When I first began metal detecting, I scanned my in-law’s backyard in Northeastern Utah while visiting them. I had not had my detector long and had thus far only found old scraps of iron or steel in the mountains of Idaho. A couple of sweeps in and a target popped up.
I was very new at metal detecting and had a cheap detector, so I had a range of metals that could potentially be causing the signal in the ground with very little idea what I was looking at. Off I went to dig my first hole in Utah and collect something.
What I uncovered was something amazing: a gold lapel pin with what looked to be emerald gemstones all around it. It looked like it was from the 1930s or 1940s. I was in awe!
Finding jewelry with your metal detector is incredibly rewarding! When searching for jewelry, you want to use the “Dig it All” approach, meaning you dig every single target you come across.
Parks, beaches, and yards will all be full of signals and some metals, like gold, will ring out quite similarly to aluminum or steel. There are several tips and tricks you can use to ensure you find more jewelry while searching parks and beaches.
Mastering Parks: Your Jewelry Hunting Ground
Parks are a wonderful place to search with your metal detector. Parks are typically well populated during good weather months, and where there are people, there are lost items. Many city and county parks are built upon areas that have been used by humans for decades or centuries, which can significantly increase your chances of finding something.
While searching parks with your detector, check near walking paths, trees, fence lines, ball fields and volleyball areas, restroom facilities, and parking areas. Always check with your city or county to ensure you are following all laws pertaining to metal detection in your area. Some cities require permits to search in parks; others have restrictions on where within the park you can search.
Looking for some “How To” metal detecting articles? I’ve got you covered
- Metal Detecting Digging Tools – Tells you all about shovels, scoops and how to dig a plug.
- Where are the Best Places for a Beginner to Metal Detect? – Just like the title says, this article points the beginner to the highest probability places.
- Can You Metal Detect on BLM Land? – So many people have asked me about BLM detecting I had to write this article.
Tuning Your Detector: A Key to Successful Park Hunting
The importance of tuning your metal detector for your soil conditions cannot be understated. Where I live, we have extremely high soil mineralization. This means our metal detectors have a lot of interference that must be tuned out or we get a lot of false signals. Some areas even cause metal detectors to overload and shut down.
In parks, you want to ensure your sensitivity adjustments are in a good place. Adjusting sensitivity can decrease the depth of your search but can ultimately help your detector give more accurate signals. Lowering sensitivity and focusing more on the surface or lightly subsurface targets proves to be the best for finding newer jewelry. When someone drops an item, it typically stays in the grass or dirt right along the top.
If your detector is scanning too deeply within a park setting, you may pick up unwanted materials like underground pipes and power lines. Stick to lower sensitivity for parks.
Discrimination Adjustments: A Key to Hidden Treasures in Parks
Discrimination is the metal detector’s ability to identify targets buried underground based on their ferrous and conductive properties. With discrimination, you can eliminate certain metal types from detection. This is called Notch Discrimination, as different metal types are “notched out.”
One of the best ways to figure out discrimination on your metal detector is to test different metal types. You can either bury some in your yard as a control or simply set the detector on a flat surface and wave different metal types near the search coil.
When searching a park for jewelry, you want to notch out or discriminate iron and steel targets. Leave the detector searching for gold, silver, copper, and other precious and semi-precious metals. This will increase your chances of finding good targets and decrease the amount of time you spend digging junk (and let’s face it: parks are full of litter and junk).
Beach Detecting: A Different Beast
Metal detecting on beaches, whether it is saltwater or freshwater, brings a different type of challenge. Metal detecting in wet environments can be a challenge, especially if you have the wrong type of metal detector.
Not all metal detectors are waterproof, so care should always be taken near water. Most metal detectors have waterproof search coils, so you can still search near or in shallow water. Just ensure you do not let the control box get wet.
Saltwater is inherently conductive, so many metal detectors will struggle to give any kind of accurate reading in saltwater or wet, salty sand. In this instance, either a pulse induction metal detector, or one with a saltwater setting built in will be your best bet. Pulse induction detectors are immune to saltwater, so they give great readings in beach settings.
When searching beaches, remember that coins and jewelry tend to congregate in groups. If you find one, you will likely find another nearby or in the same hole!
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Tackling Saltwater Beaches: Managing Sensitivity and Ground Balance
Sensitivity and ground balancing are two extremely important settings for use in saltwater beach areas. Lowering your sensitivity will give less false readings, but the ground balancing is of utmost importance. You will want to use your ground balancing regularly to ensure you are getting the best possible readings.
Some metal detectors have what is called tracking ground balancing. This type of ground balancing allows the metal detector to continuously adjust the settings while you detect, with no need for you to do anything.
Automatic ground balancing allows the metal detector to select the best setting based on the conditions you are in currently. Last, we have manual ground balancing where you adjust the balance yourself. Automatic and tracking ground balancing are the most accurate and easiest to use.
Metal detecting on dry sand differs greatly from wet sand. Dry sand does not have the level of salt that wet sand does, so the detector will not have issues from the salt. Wet salty sand can give most metal detectors false readings and cause the machine to overload and shut down.
Minelab has an easy-to-read guide on the workings of a metal detector, including how ground balance works. Read more here: Minelab Metal Detecting Guide with Ground Balance
Working the Cut: The Key to Beach Detecting
Beach cuts are where the tides have essentially cut part of the beach away, forming a sand shelf. This area is great to search because the tide has carried away the top sand, and revealed lower sands where items will still be buried. This can be observed on all types of beaches. I have seen some large cut areas even at my local inland lake beaches.
When metal detecting the beach, you will want to search after a storm. This is one of the most fortuitous times to metal detect! The storm surges have caused the tides to pull sand away, revealing previously unseen sands underneath. Storms can also wash in items from the sea, placing them in the freshly moved beach sands.
The Sand Scoop Advantage
One of the best tools you can add to your metal detecting arsenal for beach detecting is a sand scoop. A sand scoop is essentially a ladle-like device you scoop sand into. There are multiple holes around the sides and bottom of the scoop, allowing sand to fall out and jewelry and other treasures to remain within the basket.
If you have ever tried to dig a hole in sand, you know how difficult it can be to keep the hole open. Sand tends to fall right back in from all sides. Using a sand scoop while detecting you can scoop large sections of sand and dump it in another area so you can search through it.
My favorite sand scoop is the CKG Sand Scoop with Long Handle. Long handled scoops mean less stooping over and are much easier on your back. This scoop is durable and has a collapsible handle for ease of travel. Learn more about this sand scoop with this shortcut link to Amazon 👉 CKG Sand Scoop for Metal Detecting
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Fully Submersible Metal Detectors: A Game Changer for Beach Detecting
One of the best inventions for metal detecting beaches is fully submersible metal detectors. These detectors can be fully immersed in water to certain depths. The depth rating on each machine differs, so you must ensure you do not take yours too deep. I currently use a Nokta Makro Simplex +, which is fully submersible up to 16 feet.
The Nokta PulseDive is designed for scuba diving and can be submerged up to 200 feet! This is a great option for shipwreck diving. Read more about underwater metal detecting in this article 👉 https://metaldetectingtips.com/underwater-metal-detecting/
One More Swing
Metal detecting for jewelry can be a hugely rewarding hobby. Parks are usually full of all sorts of dropped items from people recreating. Beaches are the same way. Always check parks and beaches after the busy season for the best chances of finding jewelry.
Be sure your metal detector has adjustable settings so you can find more treasure. Certain metal detectors work best in certain conditions. You can check out my guide to buying a metal detector here: https://metaldetectingtips.com/guide-to-buying-a-metal-detector/
What do You Need For Beach Metal Detecting?
I’m going to provide an ESSENTIAL beach gear list. Everyone wants to enjoy beach time and dragging a pile of gear to the beach sucks.
- A great multi-frequency metal detector. Different metals react to different frequencies. Having a machine that utilizes multiple frequencies at the same time will greatly improve finding gold and coins. The Best Value is the Nokta Makro Legend check prices and reviews on Amazon with this shortcut link -> Nokta Makro Legend
- A great pinpointer, I’m an absolute believer in wireless tech. For years I would get tangled in my headphone wires. GO WIRELESS the Nokta PulseDive links to the Legend’s wireless headphones. Since it’s built for diving, it’s Heavy Duty. Short cut link to Amazon – Nokta Makro PulseDive
- Get a heavy duty sand scoop, I’ve bought the cheap plastic and metal scoops – NOT GOOD. They usually break within a day. 2+ years later I’m still hammering on my CKG Metal Detecting Sand Scoop <- Link to Amazon
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.
- How Metal Detectors Work: https://www.minelab.com/usa/knowledge-base/getting-started/how-metal-detectors-work
- CKG Sand Scoop for Metal Detecting: https://amzn.to/43Q8xKf
- Underwater Metal Detecting: https://metaldetectingtips.com/underwater-metal-detecting/
- Buying a Metal Detector: https://metaldetectingtips.com/guide-to-buying-a-metal-detector/