Monday, May 2, 2016

5/2/16 Report - Old Beach Ring Finds and More On The Apparent Lack Of Silver 1715 Wreck Rings.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Two Rings and Cobs Found in One Beach Cut Back Years Ago.
Finds and photo by John C.
Back a few days ago I was discussing the observation that no silver rings have been found on 1715 Fleet wrecks.  Concerning that, I received the above and following photos and an email from John C. Here is what John said.

So here's some pictures that may, or may not,shed some light on the controversy. The coins and rings in the picture were found over 20 years ago, and all came out of the same cut, maybe fifty yards long, But I think the Rings in the photo, are a perfect example of the different classes of people that may have been on these ships, at the time, the top ring in the picture is obviously crudely made hand carved notice the file marks on the inside of the Ring where it was tapered, I would say copper or bronze or maybe even very low kt gold, there has been quite a few rings as low as 8 kt,found off these wrecks. The ring , Possibly belonging to a common sailor or crew member, with some extra time on his hands as they sailed across the ocean.  The bottom ring is beautifully crafted, very high kt possibly 22,... So is the ring personal , possibly belonging to a higher class passenger on the ship ? Or is it just cargo, maybe originally crafted in China then brought over on the trade routes from Manila ? Who really knows...

More Rings Accumulated Over Years
Finds and photo by John C.
So now on the topic of silver rings.. the next photo shows 6 Rings with no markings on the inside. 4 out of the 6 Rings show evidence of gold. The two plain rings in the middle are huge one is bigger than a quarter, 4 out of the 6 Rings also have a design or pattern on the outside, one ring I partially cleaned years ago to try to find some markings. Some of the designs on these rings are very similar to rings found off these wrecks over the years.. the broken ring in the photo is very fragile almost paper thin, there's no evidence of gold on this ring, but I think it was gold plated at one time, just like the other rings in the picture. But notice the diamond pattern on the outside the same pattern that's on the 22 karat gold ring in the previous photo.. just a coincidence" could be,, but I don't think so I know where I found it,... the 4th photo also shows a ring with a pretty common shipwreck pattern. There was one found years ago I think it was 1989 by one of the salvers. it was High kt. and had the same Arrow design on the outside. But the inside had those strange abbreviations and Crosses Zachariah blessings !, or what we used to refer to as a nun's ring....

Another important factor to consider is Beach finds,, and water finds,, have two completely different environments. If you think about what these coins and artifacts had to endure to finally end up in the dry sand. These items are in a very high energy environment being pounded by waves and tidal currents for hundreds of years.. most of us treasure Hunters have been on the beach during a strong Nor'easter and remember how fast the current is moving from north to south many of these items may have originated hundreds of yards or more further north up the beach.. I'm not saying that the items found in the water,, especially being relatively shallow water don't get banged around. They do,, But in many cases they're protected by rocks or Ledges or pockets in The Reef , in some cases even Coral growth protects these items,

So did we get any closer in answering question ,, has there ever been silver rings found off the 1715 Fleet ? Probably not ' I just think that many more of these silver artifact and rings were gold plated then we thought,, but by no means do I consider myself an expert,, and I'm not saying that those six rings I showed you are shipwreck rings. I don't really do a lot of research,, I just try my best to find the stuff.

Great photos and email John!  Thanks for sharing.  I think we all benefit from sharing our experiences and observations.

It is important to note that these rings were found in a cut along with shipwreck coins.  That suggests that the rings are shipwreck rings too.

I've heard it said that the huge rings were sometimes made to be worn over a glove.  I'll have to see if I can find a picture of something like that sometime, maybe in an 18th century painting.

My conclusion so far is that silver rings on the 1715 Fleet are very rare, but there must have been a few - perhaps only personal belongings and very possibly worn by missionaries.  We know that silver rings have been documented from Spanish colonial land sites, although the majority were copper alloy or gold.

It seems to me, that you would have the cargo, and then personal belongings, with the personal belongings being predominately those of the rich, and then the meager belongings of the lower class, with few middle class passengers at all.  Maybe someone can provide real data about the people that were on board some of these vessels.

There is also the matter of non-metallic rings such as those made out of jet or glass.  It is documented that a lot of those were brought in as cargo on ships coming from the Old World, but they, as far as I know, have not been found on the wrecks, at least not in numbers - perhaps because they broke up and disintegrated and partly because they would not be detected by a metal detector.  It must also be remembered that some of those would have been trade goods, or for use by colonists and would not be returning to the Old World.

I still hope to photo some other old beach rings.  Hope to get around to that some day soon.

It is good to have some good ideas to research.  One thing leads to another and in the process we learn a lot.

You probably don't remember but this all started with a mystery silver ring and wondering if it might be from a shipwreck.  And then there was the comment that no silver rings have been found on 1715 wrecks.  As I said, one thing leads to another.


We have a two to three foot surf, decreasing even more for a couple of days.  Not much to comment on there.

Happy hunting,