How to Get Permission to Metal Detect on Private Property? (2 Tips for Guaranteed Success)

How to Get Permission to Metal Detect on Private Property? (2 Tips for Guaranteed Success)

Some of the best places I’ve ever searched were private property.   One of the houses ended up giving me “exclusive” search privileges.  It’s a 120-year-old mansion built during the logging boom.  It’s a dream to detect.  Visualize paths to the carriage house and in-laws house, old oak trees with remnants of swings in the branches and a small stream.

I’ll break down my permission technique:

  1. Find the property owner – use an app like LandGlide
  2. Look the property owner in the eyes.  As humbly as possible say – I know this is weird, but I’m a huge history buff and love metal detecting, is possible for me to metal detect on your property?
  3. Ask if they lost any keys or heirloom items that you could return. 
  4. Let them know you will be digging, but you will be careful and fill the holes to nearly invisible condition.
  5. Let them know, you’ll also pick up any trash like nails.

Some other items that have helped.  I don’t wear sunglasses.   I leave my gear in the car, don’t give folks a reason to object. 

Metal Detecting Tip:  1.  Share your finds…. Let the property owners know that you’d be happy to share in the treasure.  This has worked like magic for me.

Ideas From Others to Get Permission

 I thought it would be fun to toss this question out to the forum and see what answers the folks their came up with.

Here’s what I asked.

How do you get the courage to ask for permission?

Answer from Joe C.: “”This Is the Year”—-that’s what you need to tell yourself. This is the year I will break the ice and go ask permission to detect that old farmhouse/old piece of property I saw.”

Answer from Devon: “Good question, I personally haven’t tried asking for permission that much but others have done really well with this technique.”

Get Permission to Metal Detect
Get Permission to Metal Detect

Answer from DigMore:

1. Find out the name of the property owner first as it makes you look more ‘prepared’.

2. Think about what you’re going to ask the landowner.

3.After this initial introduction, answer any questions or concerns the property owner may have and, most important, do not lie! Lies will catch up sooner or later but most likely sooner.

4. First impressions are very important, so make sure you are clean, wear clean clothes, and NO SUNGLASSES! Direct eye contact is the best method to gain the property owner’s attention.

5. Know the neighborhood you are about to search. Take time to do some research, drive through it without a detector and make a list of the places that really look good to you.

6. If there are two or more of you hunting, send only one to the door, don’t have your buddies lounging around on the lawn with their equipment while you get the OK. The others should stay in the car until you walk back and tell them it is a go or no go.

7. Once you start hunting, wear headphones. Loud beeping will become a water torture to the owner and imply a multitude of valuable targets whether or not they are.

8. When asking permission, I always tell the home owner that I will show them anything I find before leaving. The key word is SHOW. Notice I didn’t imply “sharing”.

9. Have some prearranged hand signals with your partner if you find something neat, a tap on the top of the head might mean silver or relics.

10. By the way, it goes without saying – remove trash you find as well as treasure when you search a yard.

11. Don’t let a non-productive yard reflect on your attitude as you depart. It is not the owner’s fault that there was nothing there or that you failed to find your intended targets. Thank them for their hospitality as profusely as you would have you found $10 face value in old silver.

12. Lastly, treat the homeowners and their property with respect. Treasure hunting on someone’s property without permission is trespassing. Removing an item without permission is theft.

Metal Detecting Tip:  2. Carry dog biscuits in your detecting bag.  A high percentage of folks have dogs.  What better way to break the ice to explain you LOVE dogs.  And if they didn’t mind, you even have a dog cookie in your bag. 

Methods to Get Folks to GIVE You Permission

I used to be irritated when someone would interrupt my detecting out of curiosity. Now I realize that I was missing out on my best opportunity to get new sites to hunt. Now I look at every site I hunt as a potential connection to the next site I can hunt.

I don’t really hunt crowded public areas, but I smile and wave at every at any passerby on foot or in a vehicle that happens to look my way.  Even if it’s just a lady walking her dog.  (use the dog treat idea)

Often people stop and say “Have you found anything?” I will always pause and carry-on friendly conversation. I’ll tell what I’ve learned about the history of the area and am most often told something I didn’t know (ie “There used to be a church in that vacant lot across the street”).

I’ll also ask who owns certain property I am interested in detecting. I’ll sometimes get something like “Oh that’s Jake Howard’s place.  Just go tell him you know Sandy and Jim. He’s cool.”

Often, I’ll get folks telling me about a place that would be perfect. They’ll say something like –“If I were you, I’d hunt the old Kemper property. That family was rich and have lived in the area forever.” 

The best is when I get invitations “You’re welcome to hunt my house. It’s one of the oldest in town.”  When I hear that it’s like heaven is opening up giving me a gift.

Use a Permission Letter

I’m not a fan of this, but some folks have had some success.  Basically, the landowner signs a slip and gives you permission.  

Click on the picture below to download a FREE PDF permission letter:

Metal Detecting Permission Form
Metal Detecting Permission Form

Another Place to Detect

Most of the time public parks and fairs are excellent places to metal detect.  If it’s not posted, spend a couple minutes searching the web to see if metal detecting is not allowed on the municipality website.   

At this point assume that you can, but if challenged – plead ignorance and say you didn’t know and will stop immediately.

Most times nothing will come of it.  It’s those times that you ask – is when you’ll be denied.  It’s just easier for the municipality works to just say no, than to help a detectorist.  

If you’d like more articles about metal detecting check out the links below.

David Humphries, Writer and Creator of METAL DETECTING TIPS. After borrowing my son’s detector and finding $.25. I felt like a treasure hunter. FREE MONEY! I was seriously bitten by the metal detecting bug.

Antique Axe Identification (A Guide for Metal Detectorists)

Antique Axe Identification (A Guide for Metal Detectorists)

Antique axe identification is an essential factor for collectors to know. For instance, if you go metal detecting and find an old axe, learning how to identify them will help you tell whether they are antique or not. It leads us to the question – how are antique axes identified.

Learning the “clues” on an axe will help you identify the age, maker and region. Some styles of axe are very valuable and learning how to find an antique takes a bit of education. The first clue is if the axe has a brand marking on the head. It is also vital that you know the basic features of different axes to help you identify the tool you found.  

Antique Axe Identification

Antique Axe
Antique Axe

Edge tools, such as an axe, are one of the earliest forms of tools ever to exist. For instance, some surviving primitive axes date back to 8000 B.C. Now, these axes are collector’s items that hold so much value.

Antique axes were created by wrapping the scorching iron around a form to make the ax’s eye. So, if you are a metal detector enthusiast, chances are you will find an ancient axe buried underground.

Metal Detecting Tip: To really “dial in” your metal detecting game learn about the different frequencies. Read – Best Frequency for Metal Detectors

However, it is essential to know that not all axes that you might find are antiques. Some can only be vintage axes, more than 50 years old but less than 100. Needless to say, axes need to be at least 100 years old for them to be considered antique.

For that reason, metal detector hobbyists need to know how to identify an antique axe.

Types Of Antique Axes

1. American Felling Axe

Settlers from France, England, and Spain brought the felling axe to America. It happened when the said countries began introducing the trade axe to the North American Indians.

Felling axes made in the 17th century used fabrication techniques by hammer welding two iron pieces on a poll surface. Later on, axes had a flat surface with a thin poll.

Moreover, North American blacksmiths forged the poll side of felling axes longer, thus creating a lap weld and more welding surface.

So, if you are metal detecting and happen to find an old axe with a long poll side, you may have found an antique axe.

The best antique axe identification characteristic of American felling axes is that they look like modern ones that people use today.

2. Double-Bit Axe

William Mann made the first double-bit axe in the 1850s. His company, The Man Edge Took Company is among the few manufacturers still in the axe-making business.

A double-bit axe has two blades – one blade was sharpened to a narrow felling edge, while the second blade was slightly blunter.

Until now, double-bit axes remain a popular utility axe for the people in the Western United States. Such is especially true for agencies, such as the USDA Forest Service.

3. Broad Axe

People used broad axes until the end of the 19th century. This type of axe became popular for squaring timber and flattening the sides of logs. For this reason, people used it primarily for timber framing and log buildings.

Broad axes used for logs and timbers have one flat side and one beveled side.

Moreover, another type of broad axe is called the goose-wing broad axe.

German settlers brought this axe to America, making it the first hewing axe used in the country. A goose-wing axe has a handle offset to the left or right while the bent metal tube is forged to the bit.

In addition, a goose-wing broad axe has a unique character as its axehead resembles a flying goose. (source)

4. Ice Axe

Ice axes first became popular in the 1840s when people would harvest ice in the winter and store them for summer use. 

Early ice axes featured a vertical adze, and the cutting edge aligned with the shaft’s direction. Its most notable antique axe identification feature is an axe head, called a pick, characterized by a slight curve and pointed end.

Moreover, there was a change in the ice axe’s design in 1860. During this time, the adze was rotated perpendicularly to the shaft.

5. Fire Axe

Fire axes are one of the most sought-after collectibles. The reason is that older fire axes have the monogram of the fire company on their heads. You can easily recognize this type of axe if you dug one when metal detecting. The reason is that the fire axe has the only axe with a cutting edge and a pointed edge.

6. Mortising Axe

During antique axe identification, the size and shape of the axe are the top features that can help you identify them. For instance, a mortising axe has a long and narrow head to accommodate the size of a mortise hole.

Some mortising axes also have double bits. One of the bits is for the length of the hole, while the other is for the width.

7. Hatchet

Hatchets are minor axes that you can use with one hand. You may think that the hatchet you dug is some axe during antique axe identification. If you are confused, check the size of the axe you found. It is a hatchet if it looks smaller and feels lighter than a regular axe. (source)

Metal Detecting Tip: This is going to seem silly, but go to old places to find old things. Two spots I’d point to – Metal Detecting in Florida and Metal Detecting in Virginia

Dating An Antique Axe Head

When you are doing an antique axe identification, you would also want to know when production occurred for the axe you found. You can do such by identifying who the manufacturer of the axe is if there is any brand marked on the axe head.

Moreover, some antique axes typically have unique markings. You can compare these marks to brand logos online to see if they match up. This way, you may find clues to how old the axe you found is. 

What Should I Look for in an Antique Axe?

Different Styles of Antique Axes
Different Styles of Antique Axes

Finding an antique axe while metal detecting is similar to finding a gem, especially if you are an axe collector. But apart from finding old axes yourself, you can also purchase antique axes online.

But in this case, making an antique axe identification is not enough. Instead, you also need to know what collectors look for when purchasing an antique axe.

Profile of the Axe

When making an antique ax identification, the first thing you need to do is check the axe’s overall profile. Check if anything has been re-profiled or there are significant damages that can affect the item’s structural integrity.

Etchings, Emboss or Stamps

Antique axes usually have either a marking embossed on them, etchings, or even stamps. But it is essential to note that axes without markings are still collector’s items. However, an axe with any said identifiers will be more valuable than the no-name ones.

Too Much Rust and Pitting

Antique axes will inevitably rust due to their old age. However, it would be best to avoid axes with deep pits, especially on the cutting edge or near the pit.

Chipped Cutting Edge

Collectors know how to do antique axe identification. So apart from checking whether an axe is indeed antique or not, you will also need to check the orientation of the blade..

Of course, you need to expect some small chips on the tool’s cutting edge. However, stay away from antique axes with missing large chunks from any part of the head.

Grinding Marks

If the edge of the axe looks like someone attempted to sharpen it using an electric grinder, consider it as a deal-breaker. It can be that the axe had significant damage on the cutting edge, which the seller tried to fix using an electric grinder. (source)

How Old Are Axe Heads?

How old are axe heads
How old are axe heads

It is essential to note that metal axes are not the only antique ones when identifying antique axes. The Stone Age marks the period of tool production in human history. During this time, ancient people created cutting tools made out of stone known as a hand axe.

How Old Are Hand Axes?

A hand axe was a pear-shaped, roughly chipped stone tool. It had a pointed end and a broad handle. Additionally, ancient people probably used it for digging up tubers and butchering animals. Moreover, hand axes are 1.5 million years B.P.

As time passed, people could refine hand axes and add wooden handles to them. These axes date from 6,000 B.C.

The Bronze Age

When doing antique ax identification, the axes you may find are primarily metals. That said, the earliest metal axe came from the Bronze Age (approximately 3,000 B.C. to 1,300 B.C.)

During this age, there were metalworking advances as people discovered copper, bronze, and tin.

That said, some bronze axes may have come from this historical period and are possibly 5,000 years old.

The Iron Age

The heat and forged iron axes became popular during this period. People from the iron age saw iron as a more valuable metal than gold, prompting them to create tools. In addition, wrought iron was easier to manufacture than bronze.

Moreover, iron axes from this period are now 900 to 3,000 years old.

Furthermore, there are antique axes made during the 18th and 19th centuries. These are the antique axes that you will find with markings that identify the company that manufactured them. (source)

Why Are Black Raven Axes So Expensive?

The Kelly Axe Manufacturing Company introduced the Black Raven axe to the market in 1904. It was manufactured at the company’s foundry located in Charleston, West Virginia. What made the Black Raven a premium axe was its etchings gilded in gold paint. 

The Black Raven Etching

You can find the Black Raven Etching on sing and double-bit felling axes and hatchets. At the beginning of the 1920s, the company also added the etching on scythes.

Moreover, the Black Raven axes were produced later in the 90s under The American Fork and Hoe Co. This name was a separate brand of the company that took over in 1930.

In addition, some Black Raven axes had a “True Temper Kelly Works” etching near the single-bit axe poll. You can find the same etching on the opposite side of the raven etching on double-bit felling axes.

What Makes Black Raven Axes Expensive?

It is not surprising why axe collectors constantly seek the Black Raven. The axes under this name are distinct due to their etchings. Additionally, these axes are vintage, making them an expensive collector’s item.

If a vintage Black Raven axe is in its pristine condition, it can cost more than $1,000. But according to Brett McLeod in his book Shaped a Continent, “The good news is that collectors still report finding Black Raven axes at barn sales, auctions, and flea markets for a few dollars.” (source)

What is the Difference Between an Axe and Hatchet?

Before the invention of drop forges and power hammers, blacksmiths were the ones who created axes. Back then, there were two parts needed to make an axe:

  • iron or soft steel
  • hard steel bit

Moreover, the evolution of axes paves the way for different axe types. For instance, a hatchet looks similar to an axe, confusing people about how they differ, especially when identifying antique axes.

That said, how does an axe differ from a hatchet?

The Basics of Axe and Hatchet

An axe has two major components:

  • a heavy metal blade head
  • a wooden handle

Both sides of the head are equally rounded off without any flat bevel. The head also has a blade on one side and a butt on the opposite side.

On the other hand, a hatchet is a single-handed tool. It has a short and straight shaft without a bevel on edge. In addition, the handle of a hatchet can be out of steel, wood, or fiberglass.

Axe and Hatchet: The Difference

An ax and a hatchet are tools for wood chipping, which people have been using for centuries. Considering that the two have a similar appearance, people often think they are interchangeable. But in reality, these two tools work best if used for what their design intended.

A tool for heavy-duty woodworking, such as chopping and splitting large pieces of wood.A hatchet is a miniature version of an axe. It has a smaller handle than an axe and is typically only used for light woodworks.
A heavy metal blade bounds the head section at one end. The blade also attaches to the other end of the head by a long wooden handle.It is a small broad axe that has a short handle. The handle is shorter than that of an axe. In addition, the blade flares on the bottom and straightens across the top.
An axe is a specialized tool that users need to hold with two hands in order to maximize the striking power.Similar to an axe, a hatchet is also a specialized tool. However, the design is only for single-handed use, so there isn’t enough power to split large woods.
They are used for splitting logs and wood for preparing firewood.A hatchet is meant for cutting, trimming, splitting, nailing, and tearing off old wooden shingles. (source)

Do Detectorist Find Axe Heads?

While digging (pun) around to understand axe heads I got wondering if its common for folks with metal detectors to find axes. Check out what I found in this news clip.

Bronze Age and post-medieval treasure found in Wales

Five treasure finds dating from the Bronze Age to post-medieval periods discovered by metal detectorists have officially been declared treasure. BBC NEWS Credit

Picture Credit National Museum Wales

Antique Axe Identification: The Takeaway

Identifying antique axes can be challenging if you do not know the types of axes. Each of the antique axes that you may find when metal detecting has distinct characteristics, making them easy to identify. Some axes have etchings or markings that tell their brand, making it effortless for you to date them.

On the other hand, some axe types look very similar, so you will have to differentiate them to find the difference closely.

David Humphries, Writer and Creator of METAL DETECTING TIPS. After borrowing my son’s detector and finding $.25. I felt like a treasure hunter. FREE MONEY! I was seriously bitten by the metal detecting bug.


  1. Brief History Of The Ax,” Nano PDF, accessed December 23, 2021.
  2. Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia, Axe,
  3. Peter Buchanan-Smith, Ross McCammon, Nick Zdon, and Michael Getz,

Buchanan-Smith’s Axe Handbook: Knowing, Buying, Using, Hanging, Restoring & Adorning. Harry & Abrams Inc., 2021.

  1. Clare Hibbert, Stone Age to Iron Age. London: Hachette UK, 2016.–Bu8Q6AF6BAgHEAI#v=onepage&q=stone%20bronze%20and%20iron%20age&f=false.
  2. Brett McLeod, American Axe: The Tool That Shaped a Continent. China: Storey Publishing, 2020.
  3. William Morgans, Manual of Mining Tools, Illustrated by an Atlas. London: Lockwood & Co., 1871.
What Materials Block Gold Detector Sensors? (Here’s the List)

What Materials Block Gold Detector Sensors? (Here’s the List)

What materials block gold detector sensors? Metal detector users aim to find valuable items buried underground, such as coins, jewelry, and of course, gold. But are there any materials that can hinder metal detectors from finding gold?

One of the best materials to block gold from a metal detector is iron. A considerable amount of iron can make a metal detector overload. Electrically conductive minerals, soil minerals, and iron underground pipes can also interfere with a metal detectors’ signal.

What Materials Block Gold Detector

Metal detectors seem to be a fool-proof method of finding valuable materials like coins, jewelry, and gold. This electronic device consists of transmitting and receiving coils that send alerts once it detects the presence of metal.

Despite the seemingly fool-proof design, metal detectors cannot detect everything buried underground.

Finding Gold with a Metal Detector
Finding Gold with a Metal Detector

However, it is essential to note that you cannot prevent metal detectors from finding gold signals. Instead, you can only use other materials to mask gold signals from getting detected.

So, what materials block gold detector sensors?

Materials That Can Block Gold Detectors

1. Masking Gold Signals with Iron

Iron does not have similar characteristics to gold. But it is one of the best metals to set off a metal detector. So, if a gold nugget has a large amount of iron near it, the iron will mask its signal. As a result, the metal detector will not detect the gold buried underground.

Moreover, the materials that block gold detectors include iron, as mentioned. The reason is that the device overloads when large quantities of iron are present. (source)

2. Electrically Conductive Minerals

These materials can come from burning mineral fuel leftovers, such as slag, fuel coke, and clinkers. These minerals typically have a wide signal. For this reason, they can mask the signs that gold nuggets release, making it difficult for gold detectors to find their targets.

3. Soil Minerals

Oxidation can alter the ground balance in areas with an intense fire. As a result, it can be more difficult for gold detectors to detect their target. (source)

A common term in metal detecting is Hot Rocks, it designates soil that has high iron and mineral content. This plays havoc on a metal detecting requiring ground balancing and sensitivity tuning.

4. Iron Drain Pipes

Iron drain pipes are usually present underground. As mentioned, a large amount of iron is one of the materials that block gold detectors.

So, if you are looking for gold in an area with an underground pipe, the pipe will make it impossible for you to find your target.

Metal Detecting Tip: Lots of technology has made searching for jewelry and other gold items a lot easier. The best detectors are called VLF. Read about which ones are really great in this article – 6 Best VLF Detectors For Gold

Factors Defeating Metal Detectors from Finding Gold

Only a few materials block gold detectors from finding gold nuggets. However, other factors can defeat metal detectors from locating their target. That includes:

1. Depth of the “Target”

Suppose the gold is buried at least 8 to 10 ft. In that case, it will be more difficult for the metal detector’s receiver coil to receive its electromagnetic field.

2. Skill and Effort of the Detectorist

Gold that is buried relatively deep is difficult to find. But suppose the operator does not exist enough effort to expose the detected metal. In that case, they will not find the gold underground.

3. Searcher Reburies the Item They Found

There are times when the detectorist digs a find only to discover trash.  However, the detectorist needs to double check the hole.  Often times the trash will hide the gold buried under it.

4. Signs of What Appears to be Common Maintenance Site

There are areas in the ground that look like typical maintenance. When operators see such, they ignore the area thinking that the signal they found might come from underground pipes. (source)

Metal Detecting Tip: Some metals are difficult for metal detectors to “tone”. Stainless steel is one of those items. Read more about why in: What Metals Cannot Be Detected by a Metal Detector?

Does Aluminum Set Off a Metal Detector?

Yes, aluminum conducts electricity so it creates a magnetic field. There are two types of metals – ferrous and nonferrous both can be found with a metal detector.  The key is the conductivity, which provides the electric field that metal detectors respond too.  Ferrous metals contain iron, making them magnetic. Some examples of ferrous metals are:

  • alloy steel
  • carbon steel
  • wrought iron
  • cast iron

On the other hand, nonferrous metals, such as gold, silver, copper, and aluminum, are non-magnetic. They are lightweight and more malleable than ferrous materials, perfect for making wires for electronic applications.

Metal Detectors Do Not Detect Magnetism

Metal Detectors do not find metals using magnetism. Instead, it utilizes electrical conductivity. These devices send magnetic pulses (think frequency waves) into the ground not to locate magnetic items. The magnetic pulsations from the detector induce an electrical current to create a magnetic field, even on non-magnetic metals.

Finding old nails metal detecting
Finding old nails metal detecting

After a metal detector creates a magnetic field on the target, the receiver coil will send it to a sensor, alerting the user of metal found. 

That said, metal detectors can detect metals, even if they do not contain iron. That means aluminum will set off metal detectors. For this reason, it is not one of the materials that block gold detector sensors. (source)

Will A Cell Phone Set Off a Metal Detector?

A metal detector does not detect the signal of your smartphone. Instead, it reads the presence of metals wherever its search coil passes over the ground. Even the metal detectors used in airports and malls work by detecting metal presence.

Every part of a smartphone contains different metals.         

Smartphone PartsMetal
CasingMagnesium and Nickel
ElectronicsTantalum, Nickel, and Gallium
BatteryCobalt, Lithium, Nickel
Speakers, Microphone, and Vibration UnitTerbium, Nickel, Neodymium, Praseodymium, Gadolinium, and Dysprosium

For this reason, your phone will set off a metal detector. The battery and circuit board of a metal detector contain enough metal to prompt metal detectors to send off signals. (source)

How Do You Shield Gold from a Metal Detector?

The best way to shield gold from a metal detector is to place them underground near vast amounts of iron. However, Chad Venzke, a 30-year-old Wisconsin resident, has a different method. He said, “Dig a hole in the ground four feet deep, pack gold and silver in a piece of plastic PVC pipe, seal it, and bury it.” (source)

Moreover, there are also other steps that you can shield gold from a metal detector:

Dig a Relatively Deep Hole

One reasonable way to shield gold from a metal detector is to make it physically challenging for the device to detect it. To do this, you need to dig a deep hole, at least two feet or more. Then, place the gold at the bottom of the hole.

Once your gold is in the hole, cover at least half of it with soil. Ensure that the ground is packed as you want it to be as solid as possible.

Metal Detecting Tip: The first question everyone asks is how deep will a metal detector detect? It’s based on many things but the common answer is, as deep as the search coil is wide. You can read more in this article – How Deep Do Metal Detectors Detect?

In addition, metal detectors have different levels of sensitivity. For this reason, the deeper you bury an item, the more scattered and weaker the signal will be. Some metal detectors may not detect deeply buried metals at all.

On the other hand, some metal detectors may not pinpoint the metal, making the user think that the signal comes from a reasonably small object. If materials block gold detectors, it will also make it more difficult for the device to locate its target.

Drop A Medium/Large Piece of Metal in the Hole

Another way to hide gold from a metal detector is to place materials that block the gold detector near it. You can drop a medium to a large piece of iron on the remaining hole before covering it with soil. This way, the metal detector will set off once it detects the iron.

As a result, a metal detector will believe that the first metal he dug was what his device detected.

Moreover, the ground-penetrating radar (GPR) sometimes shows rough and blurry shapes that the operator needs to interpret. If the operator is not familiar with interpreting ground signals, they will not know if the object they found is gold or trash. (source)

Can a Faraday Cage Block Metal Detectors?

A Faraday cage is an enclosure that prevents some types of electromagnetic radiation from passing through or exiting. It works as a shield or container that blocks electromagnetic radiation, such as microwaves and radio waves.

Michael Faraday invented this device in the 19th century. A Faraday cage may be formed in two ways:

  • a continuous covering of a conductive material
  • a mesh of conductive materials

But is a Faraday cage one of the materials that block gold detectors?

A Faraday cage cannot block stable and slowly changing magnetic fields. The reason is that this device is made out of metal, so a metal detector can still locate it. The Faraday cage can even trigger the metal detector sensor.  (source)

The Takeaway

People ask whether or not they can trick a metal detector. But while materials that block metal detector sensors seem like an excellent way to trick the device, the truth is they are not always fool-proof.

For instance, you can only prevent a walk-through metal detector from alerting if you walk on its outer sides.

For this reason, there are only a few materials that block gold detectors. This device utilizes its magnetic field so it can detect metals. So, even if you cover the metal with things like foil and plastic, a metal detector can still find its magnetic field.

That said, the only way you can hide gold from a metal detector is to bury it in a relatively deep hole along with another metal that serves as a decoy.


David Humphries, Writer and Creator of METAL DETECTING TIPS. After borrowing my son’s detector and finding $.25. I felt like a treasure hunter. FREE MONEY! I was seriously bitten by the metal detecting bug.


  1. Mark Smith, Metal Detecting: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Uncovering History, Adventure, and Treasure. Skyhorse, 2016.
  2. Dave Johnson, Gold Prospecting with a VLF Metal Detector. Texas: Fisher Labs, 2010.
  3. Gregory Lee, Business Statistics Made Easy in SAS. USA: SAS Institute Inc., 2015.
  4. Mary-Ann Ochota, Britain’s Secret Treasures. UK: Headline Publishing Group, 2013.
  5. Brian A. Jackson, Joe Russo, John S. Hollywood, Richard Silberglitt, and Dulani Woods, Fostering Innovation in Community and Institutional Corrections: Identifying High-Priority Technology And Other Needs For the US Corrections Sector. Santa Monica: RAND Corporation, 2015.
  6. Hiding Gold In All The Unusual Places (blog), September 1, 2011.

Scott Clark, “How Do You Protect Gold From Metal Detectors?” Quora. May 26, 2018.

Old Flat Button Identification (A Metal Detectorists Guide)

Old Flat Button Identification (A Metal Detectorists Guide)

An old flat button identification is one way of finding out whether the button you found while metal detecting is antique or not. Buttons hold history, which makes them a popular item for many collectors. But with so many buttons made hundreds of years ago, what characteristics will tell you which ones hold value.

You can identify an old flat button by looking at its physical appearance. Flat buttons are often molded, which will have parting lines (molding) and a gate clip where the metal is shows signs of being poured into a mold. In addition there are old flat buttons stamped with a disc to shape them.

Old Flat Button Identification

If you have a hobby of metal detecting, chances are you have already dug a metal button. But what is thrilling is when you find a button that is still in good shape. The reason is that such buttons will allow you to track their history and origin. For instance, if you find an old button, you are likely to search on the web to find where and when people used it.

Moreover, a person who is not knowledgeable about buttons may consider the specimen boring or useless. But as a metal detector that works on finding relics, you know how valuable old flat buttons can get. That said, you need to know how to perform a flat button identification.

How To Identify Old Flat Buttons?

Flat buttons have two varieties:

Cast Or Molded Flat ButtonsStruck Or Stamped Flat Buttons
It is created by pouring molten metal, such as lead, pewter, or brass, into a mold.The struck button is stamped on a disk to make them.
Cast buttons have a shank with a tiny loop piece located at their back. This loop piece is sewed onto the fabric, making it an essential part of the old flat button’s design.It has a loop shank or a wire-type eye fastened by brazing.
Some cast buttons have shanks drilled on them to create a hole. 

Moreover, you can find flat buttons created as early as 1830. Such buttons usually have the maker’s mark or a black mark – a quality mark found in old flat buttons.

These black marks appear on the backside of the buttons, specifically around the shank. Additionally, they work as a means of promoting the manufacturer’s product.

Moreover, common marks that can help you perform an old flat button identification are:

  • Rich Color
  • Treble Gilt
  • Extra Fine
  • Best Orange

Identifying Old Flat Buttons Through Shanks

When making old flat button identification, you can also look at their shanks to tell whether they are antique or not.

Alpha Shank

Buttons with this type of shank were popular during the 18th century. A brazed wire loop characterizes an alpha shank. The ends of the said loop meet at the base of the shank.

Omega Shank

The omega shank featured a loop shank with the ends of the wire loop bent and flattened against the button’s back. It has a resemblance with the Greek letter omega, hence the name.

Moreover, old flat buttons with omega shanks were popular from the late 18th century to the 1850s.

Saunders-Type Shank

This type of shank can be seen on buttons manufactured in the early 19th century. The shank has a wire inserted at the back of the button. In addition, resin secured the ends of the wire.

Moreover, Benjamin Saunders patented the Saunders-type shank for creating textile-covered buttons in 1813. (source)

What Were Buttons Made of In the Past?

Medieval Button Fragments
Medieval Button Fragments – Image: “File:Post-Medieval Button fragments (FindID 836516).jpg” by North Lincolnshire Museum, Martin Foreman, 2017-03-15 16:14:00 is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Performing an old flat button identification is a way of finding out how intimate and showy society once is. These buttons tell stories from hundreds of years ago. They are also a model of engineering and technology of the 18th century.

Moreover, buttons have been used for clothing for around 3,000 years. They were manufactured from wood, bones, metal, and seashells. But unlike now, they were only worn back then for decoration.

People began using buttons as fasteners in 1200. They were connected to clothes through a loop of thread. In the 16th century, people used gold, ivory, and diamond to create buttons.

On the other hand, people made buttons from the mid-1600s of ceramics, silver, and silk. They also had hand-painted designs and portraits or scenery. 

People began creating different buttons and using other materials to make them as time passed.

Thread Buttons

During the late 17th century, French tailors began manufacturing thread buttons that looked like small balls of threads. These buttons were simple to make as they only use basic thread. They also became popular due to their durability. They were also comfortable enough to be pressed against the wearer’s skin.

Celluloid Buttons

Celluloid is a rare and first artificial plastic material used for making buttons. They come in all shapes and sizes and can be transparent, opaque, or both.

This type of button became popular in the early 1900s. However, the downside of celluloid buttons is that they are incredibly flammable.

Bakelite Buttons

This type of button was the first entirely synthetic plastic. They were more opaque than celluloid buttons and were also heavier.

Moreover, Bakelite buttons are a collector’s item today. Bakelite buttons that were clear and turned yellow over time are called apple juice Bakelite. On the other hand, opaque buttons that turn very yellow are called cream corn Bakelite.

Lucite Buttons

Lucite is a material with low density but is still stronger than previous plastic materials used for button making. Old Lucite buttons were colorful and had glitters embedded in them. Some even have rhinestones mounted on their surfaces.

Additionally, Lucite buttons have different shapes, such as flowers or animals.

Lucite buttons were popular from the 1930s to the 1960s.

Victorian Glass Buttons

People from the Victorian era created black glass buttons. They made these buttons to imitate the actual jet buttons worn by Queen Victoria when she was mourning her husband’s death.

Most of these glass buttons came from Czechoslovakia during the 20th century.

Old Metal Buttons

Brass and copper were the common materials used for creating antique metal buttons. Gold, sterling, and pewter buttons were less common back then.

In addition, some metal buttons were popular as ornaments with patterns and pictures embossed on them.

There were also metal buttons from the revolutionary war and the civil war era. Many of these buttons feature military symbols on them. When performing an old flat button identification, you will easily identify military buttons with these features. (source)

What Are Tombac Buttons?

Tombac Buttons
Tombac Buttons – “File:Post-medieval button, Tombac button (FindID 800768).jpg” by Oxfordshire County Council, Anni Byard, 2016-08-23 13:46:35 is licensed under CC BY 2.0

A tombac button is a one-piece metal button that archeologists refer to as “flat disc” buttons. It is an alloy of brass, a high amount of copper, and 5 to 20 percent zinc. Some manufacturers also added tin, arsenic, or lead to improve the color of tombac buttons. 

In addition, the metal used for this type of button is inexpensive. For this reason, people often use it for ornaments and medals.

The Rise of Tombac Buttons

Tombac buttons were used as large, fashionable coat buttons. Typically, these buttons had plating, and the face was either plain or decorated with either hand-engraved or engine-carved design. 

The shank of this button type consists of a copper alloy wire inserted into the mold while casting the button in a style called “cast in boss.” Manufacturers produced tombac buttons in the second half of the eighteenth century.

Additionally, most tombac buttons were cast with their backs finished on a lathe.

Moreover, people started casting tombac buttons around the 1760s until the 1800s. In the 18th century, tombac buttons came in different shapes and sizes. These variations make it easy for people to perform old flat button identification. (source)

Are Old Buttons Worth Any Money?

Many antique buttons are worth the money. And while not many people are aware, some individuals collect antique buttons. Some people do this hobby for fun, while others actively seek unusual, rare, and antique buttons for sale.

For this reason, the old buttons you have in your stash can be worth money.

Unique Sewing Buttons

Manufacturers created buttons using a wide range of materials back then. When performing an old flat button identification, you may even see some buttons made out of highly prized materials. For instance, some old buttons feature opals, pearls, and even black sapphires as their primary materials.

These old buttons, which date back to the 19th century, are precious and are often popular with serious button collectors.

Old Metal Buttons

Apart from vintage buttons made out of gems, buttons cast with metals are also popular. Most of the time, these buttons are popular with collectors because they hold history. You may even find out about these buttons’ origin and history while performing an old flat button identification.

For instance, soldiers wore old brass buttons on their military uniforms. This particular type of old button can sell for a high amount. Such is especially true of the button’s design is unique to specific military service or an important period.

Additionally, even buttons from the Depression era are items for collection. However, these buttons are not as valuable as buttons made out of gems in terms of money. Still, collectors find these buttons valuable as they hold a lot of nostalgia connected with them. (source)

Factors That Affect the Value of Old Buttons

One factor that affects the value of old buttons is their current condition. Similar to other collectible items, well-preserved buttons hold a high price.

The pedigree of antique buttons can also impact their current market value. Buttons that are identifiable or those that you can trace the origin, are likely to allure many collectors. However, it is worth noting that some collectors would ask for a great deal of documentation before agreeing to the price you are asking for old buttons.

Even some fashion designers seek old buttons as they want to add them to the overall design of their creations.

That said, you can make money out of old buttons, especially old flat buttons. However, you need to perform a thorough old flat button identification to ensure that they are antique.

What Kind of Old Buttons Are Worth the Money?

People have been using buttons to fasten clothes since the 1700s. However, rare buttons are more than just items for clothing. Instead, rare buttons are more of a work of art. Frugal homemakers often snip off beautiful buttons from old clothing back then.

For this reason, rare and beautiful buttons are still available as items for collection.

Moreover, old flat button identification is essential for finding out which buttons are worth the money.

That said, how can you tell whether or not an old button is worth the money?

Non-Plastic Materials

Antique buttons are unlikely to have plastic material. Still, it is worth noting that there are exceptions as there is an early plastic material called celluloid.

However, rare and antique buttons were not plastic buttons like bakelite or celluloid. Instead, rare buttons made from

  • Mother of pearl and shell are often sparkly and display differences within the button.
  • Porcelain or ceramic – Buttons made from these materials clink when you tap them. They are also lightweight and cool to the touch.
  • Metal – It is easy to perform an old flat button identification on metal buttons as most have stamped details on the surface.
  • Wood – Shows a wood grain and feels lightweight.
  • Bone – Ivory, antler, and bone buttons feature subtle and grain variation.
  • Jet – A black, natural, and lightweight material often carved.
  • Glass – Clinks when you gently tap it on a hard surface.
  • Stone and gemstone – These materials are heavy and feel cool to touch.
  • Tortoiseshell – It’s a lightweight material with natural color variation.

Hand-Painted Details

Buttons with hand-painted designs are exceptional. The reason is that each design is one of a kind, regardless of whether or not the design is unique. Hand-painting buttons mean decorating them one by one, so no two buttons look alike.

Precious Metals

Buttons made of metals can come from brass, steel, silver, and gold. However, the most valuable buttons consist of precious metals.

Moreover, you can find what metal a button contains by flipping it over and looking for the maker’s mark. For instance, buttons with sterling silver as their primary material will bear “Sterling” or the number “925” on the back. So, if you find buttons made with precious metals, it will be easy for you to perform an old flat button identification.

Figural Designs

Buttons with figural designs are the ones that represent a person, mystical creature, animal, and other strong figures. For instance, you will see buttons with Art Nouveau designs featuring women with flowing hair. There are also buttons molded to look like a fruit, flower, and even pastoral scenes made in miniature.

Enamel, Micro Mosaic Art, And Special Touches

There are rare buttons that feature small mosaics or enameled with colored glass as decoration. Such special touches make an old button unique and rare. In fact, some collectors focus on buttons that display such designs, thus making them valuable.

Hand Carving

People carved many old buttons by hand instead of being made by machine. So, if you are performing an old flat button identification, look for subtle signs of being carved by hand on old buttons.

You will see slight variations in the depth of carving and texture or even the lack of uniformity. (source)

Treasure Takeaway

Performing an old flat button identification is not that difficult. The reason is that most old buttons have different shank types, which can tell you when their fabrication occurred. Many antique buttons also have black marks on their backs, identifying them as antique items.

But apart from old flat buttons, other rare buttons are considered antiques. For instance, buttons made out of non-plastic materials are considered rare, so they hold so much monetary value.


David Humphries, Writer and Creator of METAL DETECTING TIPS. After borrowing my son’s detector and finding $.25. I felt like a treasure hunter. FREE MONEY! I was seriously bitten by the metal detecting bug.


Featured Image: “File:Flat Discoid Button from Wickenby (FindID 432057).jpg” by North Lincolnshire Museum, Martin Foreman, 2011-03-04 11:00:17 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

  1. Carolyn L. White, American Artifacts of Personal Adornment, 1680-1820: A Guide to Identification and Interpretation. USA: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2005.
  2. Jill Gorski, Warman’s Buttons Field Guide. China: Krause Publications, 2009.,+bakelitew+buttons&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjsuNisrvz0AhVzxYsBHYY2BuUQ6AF6BAgLEAI#v=onepage&q=celluloid%2C%20bakelitew%20buttons&f=false.
  3. Arthur Horseman Hiorns, Mixed Metals: Or, Metallic Alloys. London: Macmillan and Co., 1890.
  4. Jennifer Aultman and Kate Grillo, “Manufacturing Technique” DAACS Cataloging Manual: Buttons. (June 2012): 3-4.
  5. Marcel, Sarah Elizabeth, “Buttoning Down the Past: A Look at Buttons as Indicators of Chronology and Material Culture” (1994). Chancellor’s Honors Program Projects.
What Metals Cannot Be Detected by a Metal Detector? (Find Out Here)

What Metals Cannot Be Detected by a Metal Detector? (Find Out Here)

What metals cannot be detected by a metal detector? If you are familiar with this device, you know it can locate almost every metal buried underground. For this reason, you may wonder whether or not there are metals that it cannot detect.

A metal detector cannot find metals with low electrical conductivity. The device works by transmitting and receiving electromagnetic fields. Hence, metals need to be good conductors for it to detect them. The most challenging metal for a metal detector to detect is stainless steel.

What Metals Cannot Be Detected by a Metal Detector?

Metal detectors work excellently for finding valuable objects like coins and jewelry. Since such a device can detect ferrous and non-ferrous metals, it can be pretty easy to pinpoint where your targets are buried.

So, this hobby can be worth the effort and time investment because you can find valuables that you can exchange for money.

However, what metals cannot be detected by a metal detector?

Are There Metals That Metal Detectors Cannot Find?

Metal detectors emit electromagnetic fields to locate metals buried underground. These electromagnetic fields change from time to time as the device listens to waves that come from conductive elements.

That said, a metal detector will not detect metals with poor electrical conductivity.

Below are metals that a metal detector cannot detect:

1. Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is an alloy of iron and chromium. The chromium content produces a thin film of chromium oxide on the surface of the steel. This layer is known as the passivation layer.

The passivation layer prevents the stainless steel from corroding. Additionally, this metal sometimes has other elements, such as silicon, carbon, and manganese.

Moreover, stainless steel is a non-ferrous metal, so it is one of the metals that a metal detector cannot detect. The reason is that it has low electrical conductivity.

Additionally, stainless steel has a low magnetic permeability. Meaning it cannot produce enough signal for a metal detector to recognize. (source)

2. Titanium

Titanium is a useful, strong, corrosion-resistant, and lightweight alloy. People utilize it in many products like dental implants and jewelry.

Like stainless steel, an ordinary metal detector cannot locate titanium as it has low electrical conductivity. (source)

However, a particular type of metal detector can locate aluminum – the Very Low Frequency (VLF) metal detector. Such a device transmits single-frequency sine waves that are usually at high-pitched frequencies. This way, a VLF metal detector can locate low conductors. Still, you need to optimize the device to a particular setting to find titanium.

3. Ceramic Ferrite Magnets

Ordinary magnets contain either iron or iron combined with copper, cobalt, or neodymium. These metals are highly conductive, making it easy for metal detectors to locate them.

However, ceramic ferrite magnets are ceramic compounds mixed with iron oxide, strontium, nickel, and zinc.

There are only low amounts of the said metals found in ceramic ferrite magnets. For this reason, this type of magnet almost has no conductivity. As a result, metal detectors will not be able to detect it. (source)

How Metal Detectors Work

Metal detectors are high-end devices. They do not work on magnetism but rather by detecting electromagnetic fields. For this reason, the device can detect both ferrous and non-ferrous metals.

Ferrous metals consist of iron. Such a type of metal is corrosive and magnetic. They are known for their durability, hardness, and strength. Some examples of ferrous metals are alloy steel and cast iron, both detectable by a metal detector.

On the other hand, non-ferrous metals, such as copper and aluminum do not contain iron. For this reason, non-ferrous metals are non-magnetic. Some non-ferrous items are coins and jewelry, which a metal detector can also detect.

That said, metal detectors can locate almost all types of metals. The reason is that the device works by transferring an electromagnetic field from the search coil into the ground. However, it is essential to note that there are metals that a metal detector cannot detect.

Once the electromagnetic field hits a metal target, it will retransmit an electromagnetic field into the device’s receiver coil. Any metal target will send a signal regardless of whether it is ferrous or non-ferrous.

For this reason, there are only a few metals that a metal detector cannot detect. These metals have low electrical conductivity, making it impossible to create an electromagnetic field. (source)

Does a Metal Detector Detect All Metals?

Metal Detectors Missing Metals
Metal Detectors Missing Metals

A metal detector is a device that consists of a search coil and a receiver coil that transmits and receives electromagnetic fields, respectively. It also has a loudspeaker for alerting the operator in the presence of metals.

As mentioned, metal detectors locate metals underground using an electromagnetic field. This factor makes both ferrous and non-ferrous metals detectable. That said, these devices can detect all metals as long as they are electrically conductive.

In addition, a metal detector can find ferrous meals better due to their magnetic properties. On the other hand, non-ferrous metals are detectable due to their electrical conductivity. (source)

For instance, both general-purpose and high-end metal detectors can locate

  • iron
  • copper
  • aluminum
  • nickel
  • brass
  • lead
  • tin
  • gold
  • bronze
  • silver

A metal detector’s ability to detect all types of metal can be troublesome if you are looking only for a particular kind of metal. The reason is that there are a lot of metal pieces, such as aluminum foils, tin cans, iron nails, and screws, buried in the ground. These metals can interfere with what you are looking for, thus making the search more difficult.

Fortunately, metal detectors can ignore metals and focus only on the target you are seeking.

Metal Detector Discrimination

Inevitably, some metals are undetectable by a metal detector. On the contrary, you can also set a metal detector to detect only a particular type of metal. It is possible as most metal detectors have a discrimination feature.

Discrimination is the device’s ability to ignore certain metals buried underground. Instead, it will only alert the operator once it locates a target that it identifies based on ferrous properties and conductivity.

To simply put it, setting your metal detector discrimination is like telling your device to be quiet when it senses invaluable targets.

Moreover, the discrimination feature varies in metal detectors:

Variable Discrimination

A dial sets variable discrimination. This dial increases and decreases how much discrimination your metal detector is set to respond to.

In addition, variable discrimination is helpful if you are used to operating a metal detector. The reason is that such people already know how much or how little discrimination they need to apply when finding targets.

Metal Detecting Tip: Heck I could probably write a book on setting the discrimination on a Metal Detector. When you learn how to do it correctly treasure seems to jump out of the ground. Read – How to Set the Discrimination on a Metal Detector

Notched Discrimination

This type of discrimination prompts the metal detector to identify a notch or notches in the uninterrupted conductivity range. This way, the metals within the notched-out area will either be included or excluded in the target finds.

Additionally, metal detectors feature proprietary discrimination settings. This feature allows the devices to improve their notched discrimination setting further. You can run the metal detector to notch reject or notch accept targets.

Notch reject prompts the metal detector to ignore every metal within the notch range. On the other hand, the notch accept mode lets the device receive everything in the notched range.

Moreover, it is essential to note that not all metal detectors have discrimination settings.

Pulse Induction (PI) metal detectors use a different technology when locating targets. For this reason, they usually do not feature a discrimination mode. (source)

Do Diamonds Set Off a Metal Detector?

Metal detectors are good for finding silver, gold, and jewelry. So, the question of whether or not it can locate diamonds seems to make sense.

But as mentioned, metal detectors can only locate ferrous and non-ferrous metals. So, it will not detect diamonds as they do not have metallic properties. The same principle applies to gemstones and pearls.

However, you can detect a diamond embedded in a ring. This piece of jewelry usually consists of silver, gold, or other malleable metals that are electrically conductive.

Furthermore, your metal detector will not detect other items such as papers, bones, gemstones, stone figures, and pearls. (source)

Will Silver Set Off a Metal Detectors?

Can a Metal Detector Find Silver
Can a Metal Detector Find Silver

Silver is one of the most common metals used for making jewelry. For this reason, it is understandable if metal detector users are trying to target silver jewelry when they are metal detecting. But will this metal set off a metal detector?

There are nine major types of silver. To see if they will set off a metal detector, let us look at the composition of each of them.

Silver GradesComposition
Fine silver (.999 silver)Fine silver is the closest grade to the pure element silver. It is sometimes called .999 silver, which indicates that it is 99.9 percent pure. The remaining 0.1 percent consists of trace elements that are insignificant in quantity.
Sterling .925 SilverThis type of silver is the standard quality for jewelry in the United States and most global markets. It consists of 92.5 percent silver, while the remaining 7.5 percent is copper. Sometimes, sterling silver also comes as an alloy of silver and nickel to increase its hardness.
Argentium Silver and Non-Tarnish AlloysNon-tarnish alloys are relatively new to the market. Argentium is a brand of silver, but there are similar alloys available. The alloys are usually 92.5 percent silver, but some have higher silver content. The remaining metals consist of copper and the element germanium.
Coin SilverCoin silver was a standard alloy in the United States back then. However, it is relatively rare now, so finding it with a metal detector is like finding a great deal. This type of silver alloy is 90 percent silver and 10 percent copper. Moreover, many coin silver pieces are considered antiques.
Silver-FilledSilver-filled metals are not alloy. The reason is that their metal content varies throughout the material. Silver-filled has 5 or 10 percent sterling silver on the external layer. Manufacturers then use heat pressure to fuse the silver layer to a brass core.
Silver PlatedSilver-plated is a base metal type of silver. It has a very thin layer of silver on the surface, with alloy as a base metal. That said, this type of silver only has a tiny fraction of silver in it.
Nickel SilverUnlike the other types of silver, nickel silver does not actually have the element silver in it. Instead, the term “silver” only describes the color of the metal rather than its content. Nickel silver is a base metal alloy that consists primarily of copper combined with either nickel, zinc, or a combination of the two.
Tibetan or Tribal SilverJust like nickel silver, tribal silver is base metal alloys. They do not have any silver content but are silver in appearance, making them an inexpensive alternative to authentic silver jewelry. Moreover, the alloy content of Tibetan silver varies immensely. Some imports from exotic lands even have dangerous metals, such as lead.
Thai, Bali, or Mexican SilverThis type of silver has sterling silver and nickel as a filler metal. (source)

Silver jewelry all contain alloy metals. The most common metals added to them are copper and nickel. Moreover, these metals are good conductors of electricity. For this reason, silver is not one of the metals that a metal detector cannot detect.

In addition, silver is the best element to conduct electricity. So, if there is a silver piece of jewelry in the area where you are metal detecting, it will undoubtedly set off a metal detector. Even silver-plated metals can set off a metal detector. (source)

Will Graphite Set Off a Metal Detector? (Hot Rocks)

Graphite is a naturally occurring element that comes in crystalline carbon, which you will commonly find in igneous and metamorphic rock. That said, graphite is a form of the mineral.

Additionally, this mineral is exceptionally soft, making it split even at a little bit of pressure. Graphite also has a very low specific gravity.

That said, graphite is non-metal. But despite this factor, it can still conduct electricity. For this reason, you might think that a metal detector can detect it since the device utilizes an electromagnetic field to find metals. But on the contrary, you may think that it is not a metal, and a metal detector cannot detect only a few metals.

However, graphite belongs to what is called hot rocks. For this reason, it will set off metal detectors despite being a non-metal element.

Hot Rocks

According to Sherman Troy in his book How to Use a Metal Detector for Treasure Hunting, “hot rocks refer to stones that have absorbed significant amounts of minerals such as zinc and iron.” He added that hot rocks can “cause false positive signals.”

Metal Detecting Tip: Learning more about “rock rocks” can improve your treasure finding odds. Read more about what hot rocks are and setting up your machine in this article: What Are Hot Rocks Metal Detecting

Graphite is a form of hot rock. Hot rocks, such as pebbles and elements, contain low conductive minerals. These rocks can disrupt metal detector signals by sending alerts when valuable metals are buried in a specific area.

Moreover, there are two types of hot rocks – negative and positive.

Negative Hot Rocks

Negative hot rocks contain high Magnetite concentrations – an Iron Oxide that turns rock and sediments into black. The iron oxide molecule also has a high atomic weight, making rocks and sediment heavy.

Moreover, one of the most common types of negative hot rocks is black sand. It has a high amount of Magnetite, allowing it to set off a metal detector.

But while your metal detector can read this response, the sound the device will produce is less definite than the sound coming from real targets.

A delayed acquisition often accompanies the false-metallic audio response. There is also a nulling audio response when you move the search coil away from a negative hot rock.

Positive Hot Rocks

Positive hot rocks are good conductors of electricity. They contain high Maghemite concentrations – an iron oxide that causes rock and sediment to become red, reddish-orange, and even yellow.

In addition, positive hot rocks are good conductors of electricity. They consist of high concentrations of sulfide minerals, specifically Pyrrhotite and Bornite.

Moreover, graphite is a form of positive hot rock. So, if your metal detector is set to a low level of sensitivity, it will be able to detect signals from graphite. As a result, the graphite can interfere with your metal detector’s signal. (source)

What We Learned

There is no denying that metal detectors are highly technological devices. For this reason, it can detect almost every type of metal that is buried under the ground. If you are lucky enough, you may even find valuable metals, such as gold, silver, and jewelry.

However, it is essential to note that there are metals that a metal detector cannot detect. The reason is that these metals have low electrical conductivity, so they cannot create an electromagnetic field for metal detectors to read.

In addition, metal detectors are not meant for finding non-metal elements, such as gold, gems, and pearls. But if these elements are on metal jewelry like rings and necklaces, you may detect a valuable find in the area where you are metal detecting.

Learning How to Use Your Metal Detector Can Be Tough, But I’ve Got You Covered with These Articles

David Humphries, Writer and Creator of METAL DETECTING TIPS. After borrowing my son’s detector and finding $.25. I felt like a treasure hunter. FREE MONEY! I was seriously bitten by the metal detecting bug.


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