Saturday, December 4, 2010

12/4 Report - Silver Earring & Sea Beans

Silver Earring Found on a Treasure Coast Shipwreck Beach.

This is one of those things that frustrates me. It is so difficult to properly identify unmarked items found on a beach. I think it is just as difficult to properly identify items found in the water around a shipwreck, but I think they often get a pass and quickly conclude that if an item is found near the pile, it is part of the shipwreck. Items can come from intermingled wrecks and wrecks can be contaminated with items from a variety of other sources.

This earring is obviously old, but it is hard to tell how old or where it came from. It is a lot easier when you can find some type of mark on an item, but when there is none, the best thing you can do is try to match the found item with others of known identity. That can take a long time.

The item that I now think is a rove (I posted a photo of the suspected rove a few days ago) took me years to find a photo that gave me a clue.

I don't know how long it will take to learn more about this earring. If you can help in any way, please do.

When I get the time to clean this earring properly, I might be able to find a mark that will help. If I find that it is marked 925 or Sterling, I'll know that it isn't from a Spanish shipwreck. I guess even the absence of a mark can help narrow things down some.

It often takes a lot of work to identify an item, but you usually learn a lot of interesting things in the process.

If you've been to the beach lately, you might have noticed some sea beans. A sea bean is any of a variety of seeds that wash out to sea and then onto a distant beach. Locally they mostly come from places like Central or South America or the Caribbean and end eventually up on our beaches.

One type of sea bean that I've been seeing on our local beaches lately has the more scientific name "Macuna." There are a variety of types of Macuna.

The ones I've been noticing are an inch to an inch and a half across and are bright shiny brown. One type has a black stripe around it.

I just found out today that there are web sites about sea beans, and that some people collect sea beans, and there are some people that make jewelry and other items from sea beans. I knew about sea beans before but I didn't know that some people found them that interesting.

Both gold and silver have been doing well, with gold being near $1400 an ounce and silver near $28.

Note: The troy ounce is the unit of weight for precious metals. One troy ounce equals 1.09711 regular (avoirdupois) ounces.

Forecast and Conditions.

It has been a long time since conditions have been good on the Treasure Coast for finding old shipwreck cobs. I hope you've notice though, how much rougher the water has been on average for the past couple of months. It might not be producing a lot of erosion on the beach, but it should at least be moving some sand in the water and stirring things up a bit. I think that was pretty much proven when the pieces of planks were washed up onto the beach. What is going on on a particular day is important, but there is a longer term cumulative process that takes place during the winter too.

You undoubtedly noticed that a cold front moved through recently and that always reminds me of my best cob hunting day back about twenty years ago when a col front came through. I've mentioned it before, but it was so cold on the Treasure Coast that the bridges on 95 were icing up. I can't remember exactly what year that was, but I remember clearly being out there in the freezing air and finding a good number of cobs. The only other person I saw on the beach that day only lasted a few minutes before he got froze out. I think it was on December 23rd or 24th.

Anyhow, conditions aren't good for finding cobs yet. At least that's my conclusion from the beaches that I've seen. I can't get around to them all. I've been pretty busy lately.

I think it is interesting how some fairly large stones were washed out of the water and deposited high on the beach even while the sand was building on the beach.

I think it is still a hunt and peck kind of world out there on the Treasure Coast beaches. You just have to scratch around to find much of anything.

I do think some artifacts will show up on the front of some of the beaches at low tide.

Happy hunting,