, probably come home late, and it just wont work. You cannot head to the beach nor visit a ghost town. Most of us grab our favorite treasure hunting magazine and at least read about experiences. Theres an alternative; it not only works for short time frames, but is worthy enough to be added to your list of treasure hunting possibilities any time you want something to do. It is searching for lost diamonds!
Diamonds come loose from rings every day of the year in every city in America. Ask any jeweler and he will tell you that many more people come to him complaining of a lost diamond than a lost ring. Why is it then that if I hear about a lost ring at a park there will be 20 people swinging detectors looking for it, yet when a diamond is missing somewhere, the crowd narrows to zero? I dont mind the lack of competition, but there should be a few people interested in this field. Therefore, lets look at some of the basics of diamond loss and, more importantly, lost diamond retrieval.
Diamonds are lost for many reasons. The most common one is that the diamond comes loose over a period of time and is not checked by a jeweler. When I say it comes loose, it does not move around within the setting. It is a subtle loosening. Many times only a jeweler can tell if a diamond is loose. Most stores nowadays recommend checking your diamond every six months, and some offer a free cleaning and check. They know how important it is to get a ring checked before it is too late. Time, however, finds a way to slip past us, and checking our ring becomes a low priority in our hectic schedules. So the diamond becomes, unbeknownst to us, loose. Then, a catalyst occurs. Something that causes the diamond to pop out. It is normally a bump of some sort. You hit your hand, ever so lightly, on the wall. You close the door to your car, which jars your hand as it shuts. Pop. Its gone. Most people do not realize what has happened, but notice it missing later when they look at their ring. Even if they do notice it immediately, it is gone!
It is estimated that less than 10 percent of all the diamonds lost are found. When a diamond pops out, the distraught owner starts looking on the ground right where they are. That is wrong. Because of the pressure that the diamond is set under, it shoots out of its setting. It can travel up to 80 feet before skidding to a stop on the ground! Nobody searches that far. Most go no further than 10 feet, and it is rarely within a 10 foot radius of where it started. The diamond is now officially lost. So how do we find it?
Finding a diamond takes no special equipment. It mostly takes someone that is actually looking for it. I would guess that all of us have walked past lost diamonds. We never see them because we are not looking. Think of all the diamonds that have been lost over the years; add to that they are nearly indestructible and you can see that there are many to be found. Like all other things we search for, there are certain ingredients needed to consistently find lost diamonds. Here are a few.
KNOW WHERE TO SEARCH: It makes no sense to search for old bottles in a new subdivision. You wont be successful panning for gold if the river that you choose never had any flow in it. Likewise, with lost diamonds, you need to be where they are. One of the catalysts that causes diamonds to pop out is a temperature change. Not the annual change from summer to winter, but a rapid change, like the one that occurs when a person is in a warm car and puts their hand out the window at a drive-thru, like a fast food restaurant or a bank. Instant cold air hits the left hand, the ring hand, and the opportunity to jar their hand is also present. Pop; lost treasure waiting for you to find it. Parking lots of nice restaurants continually work well. Dinner theaters, or any other hot spots for well-to-do people, are worth searching. Look where people wearing diamonds would be.
KNOW HOW TO SEARCH: Looking for a lost ring at a construction site with many nails and using no discrimination would frustrate us fast. Too, you must know what you are doing in this search. Parking lots are full of glass, and if you check every glimmer it will drive you nuts. Knowledge is the key. The biggest edge we have is that diamonds are cut into prisms. This makes a diamond reflect multiple refractions of light. If you scan a parking lot and see many things flash at you, look at each one from where you are. If your target flashes once when the sun hits it, it is glass. Diamonds flash two to four times in rapid succession. Check out all multiple flashes. Most still will not be diamonds, but, hey, how many will it take to make you feel it was a successful search? Using this trick will save you from scrutinizing excessive amounts of junk glass.
KNOW WHEN TO SEARCH: The best time to search a beach for lost jewelry is arguably on Mondays, especially after a three-day or a very hot weekend. Searching for diamonds has a different "best" time to search: it is now. Because this aspect of our hobby has been neglected for so long, there are diamonds that have been waiting to be found for literally years. The first one to work an area will reap the biggest rewards. Diamond searching also has another advantage over detecting. You can do it any time without drawing attention to yourself, and without needing tools or special clothes. When you stop at a restaurant for lunch, try glancing at the drive-thru area. If something gives you that tell-tale multiple flash of light, walk over and pick it up. If it is glass, nothing is lost. You did not have to put on earphones and people are not staring at you. Its nice having the machine be your own eyes. If the target you retrieve is a diamond, buy lunch for your office that day! You cant do many treasure searches while in a suit and tie or a dress, nor as you go through your normal routine of the day, but this is one you can.
When you attend a play, look at the parking lot. When grocery shopping, look in the frozen food aisle (remember the catalyst of cold air). When you have only a few minutes, this option is still open to you. You can do it in the rain, inside stores, even in the cold of winter, when the ground is frozen. Learn the tricks of the trade. Slowly, you will see where diamonds potentially can be found. You might even get hooked. I have had the experience of searching at the beach while on vacation in Florida. I knew that I would find 20 or 30 rings in the sand. After all, it was Florida! Alas, I found scant few coins, and no pieces of jewelry. During a break to get something to drink, I went up to the mall near the beach to walk around and rest. Twenty minutes later, I was coming back with a diet coke and a diamond. My wife calls me lucky. Really Im not. Im just looking as I walk. We all look for coins, even if we are out on a leisurely stroll without our machines. Why not also look for diamonds? Its much more profitable and more exciting, too.
KNOW THE LAST STEP: Once you have found a few diamonds, then what? In reality, they are not as liquid as you think. Prices for loose diamonds are cheap compared to what it costs to buy them. However, this does not bother me. I have never sold a single Indian head or wheat penny I have found, nor a single silver coin. Why would I sell my diamonds? Instead, I collect them, along with the rest of my treasures. Thats what I do. After all, Im a treasure hunter. (More information and ideas on searching for lost diamonds can be found in Searching for Loose Diamonds, Treasure Facts January 1993.)