AUBURN – As a real estate agent, Winslow Frank knows the importance of one element: location, location, location.
That’s certainly true when the Auburn man goes treasure hunting with his new metal detector. He hit the jackpot Thursday when he unearthed an antique 1.1-carat diamond ring buried 6 inches underground.
“I just stood there for a few minutes thinking, ‘This is really exciting, but with my luck, it can’t be a real diamond,'” Frank said.
He was wrong.
An Auburn jeweler appraised the European-style platinum ring with a diamond center at $4,000.
Frank had bought the detector in October but figured that he wouldn’t have much chance to use it before winter set in. But unseasonably mild weather has allowed him to take it out a dozen times.
“I was hoping to find something that, at least in my mind, paid me back for my metal detector,” he said.
His targets include sites of old carnivals and fairs, swimming holes, schoolyards, picnic grounds – anywhere people might gather and lose something.
Until Thursday, his biggest prize was a coin dating to the early 1800s.
Frank, an agent at Coldwell Banker Millett Realty, is keeping mum on where he found the ring, on the chance that other treasures may be buried there.
The ring was appraised at Republic Jewelry & Collectibles, where Frank had bought detecting supplies. Dan Cunliffe II said the ring dates to around 1920 to 1940.
“It has held up really well,” Cunliffe said. “You never hear of anybody finding something like this this late in the season.”
Frank said he plans to keep his new ring for a while, enjoy it, and perhaps sell it someday. His girlfriend has “certainly tried it on and admired it,” he said.
Frank plans to travel next month to California to visit his son and search for gold. He also intends to take the detector with him next year for parts of a planned hike along the Pacific Crest Trail, from Mexico to Canada.
“I’m looking forward to certainly the possibility of finding a gold coin. That would be the ultimate find,” he said.
Cunliffe pointed out that a customer two years ago, Harold Gary Sr. of East Poland, found 28 ounces of gold one hour into a treasure hunt in Arizona. Gary had owned his new metal detector for a month.